The difference that an informed, analytical press corps can make to the climate adaptation agenda in Africa is enormous. Citizens need to be informed about threats to their country’s progress that could constrain prospects for a better future. Moreover, the effectiveness of efforts by governments across Africa to strengthen the resilience of their countries to such threats—both climate and non-climate in origin—can depend on how well the population is informed and engaged.
The AAP’s Media Capacity Building Project (MCBP) was created to increase the capacity of African journalists and the wider media community across the 20 participating countries to understand and report on climate change, thereby fostering an increase in the quantity and quality of climate change-related coverage.
From its base in Nairobi, the MCBP supported the professional development of journalists through trainings that built the skills and knowledge of media professionals across the continent. The direct purpose of the MCBP was to equip each individual participant to overcome obstacles in their coverage of the climate change story, whether by improving their knowledge of climate science, building their skills to provide audiences with context and analysis, informing their understanding of climate change as a cross-sectoral threat rather than merely an environmental issue, or in exploring ways to tell the story with fresh human interest angles that will appeal to editors.
Through four regional workshops, 20 national workshops and a final ‘training of trainers’ workshop more than 420 print, broadcast and web-based journalists from across Africa were trained by the MCBP. First, four MCBP Team Leaders were recruited from different regions. Next, the four regional workshops were held, each hosted by a Team Leader and attended by key participants from five countries. Following the regional workshops, national workshops were rolled out in every AAP country; these were led by the participants who had taken part in the regional workshops. Finally, a ‘training-of-trainers’ workshop was held with one standout participant from every country—these journalists were taught how to continue efforts to advance climate-related reporting in their home countries. Overall, the scaling-up approach employed by the MCBP was designed to enable sustainability of climate journalism teaching after the close of the MCBP.
The outcome of the MCBP for each participating journalist was to equip them with the facts and skills needed to identify and report on climate-related issues effectively. But the overall outcome of the Project was something much greater: enhanced capacity of the media in every AAP country to investigate, interpret and report on the intersection of climate change and development, and the prospect of better-informed public debate and policy making as a result.
The MCBP’s Media Resources Directory provides a compilation of freely accessible materials to support African journalists reporting on climate-related issues.