Family planning/child spacing: DevComs set to address barriers via Media

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By Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna

A groundbreaking initiative to bolster media advocacy for family planning/childbirth spacing in Nigeria is set to launch to address misinformation, cultural barriers, and lack of awareness hindering access to family planning services across eight States.

It’s a follow-up to initial training across 13 States in the country and the initiative being implemented by Development Communications (DevComs) Network is supported by The Challenge Initiative (TCI) Nigeria, managed by the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs (CCP).

According to DevComs Network’s release on Tuesday, through a comprehensive training program on media advocacy and community engagement, the initiative will equip journalists, reporters, and media professionals with the necessary knowledge and skills to effectively communicate about family planning and childbirth spacing.

Signed by DevComs Programme Director, Akin Jimoh, “TCI Nigeria recognizes the pivotal role of the media in shaping public opinion and fostering awareness of critical health issues.

Accordingly, the Initiative is to enhance Media institutional engagement and advocacy for family planning/childbirth spacing kicks off in 8 States, builds on earlier efforts in 13 States to equip journalists, foster media-institutional collaboration, and dispel myths surrounding family planning in Nigeria.

“The initiative, spanning Kwara, Osun, Akwa Ibom, Borno, Adamawa, Yobe, Sokoto and Jigawa states, seeks to achieved among other things, enhanced media’s understanding of family planning concepts and methods to facilitate sustainable communication efforts.

It also seek to build the capacity of journalists in media advocacy, strategic communication planning, and engaging with policymakers, train journalists on community engagement strategies to promote dialogue, dispel myths, and address cultural barriers.

Others are to foster collaboration between the media institutions and key stakeholders in the family planning sector, strengthen the media’s capacity to critically analyze medical/scientific research related to family planning and effectively communicate complex information.

The initiative will involve a series of activities including desk reviews, strategic engagements with government agencies, training sessions, field trips, media chats, and roundtable meetings with policymakers, it stated.

Commenting on the initiative, Dr. Taiwo Johnson, the Chief of Party of TCI Nigeria, stated: “We recognize the crucial role of the media in promoting family planning and reproductive health.

“Through this initiative, we aim to empower journalists with the tools and knowledge to advocate for positive change and foster informed public discourse on family planning.

DevComs Programme Director, Akin Jimoh, stated “This is a continuation of our efforts to address one of the major challenges of our time, regarding unbridled procreation. And we will do this in the context of available research and sound scientific, peer-reviewed literature for informed decision.

“The project will be closely monitored to track progress and effectiveness, ensuring sustainable impact beyond its duration. A clear sustainability plan, including the formation of media groups on Family Planning/childbirth spacing in each state, will be implemented to ensure the continuity of efforts.

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