By: WASH R&E Network – The Annual General Assembly of the West Africa Water and Sanitation Journalists Network (WASH-JN) for 2012 is been held in the Liberian Capital, Monrovia.
The Annual Assembly brings together about 20 media practitioners from the West African Sub-region and partners from other parts of the world.
The 13 Countries include Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo, including partners from WaterAid and the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC).
The 5-day event which runs from Monday-Friday, February 13-17, 2012 is part of a constitutional provision of the West Africa Water and Sanitation Journalists Network (WASH-JN) that an Annual General Meeting be held every year.
A release from the WASH Reporters & Editors Network of Liberia (WASH R&E) “a Member of the Regional Grouping”, says the 2012 WASH-JN Annual General Assembly focuses on reviewing its activities in the past one year.
The West Africa Water and Sanitation Journalists Network (WASH-JN) intends to also review its 2012 Work Plan, and propose any changes in its structures to make it perform its funding objectives more effectively.
As part of the agenda marking the 5-day General Meeting in Liberia, the WASH-JN on Monday began with a brief opening ceremony followed by report of activities on WASH-story competition, Africansan33, Global Forum on sanitation held in Mumbai, CREPA high level Forum, and WASH High Level meeting in the United States.
Also on Monday, there were presentations by National Networks representing each Member Country on success, challenges, and 2012 Work Plan.
On Tuesday, there were discussions on the way forward for the Regional WASH Media Network concerning Governance, Administrative issues, and Communication Strategy among others.
On Wednesday the 3rd day, members of the West Africa Water and Sanitation Journalists Network (WASH-JN) made a Field Visit to some slum communities in and around Monrovia to report on WASH issues. On the 4th and 5th days, Thursday and Friday, stories from the field were looked at, focusing on field visits, and also a WASH Trainer of Trainers Workshop focusing on WASH issues and Concepts (Gender mainstreaming, Equity and Inclusion, Access, Definition of WASH terms, International Water Resource Management, Millennium Development Goals and WASH, among others) and Sourcing Information from National and International WASH Networks.
The West Africa Water and Sanitation Journalists Network (WASH-JN) was organized in Bamako, Mali 2010 and was established in Accra, Ghana 2011 based on the background that in Africa, apart from the low level of access to water and sanitation services by poor communities, limited access to information presents a major challenge to improving and sustaining service delivery.
The establishment of WASH-JN was also based on the need and importance to develop a network of media, strengthen capacity and create bigger platforms to articulate community voices on WASH issues.
The West Africa WASH Journalists Network operates under the vision of the Media network for informed actions on water, sanitation and hygiene in West Africa.
The objectives of the Regional WASH Media Network focus on amplifying the voices of the poor, ensuring enhanced quality and flow of information and better targeting for enhanced influence on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).
WASH-JN goals and objectives also focus on helping to meet the needs, without discrimination, of ALL, not only to adequate and safe water, but also good hygiene and improved sanitation for the purpose of ensuring biodiversity, health and development of human beings. The Network believes that these NEEDS are essential human rights.
Interestingly, the Annual General Assembly of the West Africa WASH Journalists Network (WASH-JN) coincides with the 1st anniversary of the WASH Reporters & Editors Network of Liberia (WASH R&E), a leading proactive member Organization of the Regional WASH Media Body.
The WASH R&E was officially launched on February 25, 2011 with an initial membership of 50 Liberian Media Institutions.
The WASH Reporters & Editors Network of Liberia (WASH R&E) has meanwhile welcomed the hosting of the Annual General Assembly of the West Africa WASH Journalists Network in Liberia, describing it as key in fostering WASH Media advocacy in West Africa.