Thursday, April 10, 2014

100 Citizen Journalists Mobilized for Community Health in the Niger Delta

 Knight International Journalism Fellows Babatunde Akpeji and Cece Fadope with Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima, aka "Orikinla Osinachi", Publisher/Editor of Nigerians Report Online, Nollywood Mirror, Nollywood Digital and other publications in print and electronic media.

Over 100 citizen journalists are being trained to use mobile phones to report on vital health issues affecting people in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.
The project was launched by Babatunde Akpeji, a Knight International Journalism Fellow with the International Center for Journalists in Washington, D.C and  funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria, and is affiliated with the African Health Journalists Association, a PanAfrican organization based in Lagos, Nigeria.

 Cece Fadope talking to the participants in one of the training sessions.

 A participant receiving a Samsung Galaxy S5 from Declan Okpalaeke.

Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima, aka "Orikinla Osinachi", Nigeria's most powerful Citizen Journalist and founder of Citizen Journalists Association of Nigeria (CJAN) joined the citizen journalists in their last training workshop of the Vital Voices for Health program, which is now part of the HALA Nigeria Project on  Saturday, March 1, 2014 at the Aldgate Congress Resort Hotel, Abacha Road, GRA in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

A participant receiving a Samsung Galaxy S5 from Cece Fadope.

The training was organized by Mr. Babatunde Akpeji. Babatunde Akpeji, a Knight International Journalism Fellow who is building a network of citizen journalists to cover health in Nigeria’s Delta region, an area rich in resources but wracked by severe poverty. The citizen journalists use mobile phones to send information to media organizations in Lagos and Abuja, ensuring better coverage of health problems related to poverty and environmental concerns. Through this program, major media organizations will greatly expand the amount of information they bring to the public about the Niger Delta, and marginalized communities will gain a voice in the media. During his fellowship, Babatunde also mentors health journalists in the Nigerian capital Abuja. These include journalists at Daily Trust, the most prominent newspaper in Northern Nigeria, where a previous Knight Fellow, Sunday Dare, established a weekly health section.

The following are the names of the citizen journalists who have benefited from the training so far:
1.  Tivie Gideon
2.  Charles Ukorebi
3.  Assim - Ita Bernedette
4.  Uche Doris Ogadinma
5.  Jona Gbemre
6.  Odey Sunday
7.  Efanga Alali
8.  Keziah Clifford
9.  Akiri Murphy
10. Christabel Ene
11. Blessing Orijos
12. Prince Barbs Pawuru
13. Uba Ibegwura
14. Christopher Clifford
15. Akpotu Monday Ziworitin
16. Tontiemotei Yeiyei
17. Fineface Dumnamene
18. Elder Dandy Mgbenwa
19. Ikechukwu Cyprian Ahaka
20. Barigha Inango Mercy
21. Letam Noble Bere
22. Williams I. Bitere
23. Damian Gbogbara
24. Grace George
25. Esther Ndeesor
26. Ifedishu Marian
27. Maclean Ayebakuro
28. Leraka Nuka Martins
29. Memesi Ogaga
30. Nduka Agunyai
31. Needom Emmanuel
32. Nornubari Kote
33. Osimini Eugene
34. Owolo Santus
35. Santus Nubari Gift
36. Ogori Michael
37. Walter Destiny Biolagha
38. Christopher Keni Ogbudu
39. Jack Jackson
40. Eso Oyenike Lenient
41. Yahaya Otaru Abdullahi
42. Imonima Oghenero Goddey
43. Olajumoke Aderonke Moradeyo
44. Adeuga Adedunmola
45. Akhihiero Ojeisemi
46. Oluwayemisi Akindejoye
47. Isijola Kikelomo
48. Daniel Edobor
49. Tietie Osagie
50. Hayble Morrison
51. Odofin David O.
52. Olorunfunmi Oludayo Samson
53. Emefiele Efom Miriam
54. Isabor Dorcas
55. Owolabi Bunmi
56. Falokun Success Desayo
57. Alasa Zekeri Ikelebe
58. Aiyede Femi Thomas
59. Olakoyenikan Oluwaseun


“Hala Nigeria: Many Voices, Better Lives,” an unprecedented project that brings together five Knight International Journalism Fellows to pool their expertise, will increase public engagement and amplify citizen voices in health news in Africa’s most populous country.

The project, which means “Speak Out, Nigeria,” is using new digital tools to spur citizen engagement and promote data-driven reporting to take advantage of Nigeria’s new open data movement. It is also organizing public events around key health issues and engaging citizen journalists to expand coverage into neglected regions.

The fellows are collaborating with a wide range of partners, including media organizations, academic institutions and health experts. Partners include:

Code4Nigeria, an open data initiative that connects government, media and civil society to ensure greater transparency and accountability by making official data available to the public.

Hacks/Hackers Lagos, a group of journalists and technologists who build and adapt tools that newsrooms can use to increase transparency and accountability. It will offer data boot camps and hackathons.

African Health Journalists Association (AHJA), a Pan-African network of journalists who cover health problems, policies and services. AHJA provides resources and training opportunities for health journalists across the continent.

Four members of the team are based in Nigeria:

Declan Okpalaeke, a veteran health journalist and trainer who is co-founder and director of AHJA. He serves as the lead editorial strategist and media trainer for Hala Nigeria. He will supervise a nationwide health story contest that will reward the best stories that engage the public. The top prize: Technology fellows will be embedded in the winning newsrooms to train journalists to use the latest digital and data tools.

Oluseun Onigbinde, the project’s lead innovator. He is creating and adapting digital tools to enhance public engagement. Onigbinde also is leading training workshops to ensure that journalists make the best use of new tools and resources. He is also linking journalists to technologists to promote ongoing collaborations that result in innovative media coverage of health problems and services.

Cece Fadope, a media consultant with extensive expertise in building partnerships and managing projects. She is leading a “listening campaign” to survey citizens, journalists and civil society organizations about their health priorities, enabling the project to focus on the issues that matter most to Nigerians. She also is organizing public events such as town hall meetings in collaboration with media organizations and other partners.

Babatunde Akpeji, a multimedia journalist who has built a vibrant citizen journalist network in the Niger Delta. He will expand the network, give its members new tools to engage other citizens, and connect their work to the broader Hala project.

The Fellows work in close collaboration with Knight International Journalism Fellow Justin Arenstein, who is based in South Africa and serves as chief digital strategist for ICFJ and for the African Media Initiative, based in Kenya. Arenstein was instrumental in launching Code4Africa in Kenya, Ghana and South Africa, and guided the creation of Hacks/Hackers chapters in 13 African countries. He has also launched the African News Innovation Challenge, a contest that provided funding for projects across the continent that are changing the way media organizations use data, engage citizens, tell stories and sustain themselves financially. The Knight Fellows working on the Hala Nigeria project are funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

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