By: Auta Silas
For the campaign on educating and enlightening the general public especially in Northern Nigeria on the impact of climate change and the need to take necessary actions at adaptation and mitigation to succeed, collaboration between experts and the media is imperative.
This was noted during a review meeting of the climate change and environment reporting team in Kaduna north west, Nigeria organized by Africa Media Development Foundation, (AMDF).
Journalist participating in the Climate Change Media Action Project in Kaduna met at the AMDF training room on 7th June to assess the journey so far on the project that started in March, 2018.
At the start of the project, a face to face training was held followed by a field trip to Angwan Shanu community in Kaduna metropolis where reports of a refuse dumpsite that has become a threat to the community and passersby were taken in different media.
During the review, one of the participants, Ibrahima Yakubu noted that a trip back to the community reveals that though the dumpsite still remains, the community members are now more aware of the dangers and are becoming more responsible in ensuring refuse is properly dumped pending when authorities come to clear. They are also on the watch against scavengers who set the dump on fire.
Interactions among AMDF team and the participants shows there still remains low knowledge and awareness on climate change in northern Nigeria. There exist very few programmes on climate change on radio stations which is the most effective means of reaching out to the teeming listeners in the region.
Participants also decried a challenge of translating scientific terms to the indigenous languages; hence, those in rural communities do not have access to climate change knowledge. Also the challenge of reaching out to experts especially those in government abounds.
In spite of these challenges and many others that have slowed the process of engaging individuals and communities in taking actions to mitigate and adapt to climate change, the campaign must be driven through.
To this end, the AMDF team and participants resolved to sustain continuous conversation on climate change and also hold government accountable over budget allocation on climate change.
Also needful is the commitment of media executives in dedicating a desk for climate change reports as some participants noted that they have to put in extra efforts to push for such stories to be accommodated and largely because no desk exist for climate change stories.
They also called for collaboration between Experts on climate change, Non Governmental Organizations, CSOs and Media; especially in training journalists to understand scientific and technical terms and translate to the average listener on the street.