A nine member WASH Journalist Forum has been formed in Surkhet as part of the District Open Defecation Free (ODF) strategy developed by the District WASH Coordination Committee (D-WASH CC). The chairpersonship of the Forum is journalist Binod Shahi, and it was formed in a journalist orientation programme organised on June 15 2011 by NEWAH in collaboration with the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) District Chapter, and D-WASH-CC.
The role of the media is crucial to inform people about prevailing WASH issues in the district, and so the formation of this Forum was pushed and supported by Surya Mani Gautam, Central Member of FNJ and Durga Thapa, Chairperson of FNJ District Chapter. They have been given the role of advisors.
Gautam stated that, “This will help to sensitise journalists about WASH issues in the district and keep the people (users) informed and aware.
“Starting from the district level, this kind of initiative can be scaled up to the regional level as well. The forum would also facilitate sector information of government agencies and NGOs to reach the public.
“The participating journalists believe that the formation of this Forum will help to create a difference in the sector, just like has happened with other journalist Forums on education, sports and environment.
Sushila B.K. a member of the forum says, “Now, this forum is well recognised in the sector and the WASH stakeholders in the district directly approach or correspond with us. They send us WASH related information and invite us to various programmes. There is growing coverage and broadcast of WASH related issues in the media as well.”
This is an encouraging move made by the journalists in Surkhet and has been welcomed by all in the sector. The journalists need to be further capacitated so that they can effectively raise issues and stories based on ground realities, lessons, challenges, best practices of WASH. Media can play a significant role in the improvement of the WASH sector.