IPS capacity building empowers journalists

IPS training experiences are intended to hone the professional skills of participants, deepen their knowledge and networks and to contribute to transformational change by providing new frames of reference. Training is seen not just as an event but as a process, so IPS trainings encompass customized preparation by the trainers, the physical event and follow-up.

As part of many of its larger training programs IPS prepares and distributes training manual, tools and guidelines on important development issues for journalists, media houses and experts. IPS is keen to move from static online training resources to a more interactive offering.

IPS training capacity is situated alongside the work of the IPS daily news agency, ensuring that the training is grounded and immediately relevant

to or connected with working journalists. On occasion the trainees have the opportunity to pitch to editors in the news agency during and after their training experience.

IPS capacity-building programmes count on a worldwide group of tested senior journalist-trainers, academics, experts and civil society managers from developing countries. They work in English, Spanish and French but also in Arabic, Bahasa, Bengali, Chinese, Dari-Farsi, German, Hindi, Italian, Mandarin, Pashto, Filipino, Portuguese, Punjabi, Sinhalese, Spanish, Swahili, Tamil, Thai, Urdu, Vietnamese and Wolof. IPS adopts the “from within” perspective, implemented above all with regional and local training resources.

IPS experience and examples

In the 1970s and 1980s IPS started helping national news agencies to professionalize, notably in emergent democracies in Africa and Latin America and through its work in Afghanistan over the past many years, IPS has consolidated its track record in media development.

IPS is on the roster of pre-approved communication training organisations for UNDP globally.

Current and past funders and partners in IPS capacity-building programmes include UN Foundation, UNDP, UNFPA, UN Women, UNDEF, IFAD, the World Bank, NORAD, AECID, the EU, ASEAN, GTZ, DGIS, DFID-ODI, FARNPAN, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, Thomson Reuters Foundation and other organisations tackling key development concerns.

The programmes are focused on issues like small farmers and food security, water, human rights and democratization, bio-diversity, population, governance, elections, press freedom and sustainable development and gender.

The modalities of the capacity building are customized to the target group but typically can include physical workshops and seminars, field visits, distance learning and on-the-job training. Furthermore IPS has developed a “train the journalist – train the source” methodology for experts and journalists to be trained in parallel on a specific theme, and then brought together for joint final training and networking.

Project Labonno: Empowering Girls through Menstrual Hygiene Education

The goal of ‘Labonno’ is to create sustainable female hygiene solutions as a human rights imperative for the women of Bangladesh. A local initiative on menstrual hygiene management, the project was launched in Mithapukur of Rangpur district in Bangladesh. A high number of young girls miss or drop out from school during their menstruation period as they do not know nor have the means to manage this personal hygiene issue each month.

‘Labonno’ is distributing menstrual period care packages of sanitary napkins to hundreds of women in Mithapukur. The project aims to be self-sustaining within a time frame of five years. Labonno’s vision is for Mithapukur to be free from the vicious cycle of poor hygiene and education for young girls and women and lead the way for replication throughout Bangladesh.

The Inter Press Service IPS and its South Asia representative in collaboration with Bangladesh News Network have undertaken a five-day training and capacity building workshop in Mithapukur to train over 100 young women, teachers, including male teachers on sustainable solutions to female hygiene management in the area.
The workshop will train 25 participants (selected women teachers) each day for four consecutive days. The fifth and final day will be a day-long interactive session with 25 girl students to make them aware about these issues. The participants will be encouraged to share their experiences and lessons from this workshop with other young women in the area and help disseminate information on their sexual, reproductive and maternal health while also emphasizing the importance of staying in education.

The workshop will be conducted by a set of experienced national trainers and health experts. National and local media will be invited to attend the workshop so that they are able to understand, analyze and amplify messages for replication countrywide. The media will have an opportunity to conduct first hand interviews with participants of the ‘Labonno’ project, young girls, women, mothers, parents, communities, medical professionals and local NGOs. Additionally, news reports on the workshop and the ‘Labonno’ project will be featured by IPS using Bangladeshi journalists to file the reports.

The project 'Labonno' was initiated in Mithapukur by HN Ashequr Rahman, Member of Parliament and Chairman of the Standing Committee, Ministry of Public Administration, Bangladesh Parliament. Credit:  News Network

The project ‘Labonno’ was initiated in Mithapukur by HN Ashequr Rahman, Member of Parliament and Chairman of the Standing Committee, Ministry of Public Administration, Bangladesh Parliament. Credit: News Network

Shahiduzzaman, IPS South Asia Representative and head of Bangladesh News Network at the training and capacity building workshop of young girls and women from 'Labonno' project. Credit:  News Network

Shahiduzzaman, IPS South Asia Representative and head of Bangladesh News Network at the training and capacity building workshop of young girls and women from ‘Labonno’ project. Credit: News Network

A large section of people from the Mithapukur region, over 300 people, young girls and women, female and male teachers and local and national media attended the 'Labonno' project training and capacity building workshop. Credit:  News Network

A large section of people from the Mithapukur region, over 300 people, young girls and women, female and male teachers and local and national media attended the ‘Labonno’ project training and capacity building workshop. Credit: News Network


Capacity Building Workshops: Reporting on the SDGs across three continents

In 2016, supported by the United Nations Foundation, IPS Inter Press Service organized four media capacity building workshops across three continents. The main goal of the workshops, held in Stockholm, Bonn, Quito and Dhaka was to equip journalists in different regions with the information and tools required to understand and file substantive reports related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), its processes, content, thematic thrusts, targets and indicators of the 2030 agenda. At the end of each workshop, those who attended filed news reports, feature articles or op-ed pieces on the wide-range of issues discussed during the workshops.

