West Africa Journalist Network finds common ground on flooding issues

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Water-borne disease and disruption of child education due to flooded homes are issues all too familiar to the journalists from West Africa and beyond who gathered in Senegal this week. Reporting on a community-led response in this slum area on 9 April brought to light common experience of the challenges, solutions and obstacles to highlighting complex water hygiene and sanitation issues in print and on-air.

WSSCC and WaterAid support the West Africa Regional WASH Journalists Network to improve reporting on WASH in Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinnée Bissau, Guinnée Conakry, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo. The network’s third annual general meeting was held in Dakar, 8 to 10 April 2013.

Francophones and Anglophones, print and broadcast journalists, in traditional African attire, business suits or WASH sector t-shirts exchanged ideas on how to report on water and sanitation issues, especially for the poor and marginalized. As well as strengthening regional coordination on the use of national networks of local media houses, the meeting also focused on governance of the network.

As the West Africa Regional WASH Journalist Network grows from a fledgling group to an established advocacy body, members aim to attract more financing partners and more media networks to improve the profile of WASH across the region and beyond.

The meeting closed on 10 April with the election of a new Coordinating Committee led by Alain Tossounon of Benin.