Journalists for Christ (JFC) International Outreach has held a media parley to discuss issues affecting Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in a bid to find ways to improve their living conditions and advance their rights.
The one day consultative/media parley in Abuja themed “Advancing IDP Issues” is supported by the World Association for Christian Communications and Bread for Life, BROT fur die welt.
During the session, John Wakawa of Africa Arise shared how his organization has been supporting IDPs with regard to access to education.
Mr Wakawa said, “we work with IDPs by providing education, and we have been able to support some IDPs in Kuchingoro and Durumi camps in Abuja.”
He noted that education is an important need for IDPs because “if they don’t access education, it means that the insurgents’ goal has been achieved because the main reason behind these attacks is to stop formal education.”
He charged journalists and NGOs to contribute their quota to advancing the rights of IDPs, stressing that “the little you do with IDPs will go a long way. You do not have to do something huge to be able to impact lives.”
Identifying another need of IDPs that should be focused on, Ms Bunmi Atteh of Full Life Empowerment Program (FLEP) said that, “we supply IDPs with drugs and provide health care services because they lack essential health care services in the camps.”
“We also have an education empowerment program to supply schools with teaching materials. We work with women groups to set up a cooperative to stand a better chance when sourcing funds.”
Ene Oshaba, a development journalist who writes on IDP issues, shared that “IDPs are still suffering from the same problems as applicable in the past. However, there are many emerging issues, like poverty or diseases, but it takes much passion for identifying those issues and reporting about them.”
Participants present at the consultative/media parley recommended that to better the lives of IDPs, stakeholders need to “identify states where IDP camps are and mobilize the support of the state governments to support them.
“Collaborate with CSOs, Philanthropists and groups to promote the rights of IDPs and linking IDPs who have been trained in one skill or the other with the right market.”
Earlier in her welcome address, Mrs Ugonma Cokey, the Vice President of Journalists for Christ, enjoined journalists to stay committed to reporting about IDPs, stressing that it would help them make an impact and access opportunities.
Also present at the dialogue were the JFC team from Lagos and IDP representative from an IDP camp in Abuja.