How training changed our perspectives; journalists share experiences on impact of ILO FAIRWAY project in Nigeria


By Micahel Oche

The ILO FAIRWAY project will wrap up by December of 2023, but journalists in Nigeria say the four-year project has been impactful.

The project, which provided capacity building opportunities for journalists, trade unions and civil society organisations, has led to an improvement on the use of terminologies and framing of news labour migration stories that tend to create awareness around fair recruitment practices in Nigeria.

Though much still needs to be done. However, for many media practitioners in Nigeria, they now have a better understanding of the issues.

“Before the ILO FAIRWAY training, my understanding of labour migration was quite limited. I could not put things in perspective as regards labour migration” says Tersoo Zamber, a journalist with Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria stated.

Tersoo, along with several other journalists is a member of a community of practice set up by the FAIRWAY project. The community also has members of trade unions and CSO groups working around migration.

“But now, following the training, I can put issues on labour migration in better perspectives,” Tersoo says.

He adds that, “As a journalist, with the new understanding I have about the issues, I frame my stories such that those listening to me as per radio, can now understand what is being discussed. By doing so, it will help them make better choices as regards labour migration.”

For many journalists, the training couldn’t have come at a better time, especially with the new wave of the japa syndrome in Nigeria.

Helen Shok, a Senior editor with Voice of Nigeria who has also benefited from the training says before the training she viewed labour migrants from a negative perspective of only those mostly fleeing from hardships.

“I report and write now from the point of knowledge using the right terms to describe situations where necessary,” she said.

Indeed, Labour migrants need the right information to make better choices and journalists with better understanding are now in pole position to offer that information as a result of the training that they have received.

Apollos Christian with the Nigerian Tribune Newspaper says,” There is no doubt that the role of the media is very important in helping labour migrants make better decisions. Through our reportage, we make the public become more aware of laws and treaties and guidelines that concerns labour migration. This FAIRWAY project has helped to build our capacity in a way that we now have a better understanding of many of these laws and guidelines”

“The awareness created by the media around dangerous migration routes has without a doubt helped to reduce the number of young persons that would have taken such dangerous journeys.”

In some instances, the journalists who benefited from the trainings have become the focal points for reporting within their newsrooms, and been active in pushing for an increase in stories on labour migration within their outlet – ensuring that these stories align with international labour standards and best practice in ethical journalism.

“From the training I could see that labour migration is a vast terrain but not many journalists had paid interest to this terrain,” Tersoo adds.

He suggested that in the future, “the training could be spread across for more days. Sometimes, the two days is not enough to dissect the issues. If they can make it in one week. If they can also bring retunees or victims of migration exploitation during training to share their experiences, it will be nice”

Tunde Salma is one of the trainers engaged by the ILO FAIRWAY project to build capacity for journalists. He says he is impressed with the “increasing consciousness with regards to terminologies that several trainings have pointed out to.”

But there are rooms for improvement, he says, adding that “the depth of reportage is still more of routine reporting”

According to him, there are plethoras of issues that journalists can focus on.

“Many of the reports still focus largely on japa of Nigerians abroad. Perhaps, due to the fact that people hardly talk about the benefit of migration at individual level when things are going fine, it is only when things are not going fine that they voice out and media latch on to that to report what may now term as largely negative stories around the issue of irregular migration”

He said further, “If you look at some of the tools that the FAIRWAY program has produced in the last few years, particularly the media tool kit contains resources tools and tips that can aid journalists and it approaches the issue from different thematic areas that can serve as inspiration for journalists. I will advise media practitioners to always consult and read through these resources when developing stories along this subject matter.”

“The training has helped me to have better understanding on remote causes of Labour Migration, regular and irregular migration,” Samuel Adeyinka of Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, adds