Engaging Media Practitioners in the Region

From 22- 23 October 2015, the Global Water Partnership Eastern Africa (GWPEA) conducted a regional workshop themed “ Role of the media in promoting water security, climate resilience and drought risk management”. The workshop was attended by 15 media practitioners from Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Sudan, Ethiopia and Djibouti.

The two-days event took place in Entebbe-Uganda and was organized with the aim of enabling upgrading skills and knowledge of media practitioners on Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) and its application in the region in addressing challenges caused by water insecurity, climate change and drought. Through plenary and group discussions, participants have also shared their experiences and best practices on how they have been covering media releases on water, climate and drought in their respective countries. On the second day of the workshop, participants were taken to the field to visit two important sites – Kigungu landing site and the Wagagai Flower farming on Lake Victoria. The field visit was intended to enable journalists witness challenges related to water resources management in the region and realize the role they can play in advocating for a more integrated management approach for sustaining the water resources and natural ecosystems.

The specific objectives of the workshop were:

a)     Build the capacity of the media in reporting on water, climate and drought management

b)    Allow participants share experiences and best practices on covering that important topic.

c)    Raise awareness and knowledge of IWRM

d)    Create an understanding of mutual roles and responsibilities.

a)    Create a sustainable collaboration between GWPEA and the media.

In order to achieve the above objectives and outcomes, the two-day regional workshop was structured with both knowledge and skills modules/session and conducted in a practical and interactive manner that allowed all participants to engage and contribute during plenary discussions.

On day one, there were a number of knowledge modules aimed at increasing the participants’ understanding and knowledge of a number of topics. These included; an introduction to GWP and its networks; an introduction to climate change and IWRM; a presentation on the GWPEA projects as well as the GWPEA communications strategy.

There were also three skills building sessions with presentations:

  • Using the media to promote water security, climate resilience and drought risk management: How is it done?”
  •  “How IGAD uses media to promote water security, climate change resilience and drought disaster reduction: Experiences and lessons learnt”
  •  Group work assignments to discuss key media issues in the areas of water security; climate change; and drought risk management.

During the group work session, participants were requested to identify 4 key media challenges on the following aspects in the Nile Basin region; and propose ways in which the media can promote these issues.

a)    Water Security

b)    Climate Change resilience

c)    Drought Risk Management

On day two, participants undertook two field visits Kigungu Landing Site on the shores of Lake Victoria, and Wagagai Flower Farm in Entebbe. The purpose of the visits was to enable the participants witness IWRM in action and be able to generate stories to be shared with their respective audiences.

At the end of the workshop, participants recommended to have both knowledge and skills building modules in future training that will ground them with both the skills and knowledge to appreciate the complex issues of climate change and water security.

Also, it terms of future engagement with the media, it will be very critical that efforts are made to engage media managers, especially the news editors who are key in deciding which journalist is assigned which news story to cover. These also determine the news worthiness of a given story when two stories are competing for the same space.

Photo: GWPEA and Participants in the Regional Media Workshop