Up to 30 journalists and communications professionals operating in Mwanza were trained during the national media training workshop, organized by the Lake Victoria Basin Integrated Water Resources Management Programme (LVB-IWRMP) of Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC), which aimed to enhance their understanding and communication skills regarding Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) in the Lake Victoria Basin.
The two-day workshop, held in Mwanza, Tanzania, on the 8th and 9th of June 2023 brought together journalists and communication officers from various media houses and government institutions, thus creating an opportunity for them to learn about the LVBC’s role in the region and effectively communicate the program’s activities and impacts.
During the opening of the workshop, Eng. Coletha Ruhamya, Deputy Executive Secretary of the LVBC, emphasized the significance of the training. She highlighted the influential role that media professionals play in shaping opinions and decision-making processes. Eng. Ruhamya called on the participants to actively support the sustainable development and management of the Lake Victoria Basin through their work.
The training sessions were facilitated by Ms. Joanna Martin, an expert in communication and visibility. Through interactive sessions and roundtable discussions, the participants were equipped with multimedia storytelling techniques to create compelling content for various media platforms. The aim was to enable them to deliver impactful messages about IWRM to their audiences, fostering awareness and support for sustainable water management practices in the Lake Victoria Basin.
In addition to skill-building exercises, the workshop provided valuable networking opportunities. Participants had the chance to engage with LVBC representatives and high-level government officials, allowing for a deeper understanding of the LVBC’s role in a regional context and establishing connections for future collaborations.
As part of the workshop’s objectives, participants produced high-quality media stories to be published within a month of the training. These stories will focus on highlighting the importance of IWRM and its impact on their respective media outlets.
The training workshop aligns with the communication and visibility strategy of the LVB IWRM Program, aiming to raise awareness, support policy development, and increase the visibility of the LVBC and its partners. By effectively communicating the importance of IWRM and the impact of the LVB IWRM Program, media professionals play a vital role in promoting sustainable water management practices, preserving biodiversity, and preventing conflicts in the Lake Victoria Basin.
The workshop was considered a success, with participants gaining valuable knowledge and skills related to IWRM. A participant-centered approach was followed, covering topics such as effective communication, media coverage of IWRM, audience-centered storytelling, strategies for making water and sanitation newsworthy, and generating compelling story angles.
The workshop received strong support from Dr. Renatus J. Shinhu, the Basin Director of the Lake Victoria Basin Water Board (LVBWB), who acknowledged Tanzania’s proactive approach in engaging journalists in water resources management. Dr. Shinhu expressed gratitude to the Federal Germany Government and the European Union for their support towards this important initiative.
Moving forward, the trained journalists and communication professionals are expected to play an integral role in communicating and raising awareness about the new sewer connection upgrade High Priority Investment project to be implemented in Mwanza. This investment, amounting to approximately EUR 5.3 million (TZS 13.7 million), will involve the construction of nearly 14 kilometers of infill sewers. The upgrade aligns with Tanzania’s National Development Vision 2025, which aims to increase access to improved sanitation to 95% by 2025.
The rehabilitation of the existing sewerage network and pumping stations will ensure seamless connections to the new infill sewers, preventing frequent blockages and allowing the pumping stations to function at their design capacity. This improvement in the sewer system is expected to have significant socio-economic and environmental benefits for Mwanza and the surrounding areas.
The media training workshop in Mwanza served as a platform to empower journalists and communications professionals to effectively communicate the importance of IWRM and the positive impacts of the LVB IWRMP. Through their work, they will contribute to sustainable water management practices, support policy development, and raise awareness about the significance of the Lake Victoria Basin’s ecosystem.