TCI Media Training Prompts Reporter in Nasarawa, Nigeria, to Raise Family Planning Awareness
Contributor: Deborah Samaila
Mr. Kalu Idika is a principal reporter with Precious FM in Nasarawa state, one of the major networks of the Federal Radio Nigeria Corporation (FRCN). Kalu has worked with FRCN for the past 15 years, with most of his time spent with Precious FM. Due to his interest in covering health news, he has benefitted from a number of capacity building programs related to reporting on health issues. Despite these trainings, his reporting on health issues, particularly family planning, remained rather limited. He explained:
Prior to now, my reportage was limited in scope. I was not really able to take time to visualize story angles from different perspective related to FP issues, so I was narrow-minded regarding FP reporting.”
In November 2020, he participated in a TCI-supported media advocacy training that proved to be a turning point for his reporting on family planning. The training exposed him to diverse FP issues. A field trip to nearby health facilities, which was part of the training, afforded him the opportunity to see things firsthand and interact with service providers and clients. The icing on the cake for him was the exploration of different family planning story ideas on the last day of the training. This exercise provided Kalu and other participants with a pool of potential leads they could develop into full stories. He shared:
Due to the approach of TCI, we were able to explore so many story angles, story ideas around FP issues. These provided opportunities for us to have so many options to investigate.”
After the training, Kalu wrote commentaries and human-interest stories related to family planning. His stories received attention and wide coverage. One of his stories focused on the availability and accessibility of family planning services in Doma and Nasarawa Eggon local government areas. After it was featured on the FRCN National Network News, he received a letter of commendation from the Zonal Director of FRCN for bringing an issue like family planning to light because it impacts everyone’s lives.
He shared what this experience has meant to him personally:
For the past 15 years that I have been working with FRCN, I have never received such commendation. So, it is very significant to me that I am being honored for the first-time ever courtesy of my unusual reportage of FP.”
He believes the commendation will also spur other journalists to focus on covering family planning. This heightened public awareness could collectively galvanize Nasarawa’s state government to better fund family planning activities and address the community’s need for family planning.
Listen to Kalu’s family planning story that earned him a letter of commendation: