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Somali journalists attend UNICEF-supported workshop to focus on humanitarian reporting

By Eva Gilliam

HARGEISA, Somalia, 20 October 2011 – Correct information is essential to accurate reporting, Ahmed Ali Mohamed, a trainer for Radio Ergo, recently told a gathering of 27 Somali journalists at a five-day multimedia workshop on humanitarian reporting held in Hargeisa.

VIDEO: UNICEF correspondent Eva Gilliam reports on a multimedia workshop aimed at training Somali journalists in humanitarian reporting.  Watch in RealPlayer


“Somali Journalists have a lot of missing knowledge,” said Mr. Mohamed. “For example, they report on food distribution and press conferences but often don’t go to the field and assess first-hand what the population is experiencing or needs.”

Focus on children

A collaboration between the humanitarian radio service, Radio Ergo, and UNICEF Somalia, the workshop endeavoured to equip journalists with the essential skills needed to better report on crisis situations. 

Through its daily one-hour programmes, Radio Ergo broadcasts vital information to Somali listeners within the country and in bordering refugee camps. A recent Radio Ergo survey said the service is listened to by 70 per cent of Somalis.

While Radio Ergo provided workshop attendees with their journalistic expertise, UNICEF highlighted the dire impact the Horn of Africa crisis is having on children, specifically, in the areas of nutrition, water and sanitation, education and child protection.

“There is no doubt that children are the hardest hit by the drought and famine in Somalia,” explained UNICEF Somalia Communication Officer Iman Morooka. “So our aim is to help journalists to understand the consequences of this crisis on children, and help them cover issues children are facing on the ground in an ethical and humanitarian way.”

© UNICEF Somalia/2011/Mursal
Journalists are made to conduct a practical excercise on a field trip to Las Geel caves outside of Hargeisa as part of the training.

A renewed dedication

Children’s rights and ethical reporting on children were also debated at length during the workshop, with a focus on protecting children from abuse in the media.

Each journalist also received a digital camera and theoretical and practical training in basic photography.

“We learned how to take photos,” said Abdi-Jamaal M. Ahmed, a journalist with Radio Ergo. ”There were different trainings that really expanded our understanding.”

In the end, the workshop provided its participants with an opportunity to learn, share and have fun. Coming from as far as Madera in Northern Kenya, Bossaso in Puntland, and Somalia and Mogadishu in the Benadir region, the Somali journalists left the training with a stronger network of professional peers, a better understanding of children’s issues and a renewed dedication to excellence in their reporting.

“Really, I am very, very happy to have participated in this workshop. Implementing together, Ergo Radio and UNICEF and I wish you all the best,” said Mursal Abdikhadir, Radio Ergo producer and trainer. “You have learned and really taken advantage of this workshop. Let’s not let it stop here.”



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