Media academy for African climate change and environment reporters

Maiden TAAFA in session

Maiden TAAFA in session

The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) has launched a media academy for African journalists reporting on climate change and environmental issues.

Dubbed ‘The ACCER Awards Finalists Academy’ (TAAFA), the project builds on PACJA’s objective in its strategic plan 2011 – 2015, which seeks to ensure enhanced and positive media coverage of climate change interventions in African continent.

This is in addition to training workshop and other reward-motivation initiatives, including ACCER Award Scheme as well as sponsorship of selected journalists to international forums.

In their report during the inaugural edition of African Climate Change and Environmental Reporting (ACCER) Awards, the Judging Panel expressed concerns on environmental journalism in Africa, prompting them to declare that there was no entry item that warranted the Best Award due to what they termed as low quality of entries.

As part of the recommendations, the judges charged PACJA that they ‘redesigned the training and capacity building programs, to ensure it does not end as an event but a continuous process that will ensure that they truly build the capacity of journalists in Africa as well as keeping them glued to the climate change and environmental reporting’.

PACJA Secretary General, Mithika Mwenda said TAAFA will not only give impetus to already existing training and reward schemes, but will also ensure sustainability of the capacity building project’.

He said PACJA has sought partnership with institutions offering professional training on journalists, environment, climate science and diplomacy.

‘TAAFA will in the long run be a competitive integrated environmental and sustainable development Centre of excellence in Africa, he noted.

Every year, journalists entering the ACCER Awards competitions will be selected in the preliminary stage, called finalists stage. These will automatically qualify to attend the Academy (TAAFA) which will be held prior to the Awards Gala Night where the Winners would be announced.

In 2013, PACJA hosted a three-day training workshop for environmental and climate change journalists across Africa, whose key outcome was a loose network – Pan African Media Alliance on Climate Change(PAMACC) – which has continued to glue them together after the workshop.

Through a blog, the participants to that workshop have been able to interact on regular basis, share information and expand their outreach to journalists beyond the workshop.

‘Yet, more need to be done to facilitate continuous capacity building which will go beyond events,’ stressed Mithika on the need of the Academy.

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