The Media Institute of Southern Africa Zimbabwe Chapter (MISA Zimbabwe), a Hivos Southern Africa partner under the Green and Inclusive Energy (GIE) program with technical support from Climate Tracker, conducted a two-day editors training on renewable energy and climate change in Zimbabwe’s second city of Bulawayo.
A total of 14 editors drawn from both the private and public print and broadcasting sector attended the workshop facilitated by Chris Wright, the co-director of Climate Tracker.
In 2017, a similar training was conducted for journalists in Malawi and Zimbabwe.
The workshop came on the backdrop of low media uptake and coverage of the renewable energy sector and related issues such climate change, global warming and environmental management. This is despite the immense potential of renewable energy in spurring socio-economic development and improving livelihoods.
The objective was to familiarize the editors on the importance of reporting on renewable energy and climate change issues for socio-economic development. The ultimate goal is to get to a stage where the media (journalists and editors) report on these issues consistently through the establishment of relevant dedicated desks.
“We hope that the editors will be appreciative of the value of investing in dedicated desks on renewable energy and nexus issues such as climate change and global warming and to also acquire requisite knowledge and skills regarding that sector and its potential to change livelihoods,” said MISA Zimbabwe Programmes Manager Nyasha Nyakunu.
Meanwhile, Hivos Southern Africa, partnered with Climate Tracker, which has track record in equipping media practitioners with knowledge and skills on renewable energy and climate change issues. Climate Tracker has inspired, trained and mentored over 8,000 journalists throughout the world.
The process involved practical skills building sessions as well as orienting editors with online visual/photo editing applications that can help in improving the quality of stories.
“The real test of whether the workshop was useful or not is on what happens next, whether the editors will take on some of these lessons. We talked a lot about reframing stories (to make them interesting)… I will be interested to see how this develops into the future” said Wright.
“The way we were writing renewable energy and climate change stories was boring, now we are thinking of interesting aspects of covering energy and environmental issues such as use of documentaries” said Merit Munzwembiri, news manager with the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.
Kevin Mazorodze, Hivos Southern Africa Regional Communications Officer, said: “Hivos and its partners will continue sensitizing media houses and editors on the importance of renewable energy and climate change. Similar workshops are lined up in countries where the Green and Inclusive Energy program is being implemented.”