Audience Engagement: PERL Trains Journalists in Kaduna on Social Media Integration

By Alex Uangbaoje, Kaduna
As part of efforts to ensure that media practitioners integrates social media into their programming, Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL), on Wednesday trained journalists in Kaduna on how to engage their audience.

PERL, is a Non Governmental Organization (NGO), that supports how governments organize their core business of making, implementing, tracking and accounting for policies, plans and budgets used in delivering public goods (economic stability and an enabling environment for private enterprise to promote growth and reduce poverty) and services to the citizenry, and
how citizens themselves engage with these proceses.

Speaking at the opening of the training, Istifanus Akau of PERL-Engaged Citizens Pillar, said the training will also provide an avenue to review budget engagement, progress and gaps, as well as review past electoral cycle and strategies to be proactive in agenda setting for citizens participation.
According to him, the main focus is to equip journalists with the needed skills to use social media to increase citizens’ engagements in governance.
He added that the training will also help to improve journalists, citizens engagement on electoral processes, participation in budget processes to enable citizens to leverage on open governance to demand for good services.
Istifanus, explained that Kaduna State Government had in 2017 signed on to Open Governance Partnership to promote transparency and accountability in governance with a view to promote citizens engagement for good service delivery.
He noted that, the training was necessary to ensure full participation of citizens in governance with a view to promote transparency, accountability and improve service delivery.
“Kaduna state population is about eight million and reaching out to these people is difficult using the traditional media.
“But social media platforms present journalists with huge opportunity to reach out to millions of people and sustain discussions around good governance and service delivery.
“With the right technology, journalists can stream their programmes live on social media, share pictures and stories to effectively enlighten the pubic and get them engaged in the discussions around governance.”
Some of the journalists already using social media in their programmes described the platform as effective tool for citizen engagement.
Mr Joshua James, Executive Producer of “Open Kaduna” on Freedom Radio, said integrating social media into his programme enables him reach out to wider audience.
James said he streams his programme live on twitter, face book, and other social media platforms and has been very effective in reaching out and generating discussion around good governance and service delivery.
Also speaking, Hajara Mohammed, State Facilitator, PEAL-Engage Citizens, explained that PERL is a five year flagship public sector accountability and government programme funded by the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID).
She said that the focus of PERL was to reform how governments make and track implementation of policies; how government plan and budget to deliver public services and how citizens engage in the process.


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