ActionAid Tanzania (AATZ) brought together editors and journalists from all major media houses in the country, for a two-day training on African Governance Architecture(AGA) in Dar es Salaam, last month.<?xml:namespace prefix = o />
The training, which involved journalists from Dsm, Pemba and Unguja, is among activities under the PAN-AFRICAN Project entitled, ‘Mobilizing Civil Society Support for Implementation of the African Governance Architecture’ (AGA) which is funded by the European Commission.
The training was aimed at creating an in-depth understanding of AGA/African Charter on Democracy and Elections Governance(ACDEG) among senior journalists and fostering functional links between them and key actors in promoting the project.
In his opening speech, the AATZ Country Director, Mr Yaekob Metena, informed participants about the project objectives as well as insisting on the crucial role of the media in the success of the project.
The training was moderated by external facilitators: Moses Kulaba who has wide experience on (AGA) and general issues of governance and democracy in Tanzania and Valerie Msoka, a veteran journalist and a media professional.
The sessions were participatory with both the facilitators engaging participants and getting their contributions on the subject matter, including everyday exercises of analyzing newspapers and deducing whether their headline stories were of governance, or not. And, participants had the opportunity to explain their views and observations. This was a way of getting them to start understanding governance.
The sessions also focused on exposing participants to the understanding of African Union (AU) organs and protocols, AGA structure, standards and clusters, benchmark of AGA implementation in Tanzania, promoting AU institutions and work in Tanzania and Media coverage to improve public information on AU and AGA.
All sessions drew lively discussions from participants who committed to start including the AU in their news diaries. This was because through the trainings, they have realized that there are a lot of issues they could write about AGA.
The facilitators went further and reminded journalists that they had an obligation to the people as watchdogs, gate keepers and agenda setters hence the need to be creative in their pursuit of stories and to look at social issues and injustices rather than following what the ‘big names’ were saying or doing.
The journalists acknowledged that the training had come at the right time, “What I learnt here has really opened me up on the African Union and how our country has principles to uphold in relation to being part of that body. It has been a great learning curve; I just have to find ways to take back what I have learnt to my audiences,” Said Ali Masoud Kombo from Pemba.
As a way forward, the journalists agreed to form a network known as Tanzania Journalists Governance Network (TJGN) which will facilitate Networking and Exchanging information on Governance, Democracy, Elections, Peace and Human Rights.
To increase awareness, participants also advised the same training to be conducted to community radios and other junior journalists as they have greater reach of the general public in rural areas.
EC PAN- African is a multi-country project and Tanzania is implementing it together with Ghana, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. It is a three-year project covering the period from 2017 - 2019. The project has series of activities designed to be implemented at national and local level. At local level, it is being implementation in Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar (Unguja & Pemba).