The participants of the PIR training FF provided said their understanding towards the issues related to public interest has broadened. FF had conducted the 5-day ‘Public Interest Reporting (PIR)’ training to 33 mid-career journalists from the 14 earthquakes affected districts. The training was focused on the issue of public concern on post- quake reconstruction and the rehabilitation.

They learned the skills of using Right to Information, Data Journalism, Public Expenditure Tracking Survey- (PETS), Follow the Money and other public finance monitoring tools of the investigative reporting. They shared that their understanding about RTI and data journalism was enhanced with the training and follow up. Reporter with the Nagarik daily from Sindhupalchowk district observed, “FF could also prepare a manual on PIR training, so that others could replicate it. The training was so helpful that it encouraged us to search more issues relating to the post disaster, rehabilitation, transparency in the activities carried out for the rehabilitation and reconstruction.”

After the completion of the respective trainings, FF provided fellowships to the PIR trained 13 journalists for writing reconstruction and accountability related stories. Fellow journalists were selected based on defined selection standard such as class performance and activeness, gravity of proposed issues and commitment. After conducting two rounds of trainings, fellowship and review meetings, the PIR trained journalists are now able to write stories accommodating all the points they learn in news stories. The stories they brought are expected to exert greater influence in policy to field level. Such influence of those published stories has further inspired them to initiate a ‘Public Interest Journalists’ Group’ (PIJG) as a group which will lead in bringing to fore the burning issues not only of reconstruction but also of all spheres of social life. This initiative was facilitated and coordinated by FF.

PIJG formed
The PIJG formed after the review meeting made the following decisions:
i. To enlist all the participants of PIR training as a member of the group
ii. To facilitate a secretariat at FF office and look after the office management
iii. The future work of this group (PIJG) will focus on:
o Enhance the skills and knowledge of PIR;
o Discuss different new themes of PIR;
o Engage in other areas in addition to the theme of reconstruction, i.e. corruption and transparency issues at local government, financial aspects of reconstructions, extraction of natural resources at local level, trafficking, migration etc.

The PIJG has a 13-member Ad-hoc Committee.
Ad-hoc Committee:
1) Purna Prasad Mishra, Coordinator (Kathmandu)
2) Shiva Upreti, Deputy Coordinator (Gorkha)
3) Durga Acharya ,General Secretary (Sindhupalchowk)
4) Nagendra Adhikari, Secretary (Kavre)
Ad-hoc Members
5) Jeeban Sharma (Okhaldhunga)
6) Kishor Budhathoki (Sindhupalchowk)
7) Dhurba Dangal (Sindhupalchowk)
8) Rama Luitel (Bhaktapur)
9) Shaktimaya Tamang (Nuwakot)
10)Shivahari Ghimire (Lalitpur)
11)Anil Bhandari (Sindhuli)
12)Pushkar Thapa (Sindhuli)
13)Aditya Dahal (Bhaktapur)
Other Members:
14)Ramhari Neupane (Nuwakot)
15)Shiva Silwal (Dhading)
16)Murari Adhikari (Dhading)
17)Poshnath Adhikari (Dhading)
18)Krishna Sharma (Kathmandu)
19)Suranjan Ghimire (Bhaktapur)
20)Kiran Lohani (Gorkha)
21)Krishna Thapa (Rasuwa)
22)Anu Acharya (Rasuwa)
23)Namaraj Subedi (Nuwakot)
24)Raju Mitra Khanal (Nuwakot)
25)Dev Chandra Bhatta (Nuwakot)
26)Nabaraj Chhatkuli (Dhading)
27)Raj Kumar Parajuli (Kavre)
28)MP Sharma (Makwanpur)
29)Shreejana Nepal (Makwanpur)
30)Manvi Baniya (Makwanpur)
31)Deepak Ghimire (Ramechhap)
32)Saroj Subedi (Ramechhap)
33)Jeevan Lama, (Dolakha)
34)Kiran Thapa (Sindhupalchowk)
35)Yubaraj Puri (Sindhupalchowk)
36) Shiva Devkota (Nuwakot)
37)Bhawana Poddar (Office Secretariat, FF))

Moreover, FF has been a constant support and facilitated the PIR journalists in identifying the issues and use of PIRT tools via different media outlets.