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Environment Ministry, GIZ, KEG partner to train journalists on Climate Change reporting

Vihiga County Governor Dr. Wilber Ottichilo has called upon media practitioners to actively play their informing, watchdogs and advocacy roles to build public support in accelerating environmental conservation.

He noted that the world could leverage on the media’s capacity to raise awareness among community members about their environmental challenges and develop local solutions to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

The governor said this in a speech read on his behalf by Mr. Winston Atamba, Vihiga County Director for Climate Change during the Climate Change Reporting and Curriculum Development pre-training workshop held in Kisumu County.

“Use simple words and contextualize the message to the locals when communicating about climate change. It’s imperative to broaden awareness of the impacts of floods, and droughts and do human interest features. Additionally, the messaging should shift from ‘stop doing’ to ‘start doing’ by offering solutions,” Dr. Ottichilo told members of the Fourth Estate.

The Governor decried that increased human activities like deforestation and fossil fuel combustion have derailed the efforts to combat climate change.

“Climate change is happening now, and its detrimental effects are evident within our lifetimes. There is a chance that climate change will accelerate in ways that are not easily predictable and many of the induced changes will be irreversible,” he stated.

Dr. Ottichilo who is the Chairperson of the Council of Governors (COG) on Environment and Climate Change Committee, said that Kenya has committed to finance 13% (Sh1.025 trillion) on climate change mitigation and adaptation actions and seeks to externally mobilize 87% (Sh.6.79 trillion) for the same cause.

The training was organized by the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change in collaboration with the Government of Germany through GIZ and Kenya Editors Guild (KEG) to equip Kisumu-based journalists with the skills and tools needed to report on climate change effectively.

The CEO of Kenya Editors Guild Rosalia Omungo said that the two-days’ workshop was designed to identify gaps in climate change understanding with the primary objective of developing a comprehensive curriculum for training and reporting on the pressing issue.

Omungo underscored the need to improve the reporting standards on climate change to ensure journalists produce factual and balanced stories.

“We have unfortunately witnessed errors in reporting, particularly on television, where footage from the Coast Region has been inadvertently utilized to depict climate change narratives for the Nyanza region. This curriculum aims to ensure sustainable and consistent training methods for journalists, enabling them to report on this issue accurately,” Omungo noted.

Omungo encouraged journalists to leverage on the diverse training programmes provided by various organizations to refine their reporting skills and carve out a niche for themselves in climate change reporting.

Specializing in climate change reporting, she emphasized, has potential benefits of one becoming an outstanding and skilled journalist in that field, thus increasing the chances of securing grants and sponsorship to report on local and global climate summits like the United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP 29).

“As part of the Climate Change media partnership, KEG is looking for partners to support journalists in covering the upcoming COP 29 and will soon extend invitations for journalists to apply for the fellowship. I encourage you to seize the opportunity to receive support to report in person at COP 29,” the CEO told the journalists. The COP 29 will convene in Azerbaijan from November 11-24.

Dr. John Recha, a Scientist at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) during his presentation at the Climate Change Reporting and Curriculum Development pre-training workshop in Kisumu County. The training was attended by news editors, journalists, scientists, academia, and officials from the Civil Society Organizations.

Dr. John Recha, a Scientist, Climate Smart Agriculture and Policy at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) observed that understanding basic science is essential for journalists to break the complex documents and effectively report on climate change issues in an easy-to-understand language.

He underscored the need for collaboration among the stakeholders, including the newsroom leadership, media owners, journalists, learning and research institutions, and government agencies to implement appropriate measures to address the challenges that hampered effective climate change reporting.

However, Dr. Recha challenged the scribes to be at the forefront in highlighting success stories, innovative solutions and policy recommendations to inspire behaviour change and spur further action aimed at mitigating the impacts of climate change in communities.

“Human-driven activities such as burning fossil fuels for electricity generation, manufacturing, transportation, residential and commercial fuel consumption and industrial processes contribute to approximately 65% of Carbon (IV) Oxide emissions, which are significant contributors to climate change,” Dr. Recha noted, emphasizing the role of the media in educating the public about alternative solutions to address the climate crisis.

He reported that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projects that the planet risked experiencing more frequent and intense heat waves, droughts, floods, cyclones and storms by 2050 due to the changing climate.

“These changes will disrupt our ecosystems, impacting plant and animal life, food security, water resources and human health,” Dr. Recha cautioned.

The training was attended by news editors, journalists, scientists, academia and officials from the Civil Society Organizations in Kisumu County.

By Robert Ojwang’



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