October 12, 2021, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: The U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia has trained 650+ Ethiopian broadcast and print journalists and editors on a variety of topics, including fair and balanced reporting on the electoral process and the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the U.S. government’s commitment to supporting democratic reforms including excellence in journalism, trainings focused on transparency and accountability.
A series of 25 week-long workshops designed to empower and educate journalists, the sessions were implemented by the Johns Hopkins Center for Communications Programs (CCP) with support from the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia and in partnership with the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia and Addis Ababa University’s School of Journalism and Communications.
The workshops, facilitated by renowned Ethiopian journalists and professors, are part of a $450,000 (14,730,000 million birr) investment by the U.S. Embassy to improve civic journalism and coverage of elections and COVID-19.
From February 2020 to August 2021, journalists from 66 media houses in 10 regions and city administrations gathered in person to cover topics that included learning how to identify misinformation and adapt reporting techniques with COVID-19 precautions. Staff from five regional and zonal communication affairs offices also participated in the trainings.
“The U.S. Mission to Ethiopia has been actively supporting all aspects of the historic 2021 elections and Ethiopian media, from technical support to the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia and political parties, to sponsoring nationwide debates in the run-up to the election, to training journalists on how to report fairly and accurately on elections with the far reaching goal of supporting independent media and freedom of expression,” said Ambassador Geeta Pasi. “We are proud to have been partners throughout this process, and we look forward to continuing to work with civil society and media as the newly-elected government takes office in October 2021.”
“We were delighted to facilitate such a significant learning and reflection process during this pivotal time for the country and people of Ethiopia,” said Simon Heliso, Country Representative of CCP-Ethiopia. “Our facilitators unreservedly shared their expertise but also honored the lived experiences of Ethiopian journalists committed to fair, equitable, and unbiased election reporting,” Simon added.
In addition to the 25 workshops, two U.S. media specialists provided tailored virtual training on investigative journalism techniques to Ethiopian newsrooms from March to May 2021. A series of COVID-19 online webinars also took place in Fall 2020 as part of this program.
The trainings are one component of a nearly $35 million (1,625,400,000 Birr) U.S. assistance package helping to build the capacity of the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia, political parties, civil society, and independent media to contribute to a free, fair and peaceful electoral process, ensuring greater transparency and promoting meaningful participation among its citizens. The initiative focuses on inclusion of women, youth, and other traditionally marginalized groups. The United States also supported a limited international election observation effort.
For more information, please contact Dr. Simon Heliso Kuka, Country Representative, Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs at firstname.lastname@example.org or +251 912 506 981, or Ali Suleiman, Democracy and Economy Specialist at the U.S. Embassy, at email@example.com or +251 911 509510.