Non-Governmental Organization, Plan International Cameroon has put in place a new partnership platform to boost its media coverage nationwide.
On Friday, January 13, 2023, in Yaounde, Cameroon’s nation capital, the country office of Plan International launched a new collaboration platform with media practitioners and some partner institutions such as the Ministry of Social Affairs, the Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and the Family and the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Civic Education.
The event dubbed media corner and launched at the Bastos head office of Plan International Cameroon gathered close to 20 Journalists, Bloggers, influencers, and staff of some communication units identified as key partners of the Non-Governmental Organization that strives for the rights of children and equality for the girlchild.
Speaking on behalf of the Country Director of Plan International Cameroon, the acting Director of Programmes, Dr. Fagnon Paul said the media corner is an initiative put in place to boost the organization’s visibility. While acknowledging the pivotal role that the media plays in highlighting untold stories, he wished the newly set up initiative will help support the objectives and missions of Plan International which has been fully engaged alongside the government for over 25 years.
In his address, Dr. Fagnon equally said the hosting of the media corner will permit journalists and other partners present to have an in-depth knowledge of the various activities carried out by Plan International and by the way grant the opportunity to media practitioners present to outline some strategies to be put in place at the level of the communication and influencing department and see how to ameliorate the existing collaboration.
According to Dr. Donkeng Eddy Patrick, Head of the communication and Influencing department of Plan International, the media is at the heart of activities carried out by the organization. He said the organization has been working with different media outlets for impactful results and today has established a sort of media platform that will greatly help in transmitting information to communities and all societies.
Dr. Donkeng said: “At Plan International Cameroon, it is part of our strategy to work with the media. Media are enablers of change and then working with them within our communities in Cameroon is something that we prioritize this year we would like to establish a sort of bridge between the media and our institutional and financial partners as well as our programs department because what we are doing on the field should be seen. And most of the time the problem is that people on the field are doing a lot but nothing is shown. We, therefore, decided to have this sort of gathering and agree on a road map to know how we can work better and impact and to show the impact we have in our society…”
He added that such gatherings will be multiplied as they henceforth enter within the framework of a collaborative move which is crucial to Plan International.
Institutional Partners as a support
Even though Plan International collaborates with the government and various institutions, the organization has invited to the media corner some key ministries which are in charge of children’s rights. The Ministries of Social Affairs; Women’s Empowerment and the Family; and Youth Affairs and Civic Education were part of the session and the staff representing these communication units praised the initiative which to them will accentuate actions carried by the government and advocacy campaigns launched by Plan International.
Mrs. Mbakong Edwige Grace, Head of the communication unit of the ministry of women’s empowerment, MINPROFF expressed the will to see the collaboration link established and consolidated by concrete programmatic actions and called on Plan International Cameroon to keep organizing joint activities with its institutional partners as a way to support them mostly at the financial level.
Mrs. Mbakong said: “We have a series of activities that we organize and which necessitate media coverage but due to lack of financial resources most of them are underreported. We hope with this initiative that takes off that we shall at an extent try to solve this issue and the different media partners will build more interest in reporting some thematics highlighted.”
On his part, the representative of the Head of the communication unit of the ministry of social affairs, MINAS said they have a good number of media partners with whom they have been collaborating for several years now and this has been fruitful. Reason why he equally applauds the move of Plan International Cameroon.
Mr. Awana said the communication unit of MINAS is open to any collaborative action and equally seized the occasion to inform participants at the media corner of the existence of a toll-free number (1503) for reporting child abuse and trafficking.
Just like the institutional partners who highly welcomed the new collaboration platform, spokesperson for the communication unit of the ministry of youth affairs and civic education, Rick Assyla said MINJEC is in the process of revising a Youth Plan that has been dormant for several years and Plan International’s role will be vital in defining some of its lines according to its mandate and missions.
The Media, a key player
During discussions, journalists, influencers, and bloggers present at the first-ever held media corner of Plan International Cameroon posed a chaplet of demands and said they hope to see this initiative as long-lasting.
Media partners who accompany Plan International on daily basis through their activities have equally expressed the need to be more involved in field visits to palpate realities and report with live testimonies.
Moreover, they expressed the will to receive on regular basis newsletters, information notes, images, events, etc. from Plan International.
Media men underscored its commitment to intensify its collaboration with Plan International as media partners of Plan International Cameroon and accepted the safeguarding policy which is already part of their good practice in terms of verification and publication of information.
To close the media corner session, Dr. Kwake Simon, chief of party in Plan International Cameroon thanked the media invited and said this innovative approach set in motion could not be effective and efficient if they do not fully grant their support to the organization.
To recall, Plan International is a development and humanitarian organization that advances children’s rights and equality for girls.