By David Luganda Nsiyonna
Climate change is a pressing challenge facing humanity today, and the Greater Horn of Africa is no exception. Extreme weather events, such as droughts, floods, and heatwaves, have severe impacts on food security, water availability, and public health in the region. To address the impacts of climate change, all stakeholders must work together, including governments, civil society, the private sector, and the media.
The Network of Climate Journalists of the Greater Horn of Africa (NECJOGHA) has been at the forefront of training journalists in the region on how to report on climate change and its impacts. NECJOGHA has organized numerous training workshops, forums, and capacity-building programs for journalists to enhance their knowledge and skills on climate change reporting. This has resulted in the production of high-quality and impactful climate change stories that have raised awareness, stimulated public debate, and informed policy decisions at all levels.
NECJOGHA has also played a critical role in bridging the gap between scientists and the media in communicating climate services to end-users in the Greater Horn of Africa. Through partnerships with climate research institutions, NECJOGHA has facilitated the dissemination of climate information, early warning systems, and weather forecasts to vulnerable communities in the region. This has enabled communities to prepare for and respond to climate-related hazards, reducing the impacts of climate change on their livelihoods and wellbeing.
Under the Weather Wise Project in partnership with BBC Media Action, NECJOGHA and its network of climate journalists were trained to produce high-quality, practical, informative, and contextually relevant media outputs on climate and weather information. The Weather Wise Project aimed to increase knowledge and access to practical, relevant, trusted, and timely climate and weather information among 400,000 general audiences and promote more informed decision-making and actions that contribute towards increased resilience.
Furthermore, under the Strengthening Climate Information Partnerships – East Africa (SCIPEA project), NECJOGHA and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development’s Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) piloted a regional climate education and communications service. Workshops for practicing media journalists and communications officers of the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services were held, including interactive sessions with climate scientists on climate science basics. A new ‘climate cafe’ concept was also trialed in Uganda as a platform for journalist training and communication of the forecasts and updates to end-users.
The media has a vital role to play in promoting resilience to climate change in the Greater Horn of Africa. By providing accurate and timely information on climate change and its impacts, the media can help to raise awareness, stimulate public debate, and promote behavior change towards sustainable practices. NECJOGHA has been instrumental in equipping journalists with the knowledge and skills necessary to report effectively on climate change, and in bridging the gap between scientists and the media in communicating climate services to end-users in the region.
In conclusion, concerted efforts are needed to build resilience and promote sustainable development in the face of climate change. By working together, all stakeholders can build a more resilient and sustainable future for the people of the Greater Horn of Africa. NECJOGHA, through its training programs and partnerships, has demonstrated the critical role the media can play in this effort. The organization has bridged the gap between scientists and the media and equipped journalists with the necessary tools to communicate effectively about climate services to end-users in the region.
Moving forward, NECJOGHA and its partners will continue to play a critical role in building resilience to climate change in the Greater Horn of Africa. Here are some of the next steps:
- Strengthen partnerships: NECJOGHA will continue to strengthen partnerships with climate research institutions, national meteorological agencies, ICPAC, and other relevant stakeholders to facilitate the dissemination of climate information and early warning systems to vulnerable communities in the region.
- Expand capacity-building programs: NECJOGHA will continue to organize training workshops, climate cafes , forums, and capacity-building programs for journalists to enhance their knowledge and skills on climate change reporting. This will ensure that more journalists are equipped with the skills necessary to report effectively on climate change and its impacts.
- Advocate for policy change: NECJOGHA will continue to advocate for policy change at all levels to promote resilience building and sustainable development in the region. This will involve engaging with policymakers, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders to ensure that climate change is given the attention it deserves in policy formulation and implementation.
- Scale up the use of climate cafes: Following the successful piloting of climate cafes in Uganda under the SCIPEA project, and Weather Wise project in East Africa. NECJOGHA will explore opportunities to scale up the use of this innovative approach to climate change communication in the region.
- Leverage technology: NECJOGHA will explore the use of innovative technologies such as mobile applications, social media, and other digital platforms to enhance the dissemination of climate information and early warning systems to vulnerable communities in the region.
In conclusion, NECJOGHA and its partners have made significant progress in building resilience to climate change in the Greater Horn of Africa. Moving forward, it will be crucial to build on these achievements and continue to work together to promote sustainable development and build a more resilient future for the people of the region.
- United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. (2021). What is Climate Change? Retrieved from https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-kyoto-protocol/what-is-climate-change
- United Nations Environment Programme. (2021). Climate Change in Africa. Retrieved from https://www.unep.org/regions/africa/regional-issues/climate-change-africa
- Network of Climate Journalists of the Greater Horn of Africa. (2021). About Us. Retrieved from https://necjogha.com/about-us/
- BBC Media Action. (2019). Weather Wise Project. Retrieved from https://www.bbc.co.uk/mediaaction/projects/weather-wise
- ICPAC. (2021). SCIPEA Project. Retrieved from https://icpac.net/project/scipea/
- United Nations Development Programme. (2021). Climate Change Adaptation. Retrieved from https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/climate-and-disaster-resilience/climate-adaptation.html
- Climate Action Network. (2021). Role of Media in Climate Change. Retrieved from https://www.climatenetwork.org/publication/role-media-climate-change.