The Kenya Editors’ Guild and the UN-Habitat have committed to collaborating on promoting sustainable urban development goal. The editors held a breakfast meeting with UN-Habitat officials on May 9, 2023, at Sarova Panafric Hotel to discuss urban issues and the role media.
UN-Habitat was concerned that Kenyans did seem to be aware of the organisation’s work in the country. It’s executive director, Maimunah Sharif, pointed out the media’s important role in bridging the gap between the international body and society.
“Media play a very crucial role,” she said. “We need to work closely with the media to help us disseminate the work that we are doing and also to gain feedback from you on what is needed on the ground.”
Sharif highlighted UN-Habitat’s efforts in Kenya to improve livelihoods particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic where they worked with slum dwellers. She noted the theme of the second United Nations Assembly, A sustainable urban future through inclusive and effective multilaterism: achieving sustainable development goals in times of global crises.
KEG Vice-President Ruth Nesoba spoke about the role of the media in elevating the urban agenda. She emphasised the importance of critical analysis of urban issues, public engagement, and highlighting the work of policy makers. However, she noted that the body needed to provide experts in the field to aid journalists in reporting accurately.
“Whether on research, any current issue, and the trends on matters to do with urban sustainable developments and settlement, if they can make that kind of information available to us, I think it will go a long way in helping journalists to put out more factual and solid evidence-based reporting” Nesoba said.
Further, she asked UN-Habitat to share data on its projects in Kenya to ensure that the information also reach people in the rural areas and suggested a partnership to offer training to build the capacity of journalists and senior editors in reporting urban stories.
The Deputy Director of UN Habitat said that as more people migrated to the cities, it was of great importance to ensure adequate housing, water, sanitation and fulfilling the needs of citizens. According to him, governments need to prepare how they would anticipate these growing cities.