30 Journalists’ Skills Sharpen

MONROVIA-The United Nations Communications Group in Liberia in collaboration with the Female Journalists Association of Liberia (FEJAL) had trained over 30 media practitioners on promoting gender equality for sustainable development.

Held at a local hotel in Monrovia, the workshop was intended to increase the knowledge of media practitioners in Liberia on issues of gender equality, sustainable development and climate change and provide a forum for the exchange of ideas on how the media can promote gender equality for a sustainable tomorrow.

The event was held in line with the global theme for this year’s International Women’s Day “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow” and the national theme, “Breaking barriers, set the stage for gender equality.”

The UN recognizes the pivotal role of the media in shaping people’s opinions, perceptions and in helping people construct their identities, social norms and values in relation to gender, that’s according to Milena Harizanova, Acting Deputy Representative for UNICEF.

Speaking on behalf of the UN Communications Group and the United Nations in Liberia, Madam Harizanova says they have realized that the media are an important stakeholder in promoting gender equality and that the gathering is to set the stage for gender equality and break all barriers that hinder promotion and achievement of gender equality in Liberia.

Gender equality is Goal 5 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations in 2015 as part of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. While gender equality is captured as a stand-alone goal, it cuts across all the sustainable development goals and can accelerate the achievement of the goals.

Williematta Saydee-Tarr is the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MGCSP). She expressed gratitude to UN Women, UN communications group and FEJAL for organizing the media workshop.

Tarr also applauded the role of journalists in promoting gender equality saying “Without you, the voice of victims of sexual and gender-based violence, for example will not be heard across the country and to that I say thank you.”

Minister Saydee-Tarr also highlighted that most of the time, people report that cases of rape are increasing, but in actual fact, the cases are not increasing instead there are more people actually reporting.

“There is heightened awareness because you are doing a lot of work and people are coming out to report,” she said.

Journalists’ knowledge on promoting gender equality in Liberia was enhanced by various presentations delivered by UN staff and other stakeholders: Mr. Rarmon Garway, UN Women Program Manager for Women Economic Empowerment and Jangai Lisa Gbemie, IOM Program Support Staff and Gender Focal Person delivered presentations on promoting gender equality for sustainable development, while Michael Vawah, WFP Resilience and capacity strengthening focal point made a presentation on climate change in the context of Liberia, and its impact on women and girls.  Mrs. Siatta Scott Johnson, President of the Female Journalists Association, Alexander Cole, National Civil Society Council Communication Officer and Gloriah Ganyani, UN Women Communications Specialist delivered presentations on the role of the media in promoting gender equality in Liberia.

Ms. Ghoma Karloweah, UN Women Liberia Acting Head of Programs facilitated the official session of the program and highlighted that she was impressed that the number of women in the media is increasing compared to previous years when the field was mainly, male-dominated.

The journalists who attended the meeting committed to increasing coverage on women’s issues. They however highlighted that many women were not very comfortable working with the media and recommended that the government, UN and development partners should support them and hold capacity-building sessions on gender-sensitive reporting.

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