EJN Wraps Up Second Year of Project Focused on Indigenous Journalists

two people on a boat
EJN Wraps Up Second Year of Project Focused on Indigenous Journalists

Since 2021, EJN has operated the Indigenous Environmental Journalism project with the support of Nia Tero, and in its second year with additional support from Svenska Postkodstiftelsen, to fund and mentor Indigenous journalists around the world.

Research from the Global Media Monitoring Project demonstrates the urgent need for increased investment in Indigenous-led media: Only 3% of people featured in the news in Latin America were Indigenous, and within that, only one in five is a woman. At the same time, Indigenous communities manage or call home more than a quarter of the world’s land area, regions that also support 80% of the planet’s global biodiversity. 

To improve the quality and quantity of crucial environmental and climate issues affecting Indigenous communities, we awarded 18 story grants to Indigenous journalists in 16 countries. Their stories have now been published. 

Through EJN’s Nia Tero funding, Indigenous journalists from eight countries were awarded story grants. 

  • In Guatemala, journalist Rosa Onelia Leonardo Castillo reported on oil palm plantations disrupting Indigenous land rights and culture, as the demand for palm oil continues to grow internationally.  
  • In Nepal, journalist Sanjib Chaudhary explored the country’s last Tharu traditional healers who are preserving traditional ethnobotanical knowledge despite their dwindling numbers.  
  • In Nigeria, journalist Justice Nwafor investigated the impact of oil and gas extraction, sea level rise and other threats to Indigenous communities living in the Niger Delta, in a three-part series. 
  • In Mexico, journalist Santiago Navarro F exposed mining concessions by the Mexican government on protected, Indigenous land and highlighted community acts of resistance.  
  • In Zimbabwe, journalist Bongani Siziba covered the expansion of Chinese-owned mining operations in the country amid ongoing human rights concerns related to local communities.  
  • In the Solomon Islands, journalist Charley Piringi highlighted the impacts of alluvial mining on local ecosystems, communities and culture.  
  • In Uganda, journalist Diana Taremwa Karakire featured the Bagungu tribe’s fight against oil development impacting their cultures and land.  
  • In Brazil, journalist Vanuzia Bonfim Pataxó explored the aftermath of an oil spill in Brazil's Northeast, which affected rural and Indigenous people's ability to fish and maintain their livelihoods. Her TV documentary is forthcoming in April. 
two indigenous women
Kichwa women prepare, to share, the bunches of bananas that they have received from the warm zone / Credit: Sinchi Productions.

As part of our Green Recovery project, funded by Svenska Postkodstiftelsen Indigenous grantees from nine countries, reported on diverse topics:  

  • In Fiji, journalist Sera Tikotikoivatu-Sefeti explored the aftermath of the Tongan volcanic-tsunami on Moche islanders, and next steps on preventing similar disasters.  
  • In Bangladesh, journalist Satej Chakma investigated how illegal stone extraction is threatening the spiritual practice, livelihoods and even lives of local Indigenous communities.  
  • In Zimbabwe, journalist Tendai Sahondo reported on the forced relocation of the Buja people due to large-scale granite mining, weak land rights and deceitful contract deals.  
  • In Ecuador, journalist Alliwa Pazmino researched how the food barter practice of Ranti Ranti improved nutrition and strengthened community ties during the pandemic.  
  • In Peru, journalist Martin Leandro Amaya Camacho captured the resilient stories of generations of fishermen that are continually resisting oil exploitation.  
  • In Sierra Leone, journalist Abdul Brima Samba delved into accounts of forced land leasing, loss of farmland and biodiversity behind an extensive palm oil plantation accredited as sustainable.  
  • In the Philippines, journalist Raymund Villanueva produced a two-part piece, first exploring how a remote Isneg community built their own micro-hydro dam and second, reviewing the ongoing success of this project compared to other expensive and polluting hydro dams. 
  • In Guatemala, journalist Gilberto Escobar, examined the ramifications of illegal logging in Totonicapán and the lack of government action that allows it to continue.  
  • In South Africa, journalist Ling Shepherd examined the arguments both for and against Amazon’s new controversial Cape Town development.  
  • Another grantee, Justice Nwafor from Nigeria, was awarded a grant from the Svenska Postkodstiftelsen-funded project after completing work on his EJN-supported stories through the Nia Tero project. He will publish his next story soon.

Read their stories on the EJN website here. 

As part of this project, EJN recently conducted its first workshop on Indigenous journalism in Nairobi in February 2023. We also marked the conclusion of this project by launching our first bilingual online course for journalists.

Banner image: An eroded coastline in the Niger Delta, where a playground used to be / Credit: Justice Nwafor.  

By visiting EJN's site, you agree to the use of cookies, which are designed to improve your experience and are used for the purpose of analytics and personalization. To find out more, read our Privacy Policy