April 17, 2024

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Breaking Barriers: Journalists Empowered to Report Gender-sensitive and Climate-resilient WASH

The Rwanda Young Water Professional (RYWP) in partnership with WaterAid Rwanda and Bugesera district organized the two-day “Training of Journalists on Gender-sensitive and Climate-resilient WASH” reporting with the aim of providing journalists with valuable insights into the localized challenges faced by communities specifically in Bugesera district, while emphasizing the gender-specific implications of climate change on Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) issues.

The goal of the training was to empower journalists to communicate these critical issues accurately, ethically, and in a manner that fosters positive change. The workshop took place on 20th and 21st December 2023 at Nyamata, Bugesera, Eastern Rwanda.

In his opening remarks Viateur NDAYISABYE, Bugesera District’s representative, extends a warm welcome and gratitude to for their commendable efforts in enhancing WASH in Bugesera. Acknowledging the impactful inclusion of young people in this vital project, and revealing the reasons of choosing gender.

He said “we shall be looking on role of man and woman to tackle water shortage, hygiene and sanitation, the role of the media and youth in national sustainability”

“We have the goals with WaterAid that Bugesera district will have full access to water, sanitation and hygiene in the future”, he added.

Jeanine KABANYANA, representative of WaterAid Rwanda highlighted their commitment to raise community awareness on WASH challenges in Bugesera District, and appreciated the collaboration with Rwanda Young Water Professional in organizing this crucial training.

“We believe that the media involvement will further amplify the impact of our collective efforts in addressing the nexus of gender, climate and WASH. The participants will play a pivotal role in building a more informed and engaged media landscape that contributes to the resilience and well-being of Rwandan communities”, she said.

Gretta MUHIMPUNDU, Business development lead, Rwanda Young Water Professional, highlighted WASH systems and practices designed to withstand and adapt to the impacts of climate change and ensuring their effectiveness and sustainability in the face of changing climate condition.

She stated that being aware of and responsive to the different needs, perspectives of individuals based on their gender promoting equality and avoiding discrimination leads to Gender sensitive.

Gretta continued that waterborne infections brought on by inadequate WASH conditions can endanger human health as well as the security of food supplies. Using WASH techniques guarantees that water used for cleaning, food preparation, and irrigation meets strict hygienic guidelines, which improves food security by lowering the chance of contamination.

“Investments in WASH stimulate local economies by creating jobs associated with the building, upkeep, and operation of WASH facilities. A workforce that is more educated and in better health is more productive, which promotes economic growth. Furthermore, better WASH conditions draw in foreign investment because companies prefer locations with dependable labor forces and infrastructure”, she said.

She added that economic opportunities, decision-making parity, employment equity, and bridging knowledge needs through capacity building are all necessary to achieve gender equality. This emphasizes social inclusion by providing everyone, especially the most vulnerable groups, with clean water and sanitary conditions.

She concluded that the main goal for the training was to empower journalists to know more about Water, Energy and Sanitation (WASH).

Aime NDAYISENGA, Media consultant, stated promoting awareness and reporting on WASH issues is vital for sustainable development.

He noted that Media reporting on WASH educates the public about the health benefits of clean water, sanitation, and hygiene, helping prevent diseases like cholera, and promotes sustainable WASH practices, informing the public about water conservation and pollution prevention.

Aime continued that coverage on WASH sector highlights the need for more robust WASH policies and infrastructure, urging improvements and increased funding, and it holds authorities accountable and can motivate improvements in services and infrastructure.

He said, “Journalism sheds light on WASH inequalities affecting vulnerable groups, advocating for universal access. Consistent WASH stories can lead to community involvement and better hygiene habits, reducing disease transmission.”

He concluded that media is essential in communicating vital WASH practices to ensure public safety and health during emergencies.  

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