The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) has trained 30 of Nigeria’s journalists (19 male, 11 female) in a policy communications masterclass in Abuja. The training workshop was organized on 11-12 June 2018 and included participants from Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory, and the states of Cross River, Ebonyi, Kaduna, Kebbi and Niger.
The masterclass was led by Mr. Drew Sample, IFPRI’s Media Engagement Manager who is based at the IFPRI Headquarters in Washington DC, alongside Elisabeth Douglas and Bisola Oyediran, who work in IFPRI’s Abuja Office.
The masterclass was opened by Dr. George Mavrotas, Head of IFPRI’s Nigeria Strategy Support Program (IFPRI-NSSP), who stated that it is impossible to have a healthy, thriving environment for sound policy making in general, and in particular for the agricultural sector in Nigeria, without mobilizing the journalists in the country.
The training covered a wide range of topics, looking at the role the press plays in sound policymaking for the agricultural sector, how to prepare policy notes, the use of online platforms for disseminating policy relevant information and how to use research in their reporting on agricultural issues.
Drew Sample informed the group that IFPRI was currently developing a network for Agric journalists across the African region. Among other things, this network would allow for journalists across the continent to connect and exchange information. The network may also provide additional opportunities for journalists to access funding to support their work in reporting on agriculture. The network is expected to be created in 2019.
The policy communications masterclass was well-received, with John Oba, President of the Agriculture Correspondents Association of Nigeria declaring, “This is a privilege. We appreciate this, but like Oliver Twist, we will still ask for more.”
He supported the idea of a network for Agric journalists, stating that “A network of journalists is a good idea. It will improve specialization.”
This activity was funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID/ Nigeria) within the framework of the Feed the Future Nigeria Agricultural Policy Project. The masterclass was part of activities geared towards promoting and fostering informed policy dialogue among all stakeholders in the agricultural sector through an inclusive, transparent, and sustainable process at the country level, building blocks for a well-integrated and developed national policy system. The Feed the Future Nigeria Agricultural Policy Project is jointly implemented by IFPRI-NSSP and Michigan State University.