At launch Sexual Reproductive Health Rights reporting guide
Sisterspeak237 Coordinator calls on journalists to increase impactful SRH content
The Coordinator of Sisterspeak237 Comfort Mussa has called on Cameroonian journalists to write impactful sexual reproductive health content that can change citizens behaviors and enable them make informed choices about their sex and reproductive health.
She was speaking over the weekend in Yaounde during the launch of a manual on reporting sexual and reproductive health for journalists in Cameroon.
The manual is one of the fruits of a 6 months project on Reproductive Health Rights implemented by sisterspeak237 with funds from the Canadian Fund for Local Initiatives.
Sisterspeak237 Coordinator Comfort Mussa is of the opinion that, this manual is critical for the practice of impactful journalism in Cameroon.
“The manual is a great resource to help journalists and young journalism graduates understand the issues surrounding reproductive health rights so they can better report on sexual reproductive health rights SRHR issues in an accurate, fair and balanced manner” Mussa explains.
Adding that ” to report professionally and with impact, journalists need training on SRHR to not only help put SRHR issues into perspective but also help change negative and obnoxious cultural norms”.
The 20 page manual comprises of 9 modules which run from ten definition of Sexual and Reproductive Health terms, SRH in Cameroon, the need for a collaboration between journalists and health experts, Media scan findings, tips for reporting on Reproductive Health as well as language use amongst others.
It appears in English and French and can copies can be accessed on the website of sisterspeak237.
Sisterspeak237 was motivated to embark on this reporting guide by the need of telling underreported stories.
“The lack of information on sexual and reproductive health and rights us costly. Women suffer the most which results in the high maternal mortality and morbidity rates in Cameroon linked to unsafe abortions. We have to break the silence on these issues and provide citizens with more accurate information so they can make informed choices” Mussa notes.
Amongst the participants who attended the launch of the manual is Leocadia Bongben, an online journalists who thinks the manual is an essential tool for health reporters.
“It guides reporters on how to collaborate with resource persons and areas to find stories and most importantly to be careful with the language of reporting especially when it comes to issues like abortion. I also wish for the copies to be pocket size so that reporters have it with them always” Leocadia says.
Elise Flore is a Multi-media journalists and health reporter. She says this manual is the first she has seen in Cameroon and is impressed.
“As a health reporter, I’m impressed by the work that was conducted by SisterSpeak237. This is the very first time we come across such an educative and insightful tool on SRH reporting. Most manual guides are focused on political issues coverages and few on economy.
The newly released guide is a great move that can boost many journalists to have an interest in health issues particularly sexual and reproductive health which is a subject with several untold stories affecting men, women as well as young girls, and young boys”.
Like other journalists at the event, Elise thinks “with this first step made by Sisterspeak237, there is a need to see how to create in the days ahead a booklet of best SRH investigative pieces which will be relevant for the public and government to advocate for quality health policies” she proposes.
As the Project comes to an end, sisterspeak237 team is hopeful more impactful reporting will be done by the media on SRHR
The project had earlier trained over 40 journalists from across six regions on reporting SRHR issues and is supporting the production of some reports that will be published on different media outlets.
Sisterspeak237 is a nonprofit organization amplifying the voices of women and minority groups in Cameroon.