A dozen journalists from seven African countries gathered in Dar es Salaam to share their experiences of field reporting in African tropical forests. This two-day meeting, which took place on June 22-23, was organized by the Rainforest Journalism Fund (RJF) to help media professionals learn more about their role in protecting forests. During the workshop, the participants were informed of the prerequisites to be met in order to benefit from grants from this fund, as well as on the use of data and maps in reporting on tropical forests.
According to Dethy Salluling, RJF Senior Coordinator, the Rainforest Journalism Fund is one of the main initiatives that support funding for environmental reporting. The face-to-face meeting was organized in Africa to strengthen the capacities of journalists who work in this field, allow them to create networks, and have access to funding to produce good reporting on forests in Congo Basin.
The workshop inspired journalists through the work of their colleagues who have managed to influence political decisions and the involvement of different stakeholders in certain African countries. Journalists were encouraged to maintain the network and contact between them to create a strong synergy around the preservation of tropical forests across Africa.
According to Augustine Kasambule, RJF coordinator in the Congo Basin, the journalists who participated in this workshop are all professionals, and they are expected to put into practice everything they have learned and submit and apply to the Rainforest Journalist fund.
For John Chikomo, coordinator of the network of environmental journalists in Tanzania, this working session was a good opportunity to strengthen the capacities of African journalists who have started environmental journalism but still need new knowledge and new opportunities.
The participants were able to get a clear idea of the procedures for applying for grants for field reports from the RJF, and David Owino, executive secretary of DIRAJ, a network of journalists who deal with issues of climate change and the prevention of natural disasters, informed the group that it was an opportunity for them to start a reporting project.
It should also be noted that this regional meeting follows the one organized in Kinshasa and Yaoundé and various webinars organized for RJF grant recipients.