BY BERNADETTE NDEMA –

Nutrition related content remains fairly reported in the media and this could be attributed, among other things, to lack of understanding of nutrition data and programming by journalists and communicators.

In realisation of this, the Office of the Prime Minister, through the National Information Platforms for Nutrtion (NIPN) project, held a three day nutrition data communication and journalism training for journalists and sector communicators from 13th to 15th November 2019 at Ridar Hotel Seeta, Kampala.

NIPN is implemented with funding from the European Union and facilitates multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder dialogue on nutrition. The four year project supports the use of existing nutrition information and data to develop or refine policies and programmes to address malnutrition.

Journalists from major broadcast, print and online media outlets were joined by communications officers from ministries, departments and agencies to be skilled in basic nutrition data interpretation and reporting, as well as the use of the nutrition dash-board to draw evidence for reporting to various audiences, with the ultimate goal of communicating effectively to facilitate refining of the nutrition policy. The participants also had their capacity built in generating evidence-based nutrition knowledge and communication products such as info-sheets, fact sheets, info-graphics and policy briefs.

Mr. Joses Tegyeza, the OPM Commissioner for strategic coordination and implementation, applauded the participants for their innovation and active participation throughout the training and encouraged them to report and communicate nutrition data accurately.

Mr. Joses Tegyeza, commissioner, (SCI) addressing participants during the nutrition data communication and journalism training

‘You are now ambassadors of the nutrition agenda and the OPM acknowledges your contribution as the fourth estate and communications fraternity. For any nutrition information and evidence you need, OPM’s NIPN is an appropriate source,” Mr. Tegyeza explained.

The participants expressed their gratitude for the knowledge that they acquired during the training.

“This has been a wonderful training. It was participatory and we were able to learn from each other. I did not know that nutrition had many story angles but when Mr. Julius Mucunguzi, the head of communications in the OPM, explained how it cuts across the board, from refugees to climate change and general development, my perspective was widened. I have learnt a lot from this,” Shamim Saad, a photojournalist with The New Vision said.

Mr. Joses Tegyeza ( front 2nd left) joining participants and trainers of the nutrition data communication training for a group photograph after the closing ceremony

With this intervention, we can trust that nutrition issues will be high on the media and communications agenda in newsrooms and sectoral communications boardrooms.