By Andrew Kaggwa, NECJOGHA, Kampala
Participants have lauded the Network of Climate Journalists of the Greater Horn of Africa (NECJOGHA) for organizing the first ever international virtual climate café.
The theme of the climate café which took place on Tuesday, August 25th, 2020 was “Achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through climate information communication and application.” It was attended by 82 participants from, UK, Canada, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia and South Sudan.
Seven experts in the field of climate science and communication made presentations. These were Paul Arkwright the UK Climate Envoy in Sub Saharan Africa who gave the keynote address; Dr. Bruhan Nyenzi, the Managing Director, Climate Consult Ltd; Dr. Richard Graham of UK Met Office and Dr. Ernest Afiesimama the Regional Programme Manager World Meteorological Organisation, Regional Office Ethiopia.
Others were Christian Ledwell, Manager NAP Global Network; Gideon Galu FEWSNET Regional Scientist, Dr. Gilbert Ouma, Senior Lecturer, Department of Meteorology, University of Nairobi and Patrick Luganda, the Executive Director of NECJOGHA.
“The Climate café was so interesting with great presentations,” said Aimable Twahirwa from Rwanda.
“Thanks a lot NECJOGHA for organizing. Great lessons and lessons picked,” said Jonathan Driliga, a radio journalist from Uganda.
“Wow that was really great,” Judith Dorah Akol from Kenya exclaimed.
A Climate cafe is a public discourse on the weather, climate and climate services especially climate forecasting services with end user interaction. It brings together various stakeholders in climate related sectors including climate scientists, the media, climate related sector experts including academia, farmers, fishermen, livestock keepers and energy sector experts for vibrant exchange of information. The use of climate information as an early warning and decision-making tool is discussed from various perspectives with a view to generating feedback for better climate services delivery.
The Executive Director of NECJOGHA, Patrick Luganda said the virtual café was a very exciting development because it shows NECJOGHA has matured to a level where it can engage the international community.
“Our handling of SDGs and how we can use climate information is deviant from what we have been talking about reporting only about whether it’s going to rain or not but we have matured to a point of noting things which are relevant beyond just how to report,” Luganda said.
He emphasized that hundreds of journalists know how to report about the weather but very few can extend that beyond just reporting about the weather.
“We need to digress out like for the SDGs, they are very crucial to humankind. We are now providing a platform for discussion of any sector within any economy in the world with a development paradigm,” he further noted.
He said NECJOGHA was happy to have world class presenters at the café from international organisations and countries like UK and Canada.
Luganda, however, said to do all this NECJOGHA needs financial, technical and human resource support and he was optimistic that because of the relevance of the work they are doing this will happen.
This cafe was supported by the British High Commission in Kenya, Met Office, Africa Farmers Media Centre and WISER Programme and the Network of Climate Journalists of the Greater Horn of Africa (NECJOGHA)