A Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Save the Children International (SCI) on Tuesday urged media organisations to increase reportage of social protection programmes in Kaduna State.
SCI Field Manager in the state, Mr Tanko Langaya, made the call in Zaria at the opening of a two-day Media Round Table to improve visibility of social protection interventions.
Langaya said the meeting was organised in partnership with Kaduna Social Protection Accountability Coalition (KADSPAC) and the Office of the Focal Person, Social Investment Programme, Kaduna State.
He explained that the meeting was organised under the DFID-Funded Child Development Grant Programme II, to enlist the support of media partners to increase visibility of social protection.
The field manager, represented by Mr Farouk Abdulkadir, SCI Advocacy and Communication Coordinator, said that the media was key to the success of social protection investment in the state.
He observed that there was currently low level of media engagement and reportage of social protection issues in the state, stressing the need to strengthen partnership with the media.
According to him, the media have a critical role to play in ensuring transparency and accountability in the formulation and implementation of social protection interventions in the state.
“From investigative journalism to reporting about social investment reforms, the media has been identified as one of the strongest advocacy platforms to push the government to respond to citizens’ needs.
“The media will equally help in mobilising citizens to engage in the social protection processes for sustainability.
“This two-day event will, therefore, help to strengthen partnership with the media to fill existing gaps in the reportage of social protection programmes for the vulnerable people in the state,’’ he said.
Ms Jessica Bartholomew, Chairperson, KADSPAC, said that the media engagement was crucial in ensuring that social protection programmes and interventions reached the targeted groups.
Bartholomew said that KADSPAC, a coalition of civil society organisations and media was working in partnership with the state government to ensure transparency and accountability in the delivery of social protection programmes.
“This meeting will create the needed environment for robust media reportage of social protection interventions in the state through awareness creation and media advocacy,” she said.
Also speaking, Mrs Saude Atoyebi, Focal Person, Social Investment Programme in the state, described social protection as “human rights” designed to protect them against economic shocks, poverty, and vulnerability.
Atoyebi, who was represented by Ms Rebecca Padonu, the Special Assistant to Gov. Nasir El-Rufa’i on Social Investment Programme, said that the state’s social protection policy was being developed with inputs from relevant stakeholders.
She said that the policy was currently before the state executive council for approval.
She added that the state’s social protection interventions were designed to progressively prevent residents’ exposure to economic and social risks and shocks that could force them into extreme poverty.
“The vision of the policy is to establish an inclusive, robust, realistic and well-coordinated social protection system that ensures no resident falls below the minimum level of social and economic wellbeing,” she said.