Monday, September 17, 2012

Civil society seeks media partnership

Members of the Civil Society discussing with journalists during the media breakfast yesterday. The New Times / J. Mbanda.
Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have been urged to work hand-in-hand with the media so as to voice concerns that affect the population. 

Speaking at a media breakfast in Kigali, yesterday, Oxfam’s Director of Campaigns and Policy, Kevin Thierry Gatete said: “Our activities comprise of programmes that enable us to directly connect with the local population, meaning that we have more information for the media as a channel through which the government can get to know of the communities”

The event, held under the theme, “Strengthening the relationship between Civil Society and the media to promote pro-poor reporting”, journalists had an interactive session with representatives of various NGOs.

He said the partnership would not only bridge gaps that might be existing between the two parties, but will also enable the media to get information about issues raised by the population.

“The media is not only for the business community to advertise or public institutions to communicate of what is expected from the population, but it should also be used to inform the government about the demands of its citizens,” Gatete pointed out.

He explained that the partnership will also play a crucial role in setting a platform that will enable CSOs and the media to work towards a common goal.

Among others they discussed how and what each NGO was working on, challenges and future plans.

It was organised in partnership with an umbrella of local NGOs known by its French acronym as CCOAIB.

Speaking to The New Times, CCOAIB`s Project Coordinator, Vincent Sinduhunga, said that more efforts will be put in making sure that CSO`s serve the right purpose.

Responding to claims from the media that sometimes CSOs do not do much to advocate for the population, Sinduhunga explained they are independent organisations that have a clearly stipulated work plans and mandate.

“We are purely independent organs but this does not mean that we are against good programmes that the government may initiate; in fact we only have to come in for advocacy when we realise that rights of the population are being violated,” he said.

Meanwhile, Civil Society Organisations members of Rwanda Civil Society Platform (RCSP) have been called on to take active participation and contribution in the on going East Africa Community (EAC) integration process.

Thaddie Karekezi, the Executive Secretary of RCSP made the call on Thursday during the general assembly of the East African Civil Society Organisations’ Forum (EACSOF)-Rwanda Chapter. RCSP is a member of the EACSOF.

He said although it was difficult for the five countries to move at the same pace in implementing requirements to speed up the integration process, there is need for CSO`s in the region to first of all educate the population about the need for integration.

“For the population to benefit from the integration, they need to fully understand why there is need for integration. This will not only enable citizens to develop mechanisms through which they can benefit from it but will also influence the speeding up of the process,” said Karekezi.

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