A group of women and children dressed in colorful clothing stand outside.

Media Workshop in Bangladesh Highlights Struggles Faced by Fishing Boat Communities

April 19, 2019
Reporters hear first-hand from community representatives about the effects of rising seas, changing weather patterns and river erosion.

In early March, the Earth Journalism Network’s Bay of Bengal Project partnered with the rights-based research and advocacy organization VOICE to host a media workshop in Bhola, Bangladesh, focused on climate change and its impact on marginalized communities.

Twelve reporters from around the region attended the three-day workshop where they had a chance to hear from experts on environmental reporting, conservation, sociology and creative art. They also met with representatives of communities feeling firsthand the effects of rising seas, changing weather patterns and river erosion.

In addition, Bangladesh-based VOICE helped organize a field trip for participants to a community on the banks of the Meghna River, where residents had taken to residing on boats after losing their homes to flooding caused by erosion. Many of these people have not been recognized as Bangladeshi citizens and have only received their national identification cards in recent years, allowing them to vote and providing them access to public health and education, said Zobaidur Rahman Soeb, a media trainer and regional coordinator for EJN.

A woman sits on the banks of a river. Boats are on the shore and in the river.
One of the workshop participants interviews a member of the fishing boat community in Bhola that has been struggling for rights and recognition from the state. Credit: EJN

Several of the workshop participants later applied for story grants offered through EJN’s Bay of Bengal project aimed at supporting the pursuit of enterprise stories about how communities in the region are dealing with the effects of climate and environmental change.

“This workshop [was] an eye-opener for me, as I have come to know a number of reporting ideas and techniques to write on the issues related to climate change and its huge negative impact on the people,” said Banani Mallick, one of the workshop participants.

For more on the situation in the region, check out this story by Rahman about the displaced fisherfolks’ battle for recognition as sea level rise and river erosion make their lives more precarious. You can read all the stories supported by the Bay of Bengal project at the EJN website.

(Banner photo: During the field visit of the BoB Media Workshop, participants had an opportunity to meet people in fishing boat communities in Bhola and learn how they are facing the impacts of climate change. Credit: EJN)