The U.S. Embassy in Addis Abeba launched on Wednesday countrywide media trainings that will help empower both state and private media outlets in the lead to elections in 2020, a statement from the embassy said. The initiative is implemented by the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs (CCP) in partnership with Addis Abeba University School of Journalism and Communications (AAU-SJC).
“This project aims to enhance the skill sets of journalists and strengthen the institutional capacity of Ethiopian media organizations with the overarching goal of improving the quality of information available to the Ethiopian public in the lead up to the 2020 elections in Ethiopia,” the statement said. A total of 25 training sessions are planned throughout the country. Each session will include 20 to 25 members of the media and social media influencers, ultimately reaching 625 Ethiopian media professionals.
Speaking at the launch of the nationwide media training, Public Affairs Officer Amanda Jacobsen underscored, “these media trainings are part of the U.S. Embassy’s efforts to improve media capacity as part of our seven pillars of engagement in support of the incredible reform effort underway here in Ethiopia.”
The embassy said it has invested $450,000 (14,463,000 million Birr) in this project, “which seeks to help the media provide accurate, balanced, and verified information to the public, act as effective observers during the election process, inform the public about their rights and responsibilities during elections, facilitate forums for open debate, and educate the public about the election process.”
CCP and AAU-SJC conducted a comprehensive needs assessment and developed the training curriculum based on the findings. A week-long intensive facilitators’ training was provided to 24 trainers who will be deployed nationwide for the trainings. As part of the overall media capacity initiative, up to six American media professionals will be embedded in Ethiopian newsrooms to reinforce best practices and conduct needs assessments.
“This program is part of the United States’ commitment to support the Government of Ethiopia’s ongoing reform program and the upcoming 2020 national election.” US Embassy/AS