Women Journalists, hope for Africa amidst challenges of climate change

A group of Nigerian Female Journalists participants and Fathia El Aouni, Chairperson of the Panafrican Standing Committee, at the 3rd edition of the African Women Journalists Forum held in Casablanca, Morocco

From Blessing Ibunge, Casablanca

Climate change is a crucial issue not just for the African continent but across the globe. Despite the recorded facts that Africa contribute less than 4% of the global greenhouse gas emissions linking to the effects, the continent suffers the heat of the climate change.

It is reported that among the 10 countries in the world considered most threatened by global warming, 7 African countries, including Nigeria, Chad, Sierra Leone, Eritrea, Central African Republic, South Sudan and Ethiopia, would be affected by the climate change.

The evolution of weather conditions from the climate change, with effects on agricultural and food production, rise in sea levels, resulting to emergence of diseases and scarcity in food production in the future should be a paramount concern to the African leaders.

Knowing the challenges ahead, leaders of African continent were advised to take actions to reduce global emissions, with the respective governments promoting renewable energy revolution and work to protect communities at risks of effect of climate change.

Women and children are also known to be most vulnerable whenever there are issues of disasters linking to the climate change following their ignorant and non availability to right Information. On this, women journalists across 54 African countries have been equipped to create an impact in reducing the consequences of the climate.

It is in fear of the noted consequences of the climate change that ‘Les Panafrican’ a network, initiated by 2M group and Radio 2M and Gender and Diversity Committee, converged 300 prominent female journalists from the continent to Casablanca, to discuss the theme “Climate change emergency: the media agents of change, a key issue for Africa”, and to provide a working solution to saving the continent of the possible disasters in future.

The conference which lasted for two days, provided the African female Journalists the opportunities to share experiences on ways the climate change affects their countries, focusing on the 7 topics of the workshops.

The workshops looked at topics like; Succeeding in Africa’s energy transition: issues and challenges, The challenges of a sustainable management of water resources, Sustainable agriculture: a green economy for Africa, Health Impact of Climate Change, which strategy to adopt, What sustainable development for African cities, Waste management, a decisive lever in the fight against Climate Change and “In the adaptation to climate change, the media can be agents of change.

In his opening speech at the programme, the General Manager of 2M, Salim Cheikh, stated that “the choice of climate emergency as the main theme of the 3rd edition of the Panafrican forum confirms the major role of the media in informing and raising awareness among African societies in major strategic issues for the continent”.

He added that the mobilisation of Pan African Women across Africa every year in Morocco, thereby creating a human link which makes the Journalists stronger in their collective levels has started yielding fruit, stressing that the”Unparalleled mobilization in Africa reflects 2M’s constant commitment to make women a real vector for change and place them at the heart of the continent’s development policies”.

Fathia El Aouni, Chairperson of the Panafrican Standing Committee, has not stopped encouraging female Journalists to be the tools for positive change in Africa.

According to her, “Africa has a lot of resources, so we are not waiting for it to be socked by it’s resources. So the purpose for the conferenc is to initiatie a means by which we can spread the purpose of the Panafrican, the massage a little bit broad wide on how to get to use those natural resources, to the good use. Africa has everything that it needs, it just had to be used in the right matter and in the right form. Africa will help itself because it has everything it need”.

Also speaking, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccans Living Abroad, Nasser Bourita, urged African leaders to promote the use of renewable energy so as to reduce the danger of climate change.

The Moroccan Minister stated this when he received over 150 members of Les Panafricaines, the African Women Journalists network, at the headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in Rabat, for a breakfast debate.

According to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, “this is the reason why the Kingdom is committed to promoting clean energies and aims to bring the share of renewable energies in the Moroccan energy mix to 52% by 2030, which will make the Kingdom the second country in the world in terms of climate performance”.

In a speech addressed to African women journalists, Nasser Bourita underlined the importance of media action to face the serious consequences of climate change: “Dealing with the issue of climate change is not a luxury for Africa. It is an emergency and a necessity”.

Some of the participants who reacted on the theme of the conference noted that is the best for the moment, following the effect of climate change on earth.

Phumelelee Dlamini, a female journalist with Soweto Television in South Africa, noted that global warming doesn’t only affect Africa but the whole world, adding that “Even in South Africa, we have problems in terms of global warming”.

Dlamini who expressed much interest in fighting for environmental justice, said “We journalists have a big role to play, especially educating our society because you know these decisions are mostly taken by the government and people don’t get to know exactly what is happening on the grassroot level. So as a Journalists, we need to blow the trumpet, making sure we inform our society on what is happening and also making sure that we are voice for the people. This is because some of the decisions that are taken by our governments are the one affecting the global warming.

“In my country, in what I observed, some of the neighbouring countries actually gets their foods from South Africa. So, in my country you can imagine if we have things like droughts and crops are spoiling because of it, it becomes a problems for other neighbouring countries who are actually depending on us.

“I think the organisers of Pan African Women Journalists Forum did well. I think they planned well, I remembered in 2018 we were here, we were talking about migration and in those topic, the Global Warming was our second theme. That women needs to be in charge of global warming because most of the time we don’t have the women voice. Remember, as women, we are the ones that is supposed to takecare of the kids, like in other countries, we are the ones that is supposed to go fetch water, plant this vegetables that we are talking about but we seems not to be much involved, especially the government don’t involve us much.

“We might be talking about global warming but when you look at it, we are actually getting into politics because you cannot talk about global warming and talk about the producing of oil, all the things that the government is doing and don’t get into politics. So, I know it’s going be hard for us but we have the tool now, we are going to make a difference, we are going to inform our people”.

On her part, Wezi Chamanza, a female journalist with Capital FM Radio, Malawi, said it was wonderful experience as female journalist to participate in the workshop considering that climate change is affecting the world and women journalists need to take action.

Speaking on the benefit of the programme, Wezi said “We learnt that there are countries which waste management is their major problem, there are countries where locust are their major problem and there countries like, Nigeria, where pollution is another major challenge.

“So if as journalists, we agree to take action, it is possible to be actors of change and it has to start from us as journalists, to work together, share the knowledge and also network the expert so that we have so much knowledge, so much that when we report and over our stories have to be comprehensive and they have to push the policies, they have to push for reforms so that our countries will no longer be subjected to the effect of climate change, but make sure the government are taken into task to implement the treaties and commitment that they signed on different issues: be it on education, health, climate change. Most of the time, these government sign these commitment and do not implement it. If they were implementing we wouldn’t be facing the challenges we have as countries in Africa”.

With a teamwork and fully equipped, the women journalists across the continent will succeed where political organization or government have failed, with strong will to save the Africa from being destroyed by issues like climate change that is already causing panic across African countries.

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