African Climate Journalists Urged to Collaborate and Tell Positive Stories

A group of over 40 African climate journalists recently completed an extensive training program organized by MESHA in collaboration with Power Shift Africa. The main objective of the program was to equip journalists with the necessary knowledge and skills to effectively report on climate change. The training provided an opportunity for journalists to engage in important discussions about climate change and its impact on the African continent.

One significant topic covered during the training was the decolonization of climate stories. This involves developing an African narrative with a human rights perspective, as traditionally, narratives about Africa and the global south have been told by journalists and scientists who are not from the region.

This lack of connection with the realities on the ground has hindered accurate reporting. The African journalists were encouraged to be at the forefront of advocating for the changes needed to address the challenges faced by citizens across the continent.

Victor Bwire, the Programs Manager of the Media Council of Kenya, emphasized the importance of journalists telling stories with a human face and voice. He stated that people are more likely to engage with stories about individuals they know, events they are familiar with, and experiences they have gone through.

“Taking this approach in reporting on climate change would increase audience engagement,” Bwire added.

The African climate journalists were also urged to collaborate with scientists and researchers to improve the quality of their stories. This collaboration would involve sourcing data from well-researched studies and using the African region as a case study.

Such an approach would contribute to the creation of a solid African narrative that focuses on priority areas like adaptation to climate change, supported by data.

Amy Thorp, a Senior Climate Adaptation and Resilience Policy Advisor, stressed the need for adaptation to be a top priority for Africa, particularly in light of the Africa Climate Summit.

She emphasized the importance of African leaders taking a firm stance that clearly highlights the urgency of Africa’s adaptation needs.

Furthermore, the journalists were reminded of the significance of reporting positive climate change stories from Africa and the opportunities that exist on the continent. Focusing on catastrophes and negative experiences has a profound effect on audiences, as humans tend to block out negative information. Therefore, the call was made to African climate journalists to shift the focus toward reporting positive climate change stories.

Ali Mohamed, the Special Climate Envoy for Kenya, highlighted the paradoxical situation in Africa, where the continent suffers from hunger and malnourishment despite having a vast amount of uncultivated arable land, accounting for 60% of the world’s total. He questioned why this resource has not been fully utilized.

Mohamed Adow, the Director of Power Shift Africa, emphasized the need to bridge the gap between understanding climate change stories and implementing actions necessary for food and energy sovereignty.

African Climate Journalists
Mohamed Adow, the Director of Power Shift Africa

He pointed out that the neglect of investment in food sovereignty has led to the need to import food, which is paid for in dollars. Additionally, Africa’s lack of energy security forces the continent to import oil products, further contributing to the depreciation of African currencies against the dollar.

Even though he stressed the crucial role that the African climate journalists have been bestowed toward shaping the African narrative for both the policymakers and citizens from varied diverse regions.

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