KARACHI, (Pakistan Point News – 23rd May, 2017 ): Mishal Pakistan, the Country Partner Institute of the Global Competitiveness and Benchmarking Network of the World Economic Forum, has launched a media development initiative to build the capacity of the journalists reporting on nutrition in Sindh. An announcement on Tuesday said that the fellowship programme is focusing on enhancing media’s role to act as public watchdog on policy makers. The initiative, `Eliminating Hidden Hunger’ is working with more than 1,200 health journalists across Sindh to improve public perception, opinion and data sets on Nutrition and other related issues contributing to the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2.

It was further stated that Mishal is already working with the Sindh Assembly and its relevant standing committee on Health for `Smart Policy Making’. The cooperation has delivered a high level training initiative for the parliamentarians in Sindh, where the parliamentarians shared their views on the importance of media’s role to shape public policy according to people’s needs and requirements. Dr. Sohrab Sarki, Chairman Standing Committee on Health of the Sindh Assembly said, `We see media as one of the most important players in the Smart Policy making framework, whereby media reflects the grass root realities of citizens’ needs, while making the policy makers accountable to the public for transparency and efficiency.

Media is a crucial partner in knowledge creation and influencing the collective consciousness of the society. We need to bring media on board for Smart Policy making’, the Mashal statement quoted him as saying. Amir Jahangir, Chief Executive Officer of Mishal Pakistan, maintained that the `current state of health in Pakistan is alarming. About 46.8 million people in Pakistan are malnourished. Through this initiative we are prioritizing development agendas by ensuring policy making through data and real time feedback through media.

The programme on Eliminating Hidden Hunger and Malnutrition will improve service delivery to the citizens and contribute further to improving Pakistan’s competitiveness on global footing, while improving accountability through media’. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian High Commission (Australian Aid) reached out to Mishal, earlier this year, to partner and launch a nationwide programme to create knowledge resources on Nutrition challenges in Pakistan.

The program will address the `Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), Goal No. 2 .Zero Hunger’. Nida Karim, Programme Specialist Eliminating Hidden Hunger at Mishal Pakistan, said that the programme focuses on increasing the capacity of media on Sustainable Development Goal no. 2 and enhance media’s role to be more proactive on public scrutiny of the policy makers on issues related to food security, improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture practices.

Through this initiative Mishal is also launching a nutrition specific information management system for the journalists and policy makers’. The initiative will build capacity of other stakeholders for the development and implementation of a multi-sectoral and integrated strategy for awareness raising, addressing general public, institutions, organizations, private sector, decision makers, and communities working on nutrition, health, hygiene and the nexus between malnutrition and other related issues.