By Oluseye Ojo

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), and the Diamond Awards for Media Excellence (DAME) have joined forces to champion children’s rights in Nigeria.

The three bodies signed a partnership agreement in Abuja on Friday through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), with a view to utilising the influential power of the media to promote and protect the rights of children across the country.

The collaboration is expected to focus on advocacy and awareness campaigns, capacity building for journalists, shared research, recognition of impactful media contributions, and influencing policy changes to support children’s rights.

The MoU, according to the parties involved, signified a collective commitment to creating a society that prioritises and advances the well-being of its youngest members.

The MoU, which spans two years, outlines cooperation in enhancing public advocacy and awareness of children’s rights through media campaigns and journalistic content targeting education, health, nutrition, and protection.

It also includes the development of training programmes for journalists to improve reporting on vulnerable populations and the sharing of up-to-date research to enrich media content.

The partnership would also promote awards, recognising outstanding journalism aligned with UNICEF’s priorities, and utilise media influence to drive policy changes that would positively impact children’s welfare.

The Representative of UNICEF in Nigeria, Cristian Munduate, expressed excitement about the partnership, stating that it would harness the media’s potential as an advocate for children’s welfare.

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She was optimistic that by working together, the organisations would strive to revolutionise the coverage and address children’s rights in the media, as well as ensure that every child’s rights are respected, protected, and fulfilled.

“This partnership with the Nigerian Guild of Editors and DAME harnesses the media’s immense potential as an advocate for the welfare of children. Media not only informs public opinion but also influences those in power to enact changes that favour children’s rights.

“By joining forces, we are setting a course to transform how children’s rights are reported and addressed in the media, ensuring every child’s rights are respected, protected, and fulfilled,” Munduate said.

The President, NGE, Eze Anaba, emphasised the media’s role in driving societal change and pledged to uphold the integrity of journalism by focusing on impactful reporting on children’s rights.

His words: “The media has the profound capacity to shape perspectives and effect real change. Through this MoU, we are pledging to uphold the integrity of journalism by focusing our collective expertise on sensitive and impactful reporting concerning children’s rights.

“We are committed to working together to build a robust framework that supports this cause.”

A Trustee of DAME, Lanre Idowu, stressed the significance of recognising excellence in journalism.

“Recognition through awards plays a crucial role in elevating journalistic standards. By focusing on issues such as child rights, education, and health, we aim to spotlight and incentivize the media to cover stories that can lead to substantial social impact,” Idowu stated.