30 West African journalists trained in climate change reporting challenges and techniques
The GCCA+ West Africa project in collaboration with the Climate Chance Association organised, on Tuesday 14th September 2021, a training workshop to strengthen the skills of West African journalists regarding climate in the run-up to the 3rd Climate Chance Summit Africa 2021.
“The climate is everyone’s business. Journalists are at the forefront of communicating on climate, relaying the progress made in the West African region and calling on our decision-makers to take more action,” said Laure Kuhn Bruma, coordinator of the GCCA+ West Africa project. She also presented some of the activities of the GCCA+ West Africa project at the heart of the region’s current climate events, including support for the development of the ECOWAS regional climate strategy, and support for international climate negotiations at COP26.
The training was facilitated by Vanessa Laubin, a climate expert at the GCCA+ West Africa project, and by Climate Tracker, an organisation specialising in climate journalism. The first part of the training allowed journalists to learn about the impacts of climate change and its major effects in West Africa.
Making climate change relevant and understandable to all
Secondly, the journalists were trained on digital storytelling, communication to shape behaviour, interview methods, and tools for collecting and processing climate information.
“The challenge of climate change storytelling is to link human stories with scientific data, to provide solutions through journalism. Start with information that people can relate to in everyday life so that you can appeal to them. This requires being in the field to tell stories and propose solutions. This way, people can identify with and take ownership of the climate messages,” stressed Lina Yassin, trainer of the “communication to shape behaviour” module of the training.
“The training has allowed us to understand the art of storytelling and reporting with regards to climate. This is an opportunity to see how we can make climate topics more relevant and attractive to the readers”, explained Zubaida Mabuno Ismail, one of the trainees.
Fostering a pool of climate journalists in West Africa
In addition, one of the aims of this training workshop is to create a group of regional journalists working on climate change issues in order to promote communication on climate action in West Africa. This is therefore a long-term process, which began with a first training workshop in October 2019 in Accra and continues here with the facilitation of the GCCA+ West Africa project. This pool of West African journalists will be fed regularly with regional climate news.