10 Journalists Attend EJN Biodiversity Media Workshop in Lusaka, Zambia

A group of people stand close together, one of them holds a camera and another is writting in a notebook.
10 Journalists Attend EJN Biodiversity Media Workshop in Lusaka, Zambia

Biodiversity is the backbone of our planet’s well-being, however, the rapidly accelerating biodiversity crisis, driven by habitat loss, climate change and poaching, remains under-reported by the media worldwide.  

Journalists are critical in informing the public, shaping perceptions, and driving policies relating to biodiversity. Journalists can stimulate community-level dialogue and behavior change, and consistent biodiversity coverage ensures that decision-makers are accountable for their actions—or inaction.  

To improve journalists’ skills to report on biodiversity, Internews’ Earth Journalism Network held a media training workshop in Lusaka, Zambia from 24-26 January. The workshop was organized as part of EJN’s long-running Biodiversity Media Initiative. 

Group of people posing together for a photo.
Group photo at the biodiversity training workshop / Credit: EJN.

The journalists selected to attend the workshop were:    

  • Cindy Sipula, United Voice Radio 
  • Chatula Kangali, Times of Zambia 
  • Bazilio Banda, Prime TV 
  • McPherson Mukuka, ZNBC 
  • Roan Mukwakwa, Chongwe Community Radio 
  • Chileshe Mwango, Radio Phoenix 
  • Juliet Makwama, Millenium Radio 
  • Justina Matandiko, Radio Phoenix 
  • Linda Soko, MakanDay Centre for Investigative Journalism 
  • Lackson Phiri, Flavour FM 

Over three days, participants interacted with policymakers, experts and local communities, gaining a deeper understanding of the importance of biodiversity in Zambia.  

Project coordinator Dr. Jackline Lidubwi, Raphael Bada and Lupiya Mazunda led the workshop as EJN’s media trainers. Other trainers included Kennedy Phiri from Media Network Action on Climate Change and Charles Mafa from the Zambia Center for Investigative Journalism. 

On the first day, participants learned more about key biodiversity and conservation issues, and practiced identifying, researching, and framing engaging stories on biodiversity and climate change. “The trainers have a lot of experience and different skills. They wanted us to become interested in stories that connect biodiversity and climate change,” said Lackson Phiri from Flavour FM. “They didn’t just talk about theories; they wanted us to really care about these important environmental issues,” he added. 

On a field trip to Chinyunyu in Rufunsa District, journalists saw first-hand the close link between communities in the Lower Zambezi National Park and forest conservation, especially under the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) program. 

The Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project was the first forest conservation project in Zambia. It is the only project in Africa that has passed the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) nine times in a row. It was also the first in Africa (and second in the world) to get the CCB Triple Gold Verification for its benefits to climate, community, and biodiversity. 

The journalists also met with the Kantyantay Community Hammer Mill and Tushiyanishe Savings Group. They also visited the Kabandi community borehole. These are local initiatives in Bunda Bunda Chiefdom that preserve 40,000 hectares of forest while supporting rural development. 

“The community used to rely on charcoal production, but these projects changed that,” explained Steven Zulu, the Hammer Mill Project Committee chairperson. “Now we can see wildlife in our area, which was rare before,” he added. 

“The field trip showed us how environmental projects can help reduce illegal tree cutting, as many people found alternative jobs,” shared McPherson Mukuka from ZNBC.  

 

 

On the final day of the workshop, Luwi Nguluka, the director of communications at Wildlife Crime Prevention (WCP), spoke about their efforts to alert the public about the dangers of illegal game meat.  

 Abel Siampale, a WWF Zambia representative, presented on the vital role and activities of civil society organizations in protecting biodiversity and combating climate change. He also demonstrated new technologies to monitor deforestation in the region.  

Giyani Sakala, from BioCarbon Partners, shared insights on climate policies, legal frameworks and development plans in Zambia, while Fredrick Chambanange, from the Green Living Movement focused on climate change adaptation strategies.  

A woman standing and talking.
Luwi Nguluka / Credit: EJN. 

To wrap up, EJN media trainers facilitated an interactive session where participants developed story pitches and presented their ideas to a panel who gave feedback, helping them refine their reporting ideas to pitch to media outlets.  “The workshop not only enhanced my understanding of environmental challenges but also created a platform for continuous collaboration and knowledge-sharing among stakeholders,” said Chatula Kangali from Times of Zambia. 

Participants were happy to learn that EJN would soon launch a story grant call. “This is the first media workshop in Lusaka where journalists could learn about biodiversity directly from the top experts. I think we have aroused a lot of curiosity in the journalists, and we are eager to see the stories they will go on to produce,” said Lidubwi.  

 


Banner Image: Journalists documenting Biocarbon partners project during the field visit in Rufunsa District / Credit: EJN.

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