Population council to support media agency's journalism awards

NCPD Director-General Dr Mohamed Sheikh and Media Council of Kenya CEO David Omwoyo sign an MoU in Nairobi. [File, Standard]

The Media Council of Kenya and National Council for Population and Development (NCPD) have signed an agreement to support reporting of population issues.

The support will come in the form of grants to facilitate journalists reporting on population and development. The NCPD will also support the running of MCK’s Annual Journalism Excellence Awards held on May 4, every year.

“This time we will have a slot in the awards for journalists who have excelled in reporting issues of population and development,” said NCPD Director-General Mohamed Sheikh.

“Dynamics of population are also changing and this requires understanding to ensure proper planning and investment. Therefore, we will also have mentorship opportunities for young journalists and senior editors to train them on how best to report these issues.”

MCK Chief Executive Officer David Omwoyo said the memorandum of understanding (MoU) will allow access by media practitioners to information about population and development, and give them an opportunity to deeply interrogate them.

“As the media, instead of just focusing on the numbers every time we report about population, we need to humanise these stories and reflect, for instance, about the effect of turning all the arable land into 50 by 100 plots on our food security,” said Mr Omwoyo.

The MoU was signed by Dr Sheikh and Mr Omwoyo during a breakfast meeting in Nairobi attended by editors from various media houses and MCK and NCPD representatives on Wednesday.

National Treasury and Planning Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Eric Wafukho, who was the chief guest at the event, urged the media to focus on reportage that drives development, even as they remain impartial.

“Don’t be easily swayed by political narratives. Instead, call out narratives that do not make sense and interrogate them. We need to create an informed citizenry on issues of population and development,” said Mr Wafukho.

Kenya has made 17 commitments towards attaining the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD25) goals. The commitments include ending teenage pregnancy by 2030, ending female genital mutilation (FGM) by 2022 and eliminating all forms of gender-based violence.