Tuesday, June 24, 2014

PACJA launches climate change academy

A cross section of the first TAAFA fellows--pic courtesy of Atayi Babs

Sellina Nkowani, in Nairobi Kenya

The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) has launched Media academy for African Journalists reporting on Climate Change and environmental issues dubbed "The ACCER Awards Finalists Academy (TAAFA).

The launch of the academy took place at Milele Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya. The first bunch of TAAFA fellows are the 21 African Journalists who have been shortlisted from 309 entries received from across Africa.

The Secretary General for PACJA Mithika Mwenda, said that as part of the recommendations of the 2013 Judging Panel, they have redesigned the training and capacity building programmes to ensure that it does not end as an event but as 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.

In their report during the inaugural edition of ACCER Awards in June last year, judges 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.

Terming the levels of writing sometimes worrying, the judges recommended the need for more deliberate and proactive education of journalists on environmental policies and global standpoints. It was also the view of judges that media houses and other stakeholders consider to take the in-house training programmes a lot more seriously.

Mwenda explained that the training workshop and other reward-motivation initiatives, including ACCER Award Scheme as well as sponsorship of selected journalists to international forums such as Conference of Parties (COP), 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 Africa.

“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 offering recognized certificates beyond “participation acknowledgement”. A curriculum suitable for the training is being developed.

Participation in the fellowship is through submission of entries to the ACCER awards and those selected as finalists automatically qualify to attend the academy.