1.5m Dollars for West African Journalists

Wednesday, April 4, 2007
The West African Journalist Association (WAJA) has launched a US 1.5 million pilot project aimed at building the capacity of its member unions in 16 West African countries.

A press statement from the Gambia Press Union (GPU) said that the president of WAJA, Ibrihima Famakam Coulibaly, presided over the launching of the sub-regional pilot project at a ceremony held in Bamako, Mali, on March 27, 2007.

According to the GPU statement, the launching of the project followed the drawing up of an action plan by the WAJA steering committee, which recommended training for journalists in the 16 West African counties.

Madi Ceesay, GPU president and member of the steering committee, represent The Gambia at the launching.

In his remarks at the launching, WAJA president Ibrihima Famakan Coulibaly, described the project as genuine and therefore called on journalists in the sub-region to make the best use of it.

Delivering the keynote address Soumana Sacko, the Executive Secretary of ACBF and former Prime Minister of Mali, challenged WAJA to ensure the success of the project in order to open up opportunities for subsequent projects.

Mr. Sacko emphasised the role of journalist in the decentralisation process of nations. He further condemned the number of arrests and detentions of journalists by governments, adding that governments continuing to perpetrate such could not be considered democratic.

The press statement further indicated that the pilot project stipulates that there be 16 local training programmes to be conducted in each of the countries; the publication of a WAJA quarterly bulletin; fund a website for WAJA and one sub-regional training in each of the countries. The release also disclosed that training on Conflict Prevention and Peace Building would be conducted in Liberia.

Meanwhile each member country is expected to prepare a proposal and submit to the project head office.

The project coordinator, Mustapha Camara, who is to be assisted by two experts responsible for print and audio, is expected to assume official duties with immediate effect. The two experts are Alpha Sall, a Senegalese national and Mr. Claude, a Beninois.
Author: Tuesday 3rd April 2007
Source: The Point
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