On 22 February 2021, the EU in Sierra Leone kick-started a 5-day training for journalists on climate change and environmental reporting. A total of 15 journalists are participating. The two day theoretical training will be followed by field visits on the ground.
Present at the launch at New Brookfields Hotel, Freetown were the President of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ), Ahmed Sahid NASRALLA, the Executive Chairman of the Environment Protection Agency in Sierra Leone (EPA-SL), Dr Bondi GEVAO, Managing Partner of the Economic Forum, Peter KAINDANEH, the Minister of the Environment, Prof. Foday Moriba JAWARD and EU Ambassador Tom VENS.
P. Kaindaneh said reporting on climate change and environmental issues requires a sound knowledge of the subject matter and expressed hope that upon completion, journalists would be in a better position to professionally report on the most pressing environmental hazards in Sierra Leone.
A. Nasralla applauded the EU for their intervention to provide this specialised training. He underscored the importance of capacitating the media with the requisite understanding to be able to contribute to the protection and preservation of the environment through human-interest based reporting and to influence policies and actions through the process.
“This training is a step in the right direction to position the media at the center of initiatives to protect our beautiful environment,” he said.
EU Ambassador Vens reminded that the initiative was the result of EU’s commitment at last year’s annual lunch discussion with journalists, pointing out that climate change is considered as “the biggest threat to the planet at the present moment, and the defining issue of our time.”
He underlined the crucial role of the media particularly in the digital era, where the explosion of climate change-related stories and information across different communities in Sierra Leone, the region and the world demands a higher level of media literacy.
The EU recognises that climate change has a dramatic effect on natural habitats, plants and animals, with knock-on effects on many local communities and sectors that depend on natural resources, including agriculture, fisheries, energy and tourism.
Minister Jaward thanked the EU for creating this platform to train journalists, which demonstrates its commitment to support the global fight against climate change and the ecological functionality of the ecosystems in Sierra Leone.