East Africa is home to diverse ecosystems, from deserts to coastal wetlands, forests and grasslands – each a habitat for a wide range of species. But most countries in the region are grappling with conservation issues and biodiversity loss due to poaching, habitat loss and human-wildlife conflict, all exacerbated by climate change and competing claims on land use.
To help improve the media coverage of these issues, Internews’ Earth Journalism Network recently awarded 31 story grants to journalists in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda to investigate wildlife trafficking, report on conservation efforts, solutions to the climate crisis, and more.
The following 11 journalists were awarded investigative story grants:
- Guyson Nangayi, African Arguments
- David Buyondo, New Vision
- Arinaitwe Hedwig, Red Pepper Uganda
- Gerald Tenywa, New Vision
- Edward Anyoli, New Vision
- Robert Ojok Mone, Radio Pacis
- Simon Peter Labeja, Radio Rupiny
- Benedicta Asiimwe, Nile Post
- Mary Malemba Mkongo, Radio Africa Group, The Star
- Ronald Musoke, The Independent Magazine
- Aimable Twahirwa, Rwanda Dispatch
With the support of their assigned mentors, grantees will investigate topics such as the illegal dumping of hazardous waste into Lake Victoria in Tanzania, the actions of government officials that enable charcoal export across East Africa, illicit sand mining along the Nyamwamba River in Uganda, and more.
In addition, 11 journalists were awarded story grants to report on conservation and wildlife issues in East Africa:
- Daniel Nzohabonimana, Rwanda News Agency
- Juliet Akoth, Mt Kenya Times
- Nadine Umuhoza, The Bridge Magazine
- Sharon Atieno Onyango, Science Africa
- David Njagi, Talk Africa
- Julius Luwemba, The New Vision
- Fraterne Ndacyayisenga, Africa 24
- Chemtai Kirui, Kass Media Group
- John Dibaba, Radio Pacis
- Andrew Kasuku, The Star
- Lucy Mwanjala, Nation Africa
Grantees will report on community efforts to conserve environments and ecosystems, such as farmers in the Mara basin in southern Kenya that are turning their crop lands into conservation glades in an effort to restore lost wildlife migratory corridors. Several stories will uncover new approaches to combat wildlife crime and poaching, such as improving the lives of reformed poachers through alternative livelihood projects in Rwanda, while others will explore the role of policy in conservation, such as the government’s victim compensation response to human wildlife conflict in Kenya, and more.
Finally, nine journalists were awarded story grants to report on climate change in Kenya.
- Sharon Kiburi, Talk Africa
- Josphat Thiong’o, Standard Media Group
- Jacinta Mutura, Standard Media Group
- Joyce Chimbri, Interpress Service
- Kenneth Wekesa Musundi, Pwani FM
- Milliam Murigi, People’s Daily Newspaper
- Daniel Kaburu, K24 TV
- Arnold Ageta, Scholar Media Africa
- Henix Obuchunju, Pamoja FM
Grantees will report on adaptation measures such as community-led efforts to rehabilitate mangrove forests, how warming temperatures are contributing to a rise in snake bites in drought-affected communities, and how the climate-driven migration of nomadic pastoralists is endangering wild dogs in Laikipia, among other stories.
With support from this project, East African journalists will be better able to highlight the impacts of these interrelated issues, to inform the general public and policymakers of the consequences of environmental biodiversity loss, its impacts on human livelihoods and security, and scalable initiatives to combat it.
“Environmental and climate change stories are not given front page or prime-time treatment; most often, they are treated as fillers or relegated to the middle pages,” said Kiundu Waweru, the manager of Internews’ East Africa Wildlife Journalism project. “Most editors say this is due to the stories that journalists submit, which are often dry and uninteresting to audiences. This project has been working to change that, by equipping journalists with compelling storytelling skills, encouraging them to put a human face to the science stories, and issuing grants to enable them to take time to investigate and render stories more deeply,” he added, pointing out that results are already being observed across the East African media landscape. The story grants are provided as part of EJN's East Africa Wildlife Journalism project, which is funded by the US Department of Interior and the US Agency for International Development.
To read these stories once they’re published (and past stories produced by the project), check out the EJN website and look for further updates on our social media.
Banner image: A long-horned gazelle looks at the camera in Tsavo National Park, Kenya / Credit: Oliver Cox via Unsplash.