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ECOWAS Commission and Partners Train Journalists on Disaster Risk Reduction Best Practices
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Accra, 22nd November 2019. No fewer than 30 journalists have undergone training on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) best practices in a 2-Day programme organised by the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in conjunction with the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR).

The training Workshop which began in Accra, Ghana on the 19th of November, 2019, brought together, Media professionals and managers from the Anglo-phone zone of West Africa who were exposed to desirable journalistic behaviour regarding the reportage of DRR issues before, during and at post-disaster periods.

In the ever dynamic disaster landscape, the media professionals were also put through modules, response skills and techniques primed to bring benefits to the citizens of West Africa in the prevention and mitigation of disasters, including the identification of appropriate lessons that should be stored in institutional data bases, going forward.

Exhorting Media professionals to be up to speed with the dynamics of the times, the ECOWAS Commission’s Commissioner for Social Affairs and Gender Dr. Siga Fatima Jagne stressed the overriding importance of the Media’s role in disaster risk reduction and management.

Represented by the Principal Programme Officer Mr. Mohammed Ibrahim, she noted that the recently ratified plan of action (2015-2030) was a demonstration of the readiness of the ECOWAS Commission to give needed impetus to the global, continental, regional and national efforts to respond more robustly to the growing risks of disasters.

According to the Commissioner, public awareness and public education for disaster risk reduction can empower normal people everywhere to participate in reducing future suffering.

“Journalists must ensure that the information provided alerts the affected public, helps communities prepare for a disaster and focuses on how and where to seek help in the event of a disaster” She added.

Commissioner Jagne restated the high commitment of the commission to DRR issues and the implementation of activities to build the capacity of Member States through its collaboration with partners, in accordance with the Sendai Framework for DRR, the African Union’s Regional Program for DRR as well as the ECOWAS DRR Policy.

The UNDRR External Relations Chief Adair Ackley as well as the Director, Climate Change Adaptation and DRR of the National Disaster Management Organisation of Ghana (NADMO) Mrs. Charlotte Norman stressed among others, the importance of behavioural change and better life-saving attitudes by the disseminators of DRR information and the community at large.

The Workshop featured presentations, simulation exercises, scenario building and lessons learnt as espoused by facilitators that included the President of the Disaster Risk Reduction Network for African Journalists (DIRAJ) Edward Wanyonyi Walekhewa, the organisation’s scribe David Owino, the Coordinator of the African Network for Disaster Risk Reduction and Development Olusoji Adeniyi as well as the senior Communications officer of the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations’ regional office Madam Daisy Diamante Leoncio.

DRR Experts have variously maintained that the extent of vulnerability, risk exposure and losses from disasters are expected to continue to increase over the next decades in West Africa while floods and drought have remained the most prevalent.

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