It is difficult to refute the importance of the role that journalists play in setting the agenda and shaping national discussions on issues. As gatekeepers of information, they are vital stakeholders in ensuring an environment where policy decisions are sound and evidence-based.
In recognition of this fact, two Communications Experts from the Nigeria Strategy Support Program of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI-NSSP) trained 23 journalists on the basics of Policy Communications on 31 October – 1 November 2018 in Birnin-Kebbi, Kebbi State capital.
The journalists (13 males, 10 females) who represented various news media outfits, were introduced to the concepts of Policy Communications, publicly available and accessible sources of information related to agricultural policy related to Nigeria as well as the role of social media in public discussions on agricultural policy.
According to Abdullahi Yalmo, a Reporter with KBTV, the Kebbi state-owned television station, “I learnt a lot. Right from the concepts of policy, to social media, especially the use of hashtags. This training has shown me that I have a long way to go… I need to go to the grassroots, talk to the rural farmers and make sure their issues, their stories really come to the fore.”
The training was carried out within the framework of the Feed the Future Nigeria Agricultural Policy Project. The Project is jointly implemented by Michigan State University and IFPRI-NSSP, with funding from the United State Agency for International Development (USAID/Nigeria).