Olga Ninon, WFP Nutrition Expert, during the training session with the journalists. Copyright: WFP/Luca Genovese.
WFP organised a training session on food security and nutrition for 25 local journalists. Along with two sessions with WFP specialists, the journalists were lead to visit the nutrition activities in a health center supported by WFP.
OUAGADOUGOU - Timely and accurate information can help to save lives. With this slogan in mind, WFP Burkina Faso organised a training course on food security and nutrition for over 20 local journalists at the end of September. The training was a full immersion in the concepts, interventions and challenges currently facing food security and nutrition in Burkina Faso and West Africa.
"Working as a journalist is fascinating because I often have to tackle topics, which were previously unfamiliar to me,” said Arnaud Ouedraogo, one of the journalists who participated in the training.
“It is necessary to have a good grasp on what I’m writing about in order to make it understandable to my readers. A lack of clarity or precision can create dangerous misunderstandings, especially when I’m writing about complex and sensitive issues,” he explained.
Another participant, Abra Drah, from Impact TV network, also noted how useful the training was. “This training conducted by WFP experts has allowed us to have a clearer vision of the big challenges related to food security and malnutrition,” he said.
During the training, WFP staff Stephane Degueurce, Food Security expert, and Olga Ninon, Nutrition expert, gave presentations on food security, linking them to WFP’s activities in Burkina.
The journalists also learned about the criteria for identifying and selecting beneficiaries as well as the nutrition products distributed to children and pregnant and nursing women.
To complement the in-class training, the journalists were taken to the village of Arbolé, about 70 km from Ouagadougou, to learn firsthand about WFP activities at health centres: advising and training women on nutrition issues, identifying malnourished children under 5 and pregnant and nursing women, as well as distributing SuperCereal and SuperCereal+ to the beneficiaries.
This training was part of a broader project, which aims to encourage the creation of an independent network of journalists in Burkina Faso who specialize in nutrition and food security issues.
When well-structured and dynamic, such a network could be central to strengthening public awareness around nutrition and food security.
As one participant put it: “After this experience with WFP, I am even more motivated to write articles on nutrition. There is a void and, as a consequence, a strong need to communicate on the subject”.