With the year just half over, Internews’ Earth Journalism Network (EJN) has already trained 33 journalists from different countries of Africa at workshops that tackled the main environmental challenges faced by the continent.
The trainings, which took place in Yaoundé, Cameroon and Lusaka, Zambia in April and May, aimed at improving the quality and quantity of the regional environmental coverage. Sessions with experts and policy makers were undertaken along with practices on data literacy and geojournalism.
The Cameroon workshop focused on reporting deforestation in Central Africa, bringing together 22 journalists from the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, and Republic of Congo, along with participants from the host country. The program was part of the InfoCongo geojournalism project, a 5 year initiative by EJN for the Central African region.
Launched in 2015 in partnership with the University of Maryland and support of USAID, InfoCongo has been using satellite data and a pool of local reporters to cover the threats to one of the largest rainforest ecosystems on the planet.
In Zambia, 11 journalists attended the 51st Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank, where energy access and climate change were the main topics covered. During the program, the participants have the opportunity to cover high-level sessions with chief-of-states, and had an exclusive interview with the CEO of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), Naoko Ishi.
Maureen Odiwuor, a 30-year-old fellow from the Kenyan newspaper The Standard, is one such reporter dedicated to the climate change beat. She says she applied to the training to improve her knowledge of adaptation issues and the impacts of extreme events in Africa. “The training helped to enhance my capabilities to cover climate change.” she said. “I have been thinking on doing a master on the subject and I feel this program was a step on the way to accomplish this desire.”