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The General Assembly of members of the West Africa WASH Journalists Network (WASH-JN) was held in Monrovia, Liberia, from 13- 17 February 2012. Held for the second time, the General Assembly brought together journalists representatives from: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, , Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.
Since its inauguration in 2010, the WASH Journalists Network, supported by WSSCC and WaterAid in West Africa, has gone from strength to strength. “There is marked progress and the network has come a long way, from when it first started”, stated Tatiana Fedotova, WSSCC Communications Officer. “There is an increasing recognition from the sector that such an entity does add value and in 2012the regional network will continue to support the work of national networks in responding to some of their technical and financial needs, while looking to establish more partnerships with WASH and Panafrican organizations ”, she added.
13 out of 14 member countries attended the General Assembly to take stock of progress made in 2011. This also involved looking forward to plan the collective work of the national media networks across West Africa for the coming year in order to produce compelling, good quality stories on water supply, sanitation and hygiene, with a focus on giving voice to poor and marginalized people to tell their story, facilitate action and demand change.
A day was also spent visiting and reporting from West Point and Clara Town - two of the poorest communities in the Liberian capital. These townships, each with a population of some 50,000 people, are severely deprived of access to water supply and sanitation services. Inhabitants continue to suffer from diarrhoeal disease and cholera, while paying high fees to use old and unsanitary public toilets or hanging latrines directly on the river.
To read stories posted by journalists during and after the week visit the blog of the WASH-JN at www.wash-jn.net.
To watch videos from WASH-JN member journalists speaking about their perspective on the communities visited in Monrovia and the role of journalists visit http://www.wsscc.org/node/4336
To see photos of the journalists working in Monrovia visit www.wsscc.org/resources/resource-photo/journalists-west-africa-wash-journalists-network-working-liberia