The World Food Programme in conjunction with the Nepal Press Institute (NPI), held a two-day workshop in Nepalgunj to train local journalists on food security reporting in October 2010.
NEPALGUNJ - The World Food Programme, in conjunction with the Nepal Press Institute (NPI), held a two-day workshop in Nepalgunj in the Mid-western region to train local journalists on food security reporting in October 2010. When the NPI facilitator opened the training by asking the question “what is food security?” and drew nothing but blank stares, it demonstrated both the importance of educating the media on the purpose and work of the UN as well as the challenge ahead for the two-day training.
“The problem of hunger in Nepal is extremely complex with many intertwining factors. In recent years WFP has worked to increase public discussion of the issue and this journalist training is another important step in that process,” said Christina Hobbs the head of Communications at WFP Nepal. “The challenge is always to increase the sophistication of the public debate - to go beyond a mere discussion of food deficits and surpluses, to look at the broader nature of the problem and to discuss solutions."
The workshop brought together 36 local journalists working in radio, print and television media from seven districts of the mid and far western regions of the country. The participants were chosen to ensure a diverse group in terms of age, experience, gender and ethnicity. Attendees ranged from senior editors to relatively new journalists.
The training focused primarily on (i) understanding the issue of food insecurity, (ii) understanding the purpose and activities of major development players and government in achieving food security, (iii) understanding how food insecurity manifests itself from an individual level to a global perspective, (iv) discussion of story ideas and case studies provided by WFP and (v) relevant reporting techniques and standards.
The workshop was particularly well attended and benefited from collaboration with the NPI. The NPI media educators Kundan Aryal and Chiranjibi Khanal highlighted the critical role of media in covering food security issues in Nepal, the importance of adhering to journalism standards and provided tips to improve journalistic skills in covering food security stories.
“Nepal has smart, dedicated journalists passionate about a variety of causes. However, technical skills often need to be improved. Adequately researching stories, fact checking, and having reliable sources of information are standards that are not always followed. This is particularly important when reporting on the sensitive issue of hunger and poverty,” said Mr Aryal.
"I have taken this training as an opportunity to learn about the concept of food security. WFP and NPI have done a great job by conducting media training for journalists at a regional level,” said Iradha Jhankri Magar, a journalist from Rolpa district. “I am sure it will enhance my reporting skills and I now know to be more careful about writing stories on food related issues. It has reminded us to check facts, have good sources and to seek clarification and quotes when we write articles."
Many participants also said that the training provided them with a better understanding about WFP and other UN agencies. "I was not aware of the huge operations of WFP and other UN agencies to address the food crisis in vulnerable communities of mid- and far-western region, ” said Purnalal Chuke, editor of a weekly magazine.
“It is good to know that WFP is also working on improving longer term food security and nutrition and not just delivering rice. The training has also widened my knowledge on food security and has given us different angles to think about when we write stories – from nutrition, to climate change and to regional trade issues also,” Chuke said.
Similar journalist training activities are being planned for journalists in 2011. In addition, WFP runs regular media briefings on food security, interested journalists should express their interest to Deepesh.Shrestha@WFP.org