Papua New Guinea
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Villagers Engaged in Community Journalism

BY WENCESLAUS MAGUN
and MARTHA LOUIS

Dalai Lama once said: “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito in the room.”

In order to translate the morale of Dalai Lama’s message into a practical solution, 32 participants were trained in ‘Participatory Community Journalism (PCJ) from Monday 7th of August, to Friday 18th of August.

The training featured a mix of interactive workshops, practical exercises and group discussions.

These 32 participants successfully graduated with Certificates from this two-weeks training, held at the St. Therese’s Conference Centre in Alexishafen, Madang Province, on the 18th of August, 2023.

The training was funded by the USAID Lukautim Graun Program (USAID LGP), supported by the American people and their government and managed by DT Global.

Trainers Ms. Martha Louis, a career journalist, now working for YUS Tree Kangaroo Conservation Project (TKCP) in Morobe Province as their Communication’s Officer, and Mr.

Wenceslaus Magun from MAKATA, also a seasoned journalist, author, writer, founder, and national coordinator for MAKATA, aimed at informing, educating, and empowering these participants to become active contributors and storytellers within their communities.

Expected Outcomes


The training sought to equip the participants with fundamental journalism skills, ethical reporting practices, and an understanding of the role of media in local development.

This was to ensure the participants’ stories attract, engage, motivate, and involve the public or target audiences who share in their common shared aspirations to help them achieve their CBOs’ or CSOs’, schools, churches, and group’s vision, mission/s, goal, and objectives.

This training further aimed at sustaining MAKATA’s goal in restoring sea turtles’ populations especially that of the most critically endangered western Pacific leatherback sea turtles by engaging with these participants and their local communities.

According to the International Union of Conservation Network (IUCN), the western Pacific leatherback sea turtle’ populations has been pushed to the verge of extinction and is identified by IUCN as the most critically endangered species in their five Red List species category.

Mr. Magun hopes that by building these participants capacities and engaging with them, these participants may become agents of this positive change in restoring the leatherback sea turtle’s populations and sustaining it.

In addition, the participants gained knowledge and skills on the eight key principles of establishing a Community Based Organisation (CBO) and or a Civil Society Organisation (CSO).

They were further encouraged to get their CBO’s registered with the Investment Promotion Authority (IPA) and be issued a Certificate of Good Standing and a Certificate of Incorporation of an Association. They were also informed to get an Internal Revenue Commission’s (IRC) Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN). This will enable them to operate their entities legally as required by the government.

Outcomes and Impacts Achieved


As a result of this training, the participants established a community journalism platform as part of their Collaborative Project on Facebook: “Sumkar Environmental Stewardship Forum” where participants can publish their stories and engage with the local audience.

Individual groups further created their Gmail, YouTube and related social media accounts to upload their films, stories and pictures to involve and engage their target audience towards achieving their program and project activities.

They fostered a sense of community collaboration and sharing with and amongst themselves.

Moreover, the participants built a strong working, and collaborative relationship to seek help and support from each other, and in partnership with Ms. Louise, Mr. Magun, MAKATA, and other relevant stakeholders.

They further demonstrated their knowledge by establishing their own CBO’s, CSO’s, churches’ and schools’ 4-P Strategic Communications Management Plan or strategies.

Challenges and Lessons Learned:
Below are views gathered from some of the participants from the PCJT’s Evaluation at the end of the training.

“We were able to learn the media ethics and principles and how to write the news article but we still need more training to fully grasp the essence of this course as two weeks is inadequate,” said Mr. Tonny Herok, a primary school teacher representing Tabel Day High School.

Another participant Mr. Mathew Lawun, from KCEA CBO, Murukanam village had this to say: “This media training is very important and we still need similar trainings to be carried out in the community. There must always be a refresher course to refresh what we’ve learned and also to train our members in the community.

“This is what we need as our strength to upskill our executives in our respective CBOs to be able to document our activities in our communities. The media training was very well carried out as it was broken down to our level to understand and execute when we go back to our communities.”

Pastor Daing Alakum said: “I am very pleased with the training and would like to see similar training carried out at Bagabag island. This can impact Bagabag community mindset.

This training when we carry out our awareness we will encounter challenges. But I’m thankful we have partners to work with us to run more awareness on such trainings in the communities especially Bagabag,”

Groups representatives
These participants represented Wee Masur, Kimadi Community Empowerment Association (KCEA), Yadadika, Yadigam, Simbukanam, Mirap, Karkum, and Tanguar CBOs and the Gildipasi CSO from Sumgilbar Local Level Government (LLG). Representatives from Tabel Day High School, Tabel Catholic parish, Tarak CBO, Marib Integrated Christian School on Karkar Island, Tibudhun ELC congregation and the Tabel Catholic church’s representatives on Bagabag Island from Karkar LLG were present in the training.

They were joined by representatives from St. Theresa Sisters congregation, a representative from Meri Safe House, and a Community Facilitator for MAKATA from Mikarep village in Bogia Districts of Madang Province.

Tools
A total of 21 Samsung open line mobile phones, 21 dual sim cards, 21 4 GB SD cards, and accessories and 20 PCJ training manuals were issued to these participants, and the co-facilitator Ms. Martha Louis, thanks to the USAID LGP and MAKATA for sponsoring these training items.

Media story
Empowering Communities Through PCJT: A Deep Dive: https://www.facebook.com/100083218634693/posts