DAKAR - Ahead of the 4th international conference on early childhood development that is set to begin tomorrow in Dakar, Senegal, over 20 journalists from across Africa have acquired skills of reporting on childhood development.
According to communication experts from the International Centre for Journalists (ICFJ) – a US based association, this training will enable beneficiaries to communicate major issues that challenge proper growth of children.
“The training mainly aims at increasing quality reporting on early childhood development in a bid to get more resources devoted to health and education of children in the critical early years.
“We believe that the journalists will grasp the issues and take that expertise back to their home countries to develop story ideas that will reflect and improve the lives of young children,” Rachel Jones, a Health Knight Fellow from the ICFJ told The New Times.
Officials noted that research has proved that focusing on children’s development in the critical early years from 0- 8 pays off in healthier, smarter citizens and greater economic development for the countries where they live.
In this regard, another United Nations official and expert in child rights promotion, Dr. Agnes Akosua Aidoo added that better media coverage can help bring more attention to this important issue.
“Annually 27 million children are born in sub-Saharan Africa and it is imperative to curb the existing alarming child mortality rates that are 30 times higher in Africa than in the developed world.
“Malnutrition figures so high as a result of poverty and other issues like paediatric HIV infections need urgent scale up of interventions if nations are to raise stronger generations that will be productive to countries’ development,” Aidoo explained.
Over 500 delegates from across the globe including first ladies from various African states are expected to attend the four-day conference.
Under the theme, “from policy to action,” participants will find ways of expanding investment in early childhood development for the purpose of ensuring sustainable development.