CBID Project Build Capacity of Journalists in NWR on Disability Reporting
Over 30 Journalists in the Northwest Region have been challenged to mainstream disability in their reporting as part of their efforts in promoting inclusion in development initiatives. This was during a 2 day workshop organized by the Community Based Inclusive Development (CBID) Project of the CBC Health Services. The workshop which took place from March 30 – 31, 2023 at the Baptist Center Nkwen Bamenda. It had as objective to continuously empower and encourage the media to implement programs and initiatives that positively portray persons with disabilities, promote the respect of their rights and challenge duty bearers to mainstream disability in development opportunities.
At the opening of the workshop, the CBID Project Manager Jacques Chirac Awa disclosed that the World Report on Disability estimated in 2011 that about 15% of the world’s population live with some form of disability. He added that these people face barriers in different aspects of life be it physical, social, economic, or attitudinal that negatively affect their access to and participation in education, employment, health and social participation thus depriving their communities of their effective contribution to development efforts. Mr. Awa described journalists as those who form a key component in development efforts given that through their channels and medium of communication a lot of changes is taking place in the communities. According to the Project Manager, the media is best placed as the entry point to drive inclusion of persons with disabilities because of their proximity to community members through programs, news articles amongst others.
The CBID Project Coordinator Lohshie Eugene corroborated the Project Manager’s remark on the role of journalists by stating that the workshop was born from an assessment that the media is a strong arm in promoting development by bringing about paradigm shift on how community development actors factor development initiatives from an inclusive perspective. As one of the facilitators of the workshop, Lohshie Eugene drilled participants on the background of the CBID Project, the size of the disability problem, excising laws and international legal instruments on disability inclusion. He also stressed on social mobilization strategies which pointed out the role of the media in breaking barriers to disability inclusion.
The Communication Officer of the DIHA Project Tina Ashiyo in an interactive presentation schooled participants on nine key principles of disability inclusive journalism.
The workshop was characterized by work sessions during which participants developed a Standard Operating System on awareness raising on international days, medium of communication and strategies on engaging Decentralization Structures to implement Development initiatives for an inclusive society.
Amongst the participants that attended the workshop was Bakah Derrick promoter of Hilltop voices who described the workshop as a big opportunity for media men and women to acquire skills on disability reporting at a time when it is a topic underreported by the media. “We are committed to improve on content delivered on our website and social media platforms to make them inclusive as well so that everyone can have access to them”. Another participant Stephen Ojong a blogger noted that it was a learning opportunity for him. To him, it is time to continue ringing the bell so that development stakeholders do not leave persons with disabilities behind in their development initiative.
At the close of the workshop, the CBID Project Coordinator emphasized that the media is an important component in the Inclusion journey. He implored the participants to pick up emerging practices and set the pace for others to follow.
It is expected that participants of the workshop will use the knowledge acquired to design and run radio/TV programs, write articles that promote the respect of disability rights, encourage and challenge duty bearers to mainstream disability development initiatives.
The workshop was organized with funding from CBM.