Thursday, January 26, 2012

Gambia: Journalists honed to get it right on climate change reporting

Participants and Facilitators: Pix by M.E. Njie
Twenty-five Gambian journalists recently concluded a training course on “Climate Change Facts, Communication and Strategies for Adaptation”.

The training was intended to serve as an appropriate platform for local journalists discuss, learn and share good practices about climate change, its effects, adaptations methods and their roles in climate change education, communication and public access to information.

The training, conducted (January 23-25, 2012)  by a local agency, Global Unification The Gambia (GU) in cooperation with the Gambia Press Union(GPU), and funded by Action aid-The Gambia (AATG), was held at Tendaba, a small settlement in the Kiang District, Lower River Region, situated approximately 170 kilometers east of the capital, Banjul.

In Gambia, most local communities are in the climate frontline, struggling daily to adapt to a gradual changing environment. However, most of these communities are information and skills-starved to understand the causes and effect or adapt to climate change.

“Climate change is increasingly becoming a pressing issue and the GPU is indeed delighted to be associated with this training,” the 1st Vice President of the GPU, Baboucarr Ceesay said, while noting the “majority of Gambian journalists are generalists and do not focus on specific issues like climate change”.

He charged journalists to transform the information gathered into knowledge to better disseminate climate change and related issues to the public.

The national coordinator of GU, Ebrima S. Dem described climate change as a global problem affecting Africans more since the change in rainfall patterns is affecting food security on the continent.

Though Africans contribute less to global emissions of carbon dioxide compared to the industrialized West and China, he lamented poor communication have contributed immensely to the lack of knowledge for causes, impact and adaptation at community levels.

“The media is recognised as one of the key pillars of getting this information to the public. However, the work of the media to this effect is limited as they have little knowledge on climate change issues,” he argued.

“Development cannot move without data and the flow of information, hence it is fitting to capacities journalists on climate change,” argues Lamin Nyangado, Policy and Advocacy Manager AATG. “What we hope to achieve is to enable ourselves
Understand the perception of climate change and be able to communicate it to the public.”

The training also attracted international participants and facilitators from the Netherlands, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa and was held under the theme: “Strengthening media capacity on climate change communication in The Gambia”.

Journalists were introduced in-depth on the Science of Climate Change;;  Information Communication Technology and Media Participation on Climate Change information Access; Climate Change Education, Health and Gender; Forestry Management and Energy Efficiency; and Politics of Climate Change Negotiation at the level of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Author: Modou S. Joof

Twitter  (@Msjoof)


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