On the occasion of World Food Week 2010 (October 11 – 15) IPS – Inter Press Service with the support of the Italian Directorate General for Development Cooperation (DGCS) invited leading journalists from Africa, Asia and Latin America to meet experts of the three Rome-based UN agencies, to discuss and exchange with them about the facts, trends, sources and news coverage opportunities around reporting food insecurity.
IPS organized a three-day training workshop with the involvement of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP), providing a chance for journalists working in countries whose populations are directly affected by the food crisis to link with the unique global expertise found in Rome.
The participating media were The Nepali Times (Nepal), China Daily (China), Bloomberg Businessweek (Indonesia),The Nation Magazine (Swaziland), The Informante (Namibia), La Nación (Costa Rica), NTN24 de RCN TV (Colombia) and Folha de S.Paulo (Brazil). The agenda started with the Deputy Director General of DGCS, Mario Sammartino, opening the meeting followed by four Italian experts on rural development who exchanged about their field experience in different areas of Africa, Asia and Latin America.
In the afternoon journalists met experts at World Food Programme Headquarters, including Gregory Barrow, Global Media Coordinator and Ken Davies, Coordinator of the WFP programme “Purchase for Progress”, presenting it in detail as well as other new WFP programmes like the campaign of communication and fundraising “WeFeedback” mainly based on raising awareness through social networks.
The second day, journalists were welcomed at IFAD Headquarters by Kanayo F. Nwanze, IFAD President. A meeting with experts and programme managers of the agency’s projects in the developing world followed.
In the afternoon, Annika Soder, FAO assistant Director-General, met journalists at FAO Headquarters, and after an intensive briefing with many experts of the agency, FAO Director General Jacques Diouf greeted journalists at a welcoming cocktail reception.
On 15 October, the group attended the World Food Day Ceremony at FAO where four celebrities were appointed FAO Goodwill Ambassadors.
IPS Director General Mario Lubetkin organized a lunch for journalists at the IPS Headquarters to thank participants and gather their reactions.
Some of the points raised were that the big UN agencies often give recommendations and indications, imposing a view of “correct behavior” without taking into consideration the real needs and circumstances of the people living in those countries. The journalists also noted that they often ask about “success stories”, which are not frequently mentioned by the agencies. Participants also suggested that FAO, IFAD and WFP create a stronger link among themselves, as their approach is often very different, even if they work in the same field.
Finally, journalists were very enthusiastic about the workshop, and asked for it to be repeated, saying they would also welcome opportunities to do it in situ where projects take place, to enable them to learn from people who directly benefit.
More about: Africa, Asia & Pacific, Dissemination and networking, Globalization and the South, Latin America, Poverty & MDGs, Providing news and content, Sustainable development