An Adventure in Ethiopia

I’m packing my bags for Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia. I can’t believe I just wrote that sentence and that it’s true.

Like most Americans, I don’t know enough about Africa. What is covered in US media seems like a daily digest of war, famine, corruption and disease.  So why go there?

The International Center for Journalists selected me for an International Family Planning Reporting Fellowship, sponsored by the United Nations Foundation. Along with six other journalists, representing news outlets including the New York Times, CNN, NY Public Radio, Time magazine, Bloomberg, and Kaiser News Service, I’ll be attending the 2013 International Conference on Family Planning. With sponsorship from  the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Federal Ministry of Health of Ethiopia, the event has a lofty goal: improving the quality of life for millions of people by guaranteeing full access to family planning services.

With women from the "volunteer army" spreading the birth control message in rural Ethiopia. Photo courtesy Linda Roth.

With women from the “volunteer army” spreading the birth control message in rural Ethiopia. Photo courtesy Linda Roth.

It’s easy to get caught up in the numbers game. The number of mothers and babies saved, and the number of unwanted pregnancies avoided, are measured in the millions. But it’s hard to get Americans to care, particularly when we’re caught up in our own nation’s debate over who should have access to health care and who should pay for it. I plan on doing some stories for KFI and freelancing articles for other news outlets that might be interested. You can follow my trip on the Terry Anzur Travel Blog, and on Facebook and Twitter @terryanzur.

I anchor weekend news on KFI from the studio and I’m excited to have a chance to get out in the field to do some reporting. I’m also hoping to become a better media trainer. While the core business of Terry Anzur Coaching Services is talent consulting for TV stations, web sites and individuals in the United States, I also try to do at least one international project a year in a developing country or emerging democracy. Earlier this year I taught an election coverage workshop in Maldives, sponsored by the US Embassy in Colombo. Here’s a radio story about the trip to Ethiopia: