By Sule Sani-Jalingo
With support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Effective Water Sanitation and Hygiene Services (E-WASH) Program, the Taraba State Urban WASH Media Network has restated commitment to increase opportunities and minimize barriers in reforming the urban WASH sector in the state.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Chairman of the Network, Alhaji Sadiq Adamu after its second quarterly roundtable held on Monday, at Shield Hotel in Jalingo.
The meeting was organised by E-WASH and TAWASCO for both local, National and International media Organisations operating in the state.
The quarterly WASH Media Network roundtable meeting was designed to help achieve active participation of media organizations and persons, in dissemination of messages and outcomes for urban WASH reform.
Also, identifying opportunities and barriers for engagement with key stakeholder, including private media organizations, ensuring better understanding of the E-WASH Program by media organizations and persons.
The meeting was equally aimed at generating ideas for improved service reportage of urban WASH issues and build trust of citizens on urban WASH service delivery in Taraba State, with a view to analyzing issues raised on the urban WASH media docial media platforms and other engagements, as well as how-to better address and report WASH challenges in the state, among others.
Adamu further explained that, USAID E-WASH program targets the urban areas in Taraba State, where residents have over the years relied upon individual sources of unsafe water supply and have developed unsanitary behaviors such as, open defecation and patronage of illegal wastewater dumpsites.
He noted that the urgent need for media and social marketing, geared toward generating support for change within the utility and promoting hygiene & sanitation practices cannot be overemphasized.
According to the chairman of the media network, “as partners, the USAID E-WASH program gives careful consideration of the views of the media, expectations and concerns through support for both traditional and new media platforms as well as feedback from the audiences of such as, the traditional institution, women organizations, Civil Society Organizations, student bodies, to ensure that the media carry them along” .
Meanwhile, in order to engage the citizens and stakeholders in the business of portable water supply and sanitation, the Taraba State Urban WASH Media Network agrees on the following resolutions as contained in a Communique issued after the one-day roundtable meeting:
That the media should push for the enforcement of the reviewed water policy and amendment of existing laws to support the activities of the State Water Board.
That the media should enlighten the public and policy makers on the need to remove bottlenecks to improve efficient service delivery in the urban WASH sector.
That there was need for constant media parley (through workshops/meetings/conferences) with TAWASCO to build trust.
The review meeting commended journalists in the state for their objective reportage of WASH activities in the state, and called on them to do more for the success of WASH activities in the state.
That TAWASCO should grant media practitioners access to facilities/information at their disposal upon request and that media practitioners should understand prevailing socio-cultural practices (e.g in maintaining Gender balance), among others.