This post was originally published at Naija AgroNet and has been republished with permission.

The Nigerian stakeholders have setting up the Family Planning Media Advocacy Working Group (FPMAWG) as part of efforts at advancing their commitments on issues of family planning in the country, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The FPMAWG executive committee includes Chioma Umeha – Chairperson, Angela Onwuzoo – vice chairperson, Mayuwa Adeniran – Public Relations Officer (PRO), Bukola Ajiboye – Secretary, Ijeoma Ukazu – Assistant Secretary, and Appolonia Adeyemi as Financial Secretary.

Setting up the FPMAWG in Lagos, the Associate Director of Reproductive Health and Family Planning (RH/FP) at Pathfinder International office in Nigeria, Dr. Habeeb Salami, defined advocacy as “organized, deliberate, systematic, and strategic process intended to bring about a new or revised social or economic policy or programme.”

He also said that advocacy involves setting of actions undertaken by a group of committed individuals or organizations to introduce change or obtain support for specific policies, programmes, legislation, issues or causes, precisely on Family Planning.

Salami urged FPMAWG to seek to draw and sustain the attention of critical decision makers at national, state and local and community levels on an issue of common interest to an individual, or a group of individuals or organizations, with the goal of getting these issues addressed in a mutually beneficial manner.

FPMAWG, he said, is a group of committed individuals who share a common social, political and economic interest over an issue.

“Willing to work together to change the FP situation,” he said.

Salami equally pointed out that advocacy groups could be very influential, but their influence is informal because they do not hold or control power, but try to influence people who either hold power or who may hold power, such as a candidate for an elective office, to support the positions the group is committed to.

“Advocacy groups are important players in local, state, federal, and even international social economic milieu,” he said, thus as diverse as the people and ideas they represent.

He urged for partnership with like-minded individuals or groups, noted that essentially, FPMAWG should advocate to national and local leaders that Family Planning needs high-level attention and improvements in quality and access.
Therefore, he encouraged FPMAWG to ensure the usage of the power of the media through deploying various platforms.

“Influence and make the political, policy, legal and community environments more suitable for FP,” he said.

Positing that qualities of a good and effective media AWG is predicated on the passion which he described as critical, even as membership is constituted from diverse team who are truly and genuinely committed to FP and willing to push for a change in that direction.
In her acceptance speech, the FPMAWG chairperson, Mrs Chioma Umeha assured stakeholders that her team will be up and doing in contributing their quotas to improved family planning in the country and solicited for support and understanding of all, especially the international partners.

Chuks Egbune/GEE

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Pix: A cross session of stakeholders at the inaugural meeting.

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