The Stockholm workshop held in collaboration with Forum Syd, focused on “Can the SDGs deliver global development? Can the media report on SDGs in an engaging way? And why should we?” IPS associated trainers and senior journalists Nick Kotch, and Thalif Deen guided the workshop that also covered Sweden’s plans for defining its own national agenda for 2030 and positioning itself as a global leader in the process of achieving the SDGs. There was specific focus during the workshop on water, climate change and the environment; Africa’s challenges; sustainable development; the role of the country’s strong NGOs; and private sector involvement. Of the many articles that resulted from the workshop, two were awarded by a panel of judges as the best of.

The Bonn workshop had as a theme “Working Together – Can the SDGs deliver global development? Why and how should the media report on the SDGs in an engaging way?” The workshop covered issues such as the challenges of reporting about SDGs and the diverse perspectives from richer and poorer nations, the expanding role of the UN in the City of Bonn, Germany and its ambition to be the world body’s main center for policy-making on sustainability issues, the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), gender targets and disparities. The workshop, attended by 60 participants young journalists from print and electronic media, journalism students, UN staff, UN volunteers and graduate students. In addition to the two IPS trainers who conducted the Stockholm workshop, Chief Digital Officer for IPS also participated in the Bonn workshop interacting with participants on social media tools and techniques. The workshop generated a number of reports on the SDGs, of which two were awarded as the best articles resulting from the workshop training.

The capacity building workshop in Quito was themed “Including SDGs in the Journalism Agenda Focus on Habitat III: Sustainable Cities.” The main goal of the workshop was to discuss how to include the SDGs in the journalism agenda, the outcome of Habitat III and the importance in particular of Goal 11 of the SDGs, Sustainable Cities and Communities. Subjects covered included impact on Latin American cities, waste management, the relevance of nutrition, women’s involvement in the SDGs and the role of social organizations in the global agenda. The workshop also included a field visit to Project El Derecho a la Vivienda – San Juan Bosco del Itchimbia, near Quito. Attended by 36 journalists, notable speakers included Renán de la Torre, General Coordinator of the Fundación Centro Intercultural de Desarrollo Alternativo Sisa Quilla, and Fernando Carrión, General Coordinator of Flasco. Of several, two articles written by the participants were chosen as best reports emerging from the workshop.

The capacity building workshop in Dhaka focused on ”Working Together: Why and How Should the Media Report on the SDGs?” During the training session, various topics discussed included how to define development; challenges of SDGs in the context of South Asia; gender; and environment. Key speakers at the Dhaka workshop included, among others, Abul Maal A Muhith, the Finance Minister of Bangladesh; Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman of the Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF); and Robert D. Watkins, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Bangladesh. A large number of reports in Bangla and English were filed by those who attended the training.



Seated, from left to right: Nicholas Kotch, Lead trainer, Dr Kholiquzzaman, Chairman Palli Karma Sahayak Samity (PKSF), Farhana Haque Rahman, Director General IPS, Mr Abul Maal A Muhith, Finance Minister of Bangladesh, Mr Shahiduzzaman, Senior Advisor and IPS representative South Asia, Mr Robert Watkins, UN Representative and UNDP Resident Coordinator


Journalism and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG): Working Together – Workshop in Bonn: October 25-26



Workshop in Stockholm: October 20-21


Workshop in Quito: October 27-28


Communicating for Change: Rural Transformation knowledge sharing workshop in Dhaka, Bangladesh

A multi-stakeholder knowledge-sharing meeting titled “Communicating for Development: Rural Transformation,” led by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) was held in Dhaka involving project managers of the sic ongoing projects supported by IFAD in the country. The aim of the workshop was to create an opportunity for the project managers to interact, review communication and knowledge-sharing practices by and between the six rural development projects, identify loopholes in knowledge-sharing and in liaison with local stakeholders, partners and media experts choose or select the best communication tools. The workshop was moderated by IPS associated international trainer and moderator Nicholas Kotch and Associate Professor at Dhaka University, Shameem Reza. Professor Dr. Abul Barkat, of the Department of Economics of Dhaka University was the main presenter of the day.

All the participants, 46 in total were connected with one or more of ongoing IFAD supported projects in Bangladesh. In groups, the workshop participants discussed methods of improving communication between their projects. The key messages that resulted from these discussions are 1. Disseminate information about production-oriented technologies; 2. Combine financial services with technological support for poverty reduction; and 3. Encourage participation by local representatives. Ultimately, workshop participants produced four recommendations on how to improve communication and between the six IFAD projects: 1. a fully-fledged communication workshop with practical exercises and field work; 2. strengthening internal communication between projects; 3. IPS to play as lead communication partner as it has knowledge and understanding from the ground up and able to engage and train national media to understand the impact and purpose of the six projects; and 4. developing a digital information hub for sharing and distributing communication and information.