The media stands as a bridge between policy makers and the general public ad such, it must endeavour to educate policy makers on the realities on ground as it affects empowering the girl child.
Coordinator of the Africa Media Development Foundation (AMDF), Mrs. Sekyen Dadik expressed this while presenting a paper titled: ‘Media involvement (New and Traditional) in Accountability and promoting Girl-Child Education and Empowerment’ at a three-day capacity building workshop on the Collective Action for Adolescent Girls Initiative (CAAGI) and Voice to the People (V2P) projects in Kaduna State.
“Sensitize and enlighten our community on the benefits of educating and empowering the girl child.
“Partner with organizations and CSOs advancing the cause of the girl child. Ensure accountability by following up on government pronouncements, tracking budget allocation and implementation,” she said.
She emphasized that increased report on benefits of girl child education can correct stereotypes and misconceptions on educating the girl child influence behavioral change as well as influence legislation.
According to her, perspectives that the media can consider when doing reports are through the use of human angle stories, policy implementation, service delivery, data presentation (Facts and figures) and correcting misconceptions/norms/ignorance.
She said that the presentation was aimed examining role of the media in promoting girl child education and empowerment and awaken consciousness in journalists to the need to add value to the girl child cause, while noting that the role of the media in development cannot be overemphasized; as the media is that organ of the society that has a stake in every narrative in the society.
“Before now, the media was limited to television, radio, newspaper and other traditional forms of disseminating information but with the revolution in the technological world, the scope of media has broadened to accommodate the internet space.
This has given rise to the traditional or old media and the New or Digital Media thereby expanding the influence of the media in any discourse.
Hence, we cannot encourage girl child education and empowerment without examining the involvement of the media in achieving this cause,” she stressed.
On why the media, she said that participation of the media is key in promoting girl child education and empowerment because the media sets the agenda for public discourse are agents of development and social change in any community
act as the eyes, ears and voices of the public and exposing abuses of power and human rights
“Complements government’s effort by engaging in reports and programmes that will lead to positive behavioral change among the people. Hence it can be used to change people’s attitude concerning girl-child education.”
The AMDF coordinator further said that data shows that over 5.5 million girls are out-of-school. (UNESCO, 2014) while nearly two-thirds of women in the North West and North East regions have no education, compared to less than 15% in the South- South. (NPC, 2009).
“Broad factors responsible for this are: Religious and cultural beliefs, economic factors, sexual violence and abuse,” she added, while pointing out that benefits of girl child education can be felt in human rights, economic, social/psychological and health.
Mrs. Dadik frowned at the current trend in the media whereby little attention is given to issues of the girl child in the media, where emphasis is on the girl child as a ‘victim’.
The workshop was organised by Christian Aid (CAID) in collaboration with Development Communications Network (DEVCOMS) and attracted media practitioners, civil society organisations and community leaders.