Field female journalists from Northern Uganda are promising to put to work skills gained during a one-day training on Climate Change and Environment reporting as they try to shine light on the injustices and opportunities that exist in their region. The fifteen journalists were recently attending a training organized by Female Journalists Forum Uganda (FEMJOF-UGANDA), a not-for-profit media organization based in Gulu city.
Most of the trained journalists have been in the media for about three years and had never had a training on climate change and environment reporting.
“Having been in the field for three years, I had never attended such a training,” says Ms Cahrity Akullu, a journalist with Daily Monitor. She is based in Lira district.
The one-day training that happened from Golden Peace Hotel in Gulu city, Northern Uganda was aimed at equipping the female journalists with skills to better under climate change and environment reporting and be able to apply the knowledge in their work.
Ms. Esther Nakkazi, a trainer and the Founder of Health Journalists Network in Uganda emphasizes the need for proper research and understanding of the subject when planning to pursue in-depth environmental stories. She says the pitch mirrors into ones’ understanding of their story idea.
“Pitching is a craft you need to learn. Do enough research. Go beyond the press releases and do a unique good story. No editor will reject a good story pitch” Ms. Nakkazi accentuates.
Ms. Nakkazi encourages the journalists to embrace reporting on climate change and environment stories since it has more opportunities.
“Do a good environment story and you will be amazed by open doors of opportunities coming your way,” she adds.
Ms. Diana Taremwa Karakire, a trainer and freelance environment journalist told the female journalists to always relate their environment stories with issues in the communities, reflecting on policies in the country. For instance, taking into account how climate change instigates Gender Based Violence-GBV both locally and nationally.
“Ensure you capture different voices when pursuing your story. Be gender sensitive and relate your stories with issues in the communities like GBV, Sexually Reproductive Health, Mental Health, and Education. Tap into solution stories and other broader National agenda,” Ms. Karakire elaborates.
Arthur Owor, Director of Research and Operations at Centre for Africa Research shares the same sentiment with Ms. Karakire on localizing stories.
“Localize your work as a journalist. Get the local perspectives and pay attention to statistics” Mr. Owor says.
According to Mr. Owor, tackling the problem of climate change and environmental violence needs a collective effort of the local communities, the media, politicians and other developmental partners.
Favor FM journalists, Ms. Ajok, promised to empower her colleagues in the newsroom with the knowledge got from the training to help them pursue environment stories.
“The knowledge I got from the training will help us develop and move together as a team, not only for those reporting on environment but also other beats if I go and teach them on how to pitch,” she happily talks about the training.
On the other hand, Ms. Susan Achola, a journalist working with Radio Wango OO appreciated FEMJOF-Uganda for supporting the female journalists in Northern Uganda with skills that will help them do their work professionally.
A recent report by the UN Environment Programme reveals that “Over-exploitation of our natural resources is increasingly leading to environmental degradation and contributing to reduced ecosystem services and disasters. Reduced ecosystem services in turn contribute to poverty.
“As the world strive to address social equity and economic development in the years to come, our awareness and ability to improve the state of the environment and secure environmental sustainability will shape our future.” The State of Environment Report-Uganda reads in part.
With support from WAN-IFRA African Media Grants, FEMJOF-Uganda trained the 15 female journalists who come from different media houses in the districts and cities of Gulu, Lira, Kitgum, Pader, and Agago to be able to come up with well packaged environment stories to offer alternative voices an create awareness and solutions climate change and environmental injustices.