Nigeria Toolkit: Advocacy
What is it?
Media performs a strategic role in information dissemination in any given society. It determines what gets across to the public and, therefore, regulates what issues should be regarded as important or otherwise in the society. The media also has great potential in promoting good sexual and reproductive health outcomes. It is the most influential and cost-effective communication channel for successfully reaching the vast public with information on government obligations and plans. In addition, the media can influence policymakers on issues related to maternal and child health, reproductive health and family planning, among others.
Why is it important?
- Strengthens journalists’ ability to disseminate accurate information on the benefits of family planning, which can help counter myths and misconceptions within the community
- Builds awareness of family planning issues within the context of the nation and community, helping to create public dialogue around family planning issues
- Educates the general public about family planning, which can inspire them to hold their leaders accountable for the promises and commitments they make
What are the steps for implementing this approach?
Step 1: Identify Critical Media Persons/Groups & Begin Engagement
The Network of Reproductive Health Journalists of Nigeria (NRHJN), a key advocacy stakeholder comprised of journalists, was identified as a local media outfit whose capacity could be strengthened to sustain media-based advocacy.
TCI conducted an orientation with NRHJN, introducing them to TCI by inviting them to its annual work planning meeting, providing a demonstration of TCI University to them and facilitating a knowledge exchange and sharing meeting with DevCom who leads FP Media Advocacy efforts for NURHI. By the end of the orientation, NRHJN members had a better understanding of their role in initiating and sustaining state and national level FP Media Advocacy particularly in TCI-supported states. As a result of the orientation, some members of the network volunteered to run live programs on media stations to amplify family planning interventions, while others volunteered to air documentary spots developed by
Step 2: Train Media Persons/Group & Develop a Database of Trained Journalists
Using DevComs and NURHI training materials, TCI conducted a 2-day orientation meeting media journalists on family planning and its links to health and development. During this training, NRHJN is oriented on not only reporting but also the basics of family planning and its importance to building healthy families, communities and societies. In addition, NRHJN was encouraged to interview family planning clients, health care providers and others working in family planning. These beneficiaries of family planning and frontline health workers provide a “human face” to family planning issues that are often presented in the form of data, tables and charts. In addition, they were encouraged to cover key national and international days, such as World Population Day, Safe Motherhood Week, World Breastfeeding Day and World AIDS Day. These trained journalists then become a part of a database for which the State and ACG can draw upon to cover their family planning activities. Encourage media representatives to also engage and become a part of the ACG so that s/he is intimately aware of FP priorities and activities in the State.
Facilitate step-down trainings and other activities to ensure adequate media coverage of family planning. For example, support NRHJN to conduct 3-day training of social media bloggers and journalists on FP messaging in the context of FP, reporting and writing compelling FP stories in TCI-supported states.
In addition, a Knowledge, Attitude and Perception study is being planned in conjunction with NRHJN as part of the preliminary studies for the media-based advocacy engagement. TCI’s collaboration with NRHJN presents an invaluable opportunity for nationwide scale up of more discussions on family planning.
Step 3: Monitor Media Coverage
A tool is currently under development for monitoring media coverage. Once it is finalized, then it will be uploaded here.
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Media is the most cost-effective AND influential communication channel to reach a wide audience with information on government obligations.CorrectIncorrect
Media advocacy serves to:CorrectIncorrect
In addition to the influence of media, a benefit of using media advocacy is the creation of a database of journalists available for future family planning coverage.CorrectIncorrect
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