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Journalists operating in the Upper East Region have called on the government to collaborate effectively with the media in the implementation of the social intervention programmes to minimise corruption and maximise results.

The call was part of a communique, they issued after at a two-day capacity building workshop at Paga in the Kassena-Nankan West District.

The training was organised by the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) on behalf of the Citizens Empowerment Against Corruption (CEMAC) a consortium of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) funded by STAR Ghana Foundation and its allies to respond to corruption and related issues on government intervention programmes and other pro-poor policies.

The journalists argued that the media’s role in educating members of the public, especially targeted beneficiaries, monitoring and holding implementing agencies accountable with regards to the implementation of such policies were key and non-negotiable.

The service delivery standards and social accountability training was to expose the journalists to key interventions such as; free maternal healthcare, how to monitor key poverty reduction programmes such as the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP), fertilizer subsidy under the “Planting for Food and Jobs” among others.

The journalists held that for the pro-poor programmes to succeed and be sustained, it was incumbent on government to empower the media logistically to play a vital role in educating members of the public about the policies and also hold its implementing agencies accountable.

“In connection with this, media practitioners must comprehensively understand these programmes so as to be able to communicate same to the general public, especially targeted beneficiaries.”

They indicated that the various social intervention programmes being implemented to reduce poverty and improve upon livelihoods of the people, was vital and necessary to build the capacities of media practitioners to appreciate the programmes and monitor them effectively to address some of the challenges confronting their successful implementation.

The journalists said, “We observed that some of these challenges were systemic as result of the scope of these interventions. For instance, free maternal Healthcare is faced with challenges of families of beneficiaries paying substantial amount of money for transportation in referral cases and also for acquisition of some delivery items, while the LEAP programme is bedevilled with unqualified persons accessing it while qualified persons who should benefit from the direct poverty reduction incentive are denied”.

The journalists advocated the involvement of anti-corruption institutions and organisations such as the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), the Bureau of National investigations (BNI) particularly in the financial management of the social intervention policies.

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