Blog.Aug 10, 2016

SIWI enables unique media dialogue in the Eastern Nile Basin

Journalists from Egypt, Sudan, South Sudan and Ethiopia participated in a media training aimed at contributing to constructive media reporting about the Eastern Nile Basin. The training was organized by SIWI under the UNDP Shared Waters Partnership and included a visit to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). It was the first time that such a big media delegation visited the GERD and the first visit to the dam for almost all the journalists.

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Last week, 26 journalists representing a mix of newspapers, television and radio, from Ethiopia, Egypt, Sudan and South Sudan participated in a five-day training which took place in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa as well as in Assosa (capital of the Beninshangul regional state) and at the site of the GERD itself.

The training aimed to contribute to informed, constructive media reporting about the Eastern Nile basin, and focused on creating a better understanding on political, technical, legal and economic aspects of the cooperation. The role of media in public diplomacy was a key topic on the agenda.  The journalists were deeply engaged in discussions and exchanged views on how to best frame messages that would contribute to a more conducive cooperation climate in the Eastern Nile Basin region.

The presentations by international experts in the training helped to expand understanding on cooperation opportunities and the benefits that could be gained through joint collaboration on water management and development.

“Asked now that he saw it for himself what he would be writing when he got back to Egypt, Haitham said: “I will be writing that it is a possible cooperation opportunity that we do not want to waste. But at the same time Ethiopia must be very well committed [to] using it responsibly for the people in Egypt and not against it.”

One week after the training the participating journalists have published more than 20 articles, blogs and TV interviews in Arabic, Amharic and English.