November 2019 – April 2021
Media to help with the climate crisis
Faced with a climate crisis which represents a global issue for the decades ahead, it is critical that African media managers and journalists are made aware of the importance of including environmental issues in their editorial approach in order to warn members of the general public about these issues and provide them with information.
November 2019 – April 2021
CFI’s Dunia project represents a new chapter in its support for East African media coverage of climate issues. This project, which is being implemented in Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda, began in December 2019 with a seminar in Addis Ababa that brought together around 100 African and European media, civil society and scientific research professionals. Discussion groups provided an opportunity to share experiences and debate topics such as adaptation issues, the aspect of “gender” in climate change, and links between the scientific and media communities.
In 2020, the agency adapted to the travel restrictions imposed due to the health crisis by suggesting that some 30 journalists from 14 media outlets carry out activities remotely. These webinars on the impact of climate change on human health, women’s empowerment or city planning will help those journalists to “popularise” these topics, i.e. make them understandable to the general public when they are covered in news reports or programmes. The journalists were also trained in scientific fact-checking, to debunk misleading information linked to climate scepticism, and in solutions journalism, to go beyond merely describing the problems and instead investigate the potential solutions, including through citizens’ initiatives.
Dunia is an innovative project that promotes global media responses to environmental issues by making it possible for efforts to be pooled between media organisations, researchers and those civil society organisations (CSOs) that are committed to endorsing compliance with the recommendations proposed by the Convention on Biological Diversity. A Dunia workshop held in December 2020 in a town in Kwalé County, a region of Kenya where mangrove forests grow, brought together a dozen journalists, local community representatives and researchers from the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI), the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD), and the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD).
The workshop’s attendees discussed the impact of climate change on biodiversity and agriculture, and also discussed respect for the way of life in mangrove-based communities and how to improve this way of life. At the end of the event, which was organised to recognise the 5th anniversary of the COP 21 Paris Agreement, the journalists visited the mangrove in Gazi, where they witnessed the effects of climate change on biodiversity first hand and then produced reports to raise public awareness of a major challenge to overcome, if humans are to thrive alongside nature.
I often interact with researchers in my line of work as a science journalist. But it is rarer to interact with researchers and local communities in tandem. This workshop has given me lots of ideas for reports. I can’t wait to get to work! »
Sharon Onyango (Science Africa)