Late last year, EJN media grantee Nextblue published a documentary and 18 stories on the impacts of climate change in Bangladesh. Nextblue is a Netherlands-based platform for stories on water and climate change in delta regions around the world.
Nextblue aims to bridge the gap between local communities and decision-makers by training local journalists to report on water and climate challenges more effectively, and by co-producing their articles and videos. "Through our work, we strive to create a global community which values the stories behind the water,” said Joep Janssen, Nextblue’s executive director.
With a grant from EJN, the organization produced a documentary titled 'Water Stories from Bangladesh, a 25-minute-long video that highlights the impacts of climate change and efforts led by communities and other stakeholders to fight against it.
As part of the project, local journalists, activists and researchers were invited to share story pitches. Mohammad Shahadat Hossain was one of the selected journalists who were provided mentorship to strengthen his reporting skills. His participation culminated in a video, titled "Flash floods and Droughts: The challenges faced by Northern Bangladesh.”
"I learned many things about journalism: [about] topic selection, writing an article in a more specific way, and how to carry out video production with less equipment," said Hossain.
"Although a global problem, the causes and solutions of climate change are often local. We brought together an inspiring group of local journalists, researchers, and development workers, offering people a platform to share their knowledge and questions,” said Tareq Mahamud, Bangladesh coordinator at Nextblue.
"The quality narratives and stories show the good results of such co-learning processes," said Janssen.
In a final sharing webinar hosted in September 2021, Anne van Leeuwen, ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Bangladesh, highlighted the strong ties between Bangladesh and the Netherlands in addressing water challenges. "The stories provided by the participants don’t just show the challenges and opportunities, but also the resilience of the people – in the city and rural areas across the country," said Van Leeuwen.
Despite having to make adjustments in response to Covid-19 (pivoting to virtual workshops and discussions over Zoom and Whatsapp), Janssen shared that he was pleased with the outcomes of the project. “EJN's support helped us to establish connections with water and climate professionals in Bangladesh, and to grow our community,” said Janssen.
The organization will continue to publish environmental articles and videos together with local journalists in developing countries.
Banner image: Mr Abdul Wahab, a 55-year-old boatman and a climate migrant from Barisal district. He has been ferrying people from Showari ghat to Zinzira for the last eight years / Credit: Farzana Rahman.