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Kenya/Nigeria: USAID announces $2.4 million HIV/AIDS media training partnership with Internews

Internews receives USAID grant for "Local Voices" in Kenya and Nigeria
WASHINGTON, DC - The U. S. Agency for International Development today announced a $2.4 million award to Internews Network to improve the ability of broadcast media in Kenya and Nigeria to effectively cover the HIV/AIDS epidemic over the next two years.

The Local Voices program, which will begin in Nigeria in November, takes a new approach to involving media in the struggle against HIV/AIDS, and seeks to foster a more supportive social environment for preventing and mitigating the impacts of HIV/AIDS, through an enlightened and committed local broadcast community.

A recent report by the United Nations found that radio is a major source for HIV/AIDS information in 36 countries. In surveys, about half of female respondents, and 70 percent of males, mentioned hearing about AIDS on the radio.

"This program recognizes the role journalists, talk show hosts, and DJs can play in informing and empowering their audiences," said David Hoffman, President of Internews Network. "Local media professionals can really set the tone, and regular, responsible journalism can be just as important as information campaigns in dispelling myths and providing accurate information about the epidemic."

"The media needs to be a partner in the fight against AIDS," said Dr. Anne Peterson, USAID's assistant administrator for global health. "With the epidemic showing no signs of slowing, it is critical that leaders in all parts of society, particularly the media, play their role in educating the public. That's why we're very excited about our new partnership with Internews."

Working closely with partners in Kenya and Nigeria, the Local Voices program will:

  • Provide intensive training of journalists, talk show hosts, and radio disc jockeys;

  • Engage station owners and managers early on to facilitate management support of high quality reporting and programming on the pandemic;

  • Develop and strengthen national associations of journalists concerned about HIV/AIDS, to help these local institutions take over responsibility for ongoing programs in their countries;

  • Spur reporters toward greater innovation and thoroughness by awarding prizes through regional and national competitions;

  • Offer modest equipment grants and travel opportunities, allowing journalists to research and investigate stories on HIV/AIDS throughout their country; and,

  • Establish new media resource centers or strengthen existing ones in each country with additional resources including: radio production facilities, Internet access, and print and audio libraries that contribute to up-to-date and accurate stories.

By providing local broadcasters with the information, resources, and professional support they need to effectively cover the AIDS pandemic, Local Voices will enable journalists to make a significant contribution to limiting the spread of the epidemic and helping society cope with its consequences.

Internews, an international non-profit organization that supports open media worldwide, brings more than 20 years of experience in media training and support to the Local Voices project. The company fosters independent media in emerging democracies, produces innovative television and radio programming and Internet content, and uses the media to reduce conflict within and between countries. Internews programs are based on the conviction that vigorous and diverse mass media form an essential cornerstone of a free and open society. Internews projects currently span the former Soviet Union, Eastern and Western Europe, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Africa and the United States. Formed in 1982, Internews Network, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization incorporated in California, with 28 offices in 23 countries worldwide.

USAID is the world's leader in providing funding to fight the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Since 1986, it has provided more than $2.3 billion for prevention, care and treatment programs in over 50 countries around the world. More information about USAID's HIV/AIDS programs is available at www.usaid.gov.

The U.S. Agency for International Development has provided economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide for more than 40 years.

Contact: USAID Press Office
WASHINGTON, DC 20523
(202) 712-4320