In order to raise greater awareness about WASH-related issues in Myanmar, WaterAid Myanmar initiated a media fellowship programme in early 2020. The fellowship is a three-month programme and includes three multi-day training sessions, during which selected media fellows get to hear from experts in the WASH and the media sectors.
The key objectives of the fellowship are to build the capacity of the journalists so they can present an accurate picture of the WASH situation in Myanmar, have a positive influence on policy makers, improve public awareness about WASH to encourage positive behaviour change, and promote examples of good WASH solutions. Apart from strengthening their WASH knowledge, WAMM also provides media fellows with financial support so they can produce high-quality content for their media organisations about WASH topics.
To date, WAMM has held two training programmes and trained a total of 23 journalists and editors from the main media organisations. The first batch of the fellowship programme was completed successfully in March, and the second batch in October. As a result of the many reports produced by the media fellows, the programme has helped to advance the goal of drawing greater attention to the importance of WASH.
Due to this success, WAMM extended the fellowship for another four months, from December 2020 to March 2021, for graduated fellows who showed a high level of commitment throughout the training. The purpose of this extension was to ensure WASH issues are continuously reported by fellows who have a deep understanding of WASH concepts.
WAMM has also expanded the scope of the fellowship to include ethnic media organisations based in regional and remote areas. A four-month pilot project designed exclusively for ethnic media organisations is being conducted from December 2020 to March 2021. WAMM is working with three media organisations from Chin, Kayah and Kachin States, where WASH issues are very prevalent.