By Sharon Atieno

Despite the extreme weather conditions experienced in the African region, coverage of climate change issues by the media remains quite low. It is for this purpose that Canal France International (CFI) is set to launch an 18 month project aimed at improving climate change reporting in East Africa.

Speaking at a journalism training workshop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, CFI Project Manager Anne-Sophie Ricco noted that climate issues remains largely under-exploited by the media.

Ricco speaking at the training workshop

Lack of training and knowledge of journalists; lack of interest by editors; topic being seen as having little relevance to population; too little access to sources and adaptation initiatives as well as limited access to resources, she said, were key contributors to these predisposition.

The project titled Dunia, will run in Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia from 2020-2021 and seeks to strengthen the role of media organizations in awareness-raising on climate change, provide media with tools to cover climate change issues; and promote collaboration and dialogue between media and other stakeholders.

“Journalists will contribute to ensuring that civil society and public decision-makers give greater consideration to the implications and consequences related to the climate emergency and will encourage behavior change among citizens and politicians,” Ricco added.

Journalists at the training workshop

The Dunia project is part of CFI’s “Media and Development” programme, which seeks to encourage media organisations in the Global South to take up development issues, by strengthening the relationship of trust between journalists and civil society.

Almost similar initiatives have been launched by CFI across Africa such as Medias 21 which lasted 18 months covering 10 radios and 6 online media in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Madagascar; as well as Terra Media which featured 10 radio stations in Madagascar.

The Dunia project targets 12 media outlets involved in radio, TV, print and online press from the three countries who will be selected through a call for applications. Training will be carried out on two journalists from each of the media organizations.