By; Alex Uangbaoje, Sokoto.
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has urged the media to gear up its social mobilisation responsibility and information dissemination to cover the rural communities in order to change the misconceptions that exist among the locals.
UNICEF’s Chief of Sokoto Field office, Mohammed Mohuiddin, made the call on Tuesday during a ‘Media Executives, Director Programme and Producers Engagement on Facts for Life Dissemination’ meeting with the theme “working for children, a promise renewed” in Sokoto.
He said despite government and development partners efforts in the face of dwindling economic downturn in Nigeria, the rural communities still have a lots of misconceptions and distrust, as such they still finds it difficult to respond.
The UNICEF Chief, stresses the need for media practitioners to bridge the gap that exist between the urban and rural settlement, saying “not enough information is disseminated by the media to the rural communities.”
“The media is UNICEF’s key partner, the whole effort of UNICEF is to provide services to the beneficiaries and the beneficiaries are marginalised children and women who are living in the rural areas.
“They are generally illiterates, ignorants and less aware of happening compare the people in the urban areas. And we found that media have the key role to remove that bottleneck by mobilising the communities.
“If you see the demand for services in the rural areas, it is very poor, that is why we have identify the media as the convener of our messages in order to get the success of what we are doing in partnership with the government.” he added.
Declaring the meeting open, Commissioner for Information, Sokoto State, Hon. Abdulkadir Jeli, said that public enlightenment is key in mobilising the people, this according to him is where the media plays a critical role.
He commended UNICEF for bringing media stakeholders from three states of Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara together and engaging them in strengthening and promoting the lives of children and women, especially with regards to child survival and development.
“UNICEF is a catalyst that motivates us to do our jobs in regards to children and women.” he said