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VOA To Open New Kano Reporting Center, Host Reporting Workshop for Female Journalists

Officials from VOA, USAID and the Kano government are expected to attend the Feb. 16 ceremony.

Kano, Nigeria, February 7, 2005 – The Voice of America, which reaches listeners in northern Nigeria through its Hausa language service, is officially launching a new Kano Reporting Center (KRC) in conjunction with a health reporting workshop for women journalists.

The KRC, funded through an agreement with the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Nigeria mission, is a digital broadcasting facility that allows VOA’s Hausa Service to broadcast a weekly, health-oriented youth radio program, Karamin Sani Kukumi Ne (Little Knowledge is a Danger), from the largest city in the region. Reporters can also file news and information from the KRC with state-of-the-art equipment.

The KRC will be opened officially at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Feb. 16, 2005. Officials from VOA, USAID and the Kano government are expected to attend.

"We’re very excited about this new center, which will help us provide important and timely information about health issues and other topics to our Hausa-speaking audiences," said David S. Jackson, the VOA director. "We want the KRC to be a beehive of activity – for both broadcasting and training."

The official opening coincides with a workshop for female journalists focusing on health, including HIV/AIDS, polio, tuberculosis, leprosy, malaria and other epidemics. More than a dozen Nigerian women journalists are participating in the workshop. Doctors and health officials will brief the journalists at the workshop in sessions which will also feature practical advice on issues such as finding the human angle and myths and misconceptions about reporting disease.

Among the trainers are Hajia Bilkisu Yusuf, a leading journalist and the president of the Federation of Muslim Women Association in Nigeria; Akin Jimoh, program director for Development Communications Network and Cece Fadope, country coordinator for Internews. Also present will be Sunday Dare, chief of VOA’s Hausa Service.

Under an Inter-Agency Agreement, USAID/Nigeria provided VOA/IBB (through its parent agency, the Broadcasting Board of Governors) $310,000 in FY 2003-2004 to support health and educational programming for VOA’s Hausa service. Besides the KRC, the VOA has conducted reporting on numerous health issues, including HIV/AIDS and polio, and conducted call-in programs and general health forums.

VOA’s Hausa Service, which began in 1979, has a strong presence in northern Nigeria where millions of people listen to the program weekly. Some 50 million people, predominantly in Nigeria but also in Niger, Ghana and Cameroon, speak Hausa. The service broadcasts 90 minutes daily, Monday through Friday, and one-hour on Saturdays and Sundays.

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts more than 1,000 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 100 million people. Programs are produced in 44 languages, including English.