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Seventeen African journalists secure grants to cover COP27

By Liapeng Raliengoane

MASERU – A trailblazing science journalists’ network has awarded fellowships to 17 journalists from eastern and southern Africa to cover the Conference of Parties (COP27) on climate change.

As part of its partnership with International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Eastern and Southern Africa office in Nairobi, Kenya, Media for Environment, Science, Health and Agriculture (MESHA) will cater for the journalists’ needs as they travel to the event next month.

This year, COP27 will be hosted by Egypt and will take place on the 6-18 November in the city of Sharm El-Sheikh. Of the 17 Journalists, 7 will travel to Egypt, while 10 will cover the conference virtually.  

COP27 represents a pivotal moment in the fight to combat climate change, being the first COP to take place in Africa since 2016 when Morocco hosted COP.

An interview with MESHA Secretary, Aghan Daniel, revealed that the fellows, 60% of whom are females, will receive support and guidance from seasoned climate change Journalists affiliated with MESHA’s Environment Desk and MESHA’s in-house platform of trainers.

“The fellows will participate in orientation activities, daily briefings, interviews with high-level officials and other interactions organized by MESHA and her affiliates, to inform and facilitate quality reporting on developments at COP27,” Aghan revealed.

“The fellows will be guided by MESHA mentors who are senior Journalists with experience in covering the United Nations (UN) Climate Summits.”

Aghan disclosed that their office received 90 applications from journalists based in eastern and southern Africa.

A week ago, the President-Designate of COP-27, His Excellency Sameh Shoukry spoke about the vision of COP- 27 and he urged for acceleration of climate action on all fronts including mitigation, adaptation and finance in addition to adopting more ambitious mitigation measures to keep the 1.5c within reach.

“There can be no room for delay in the fulfilment of climate pledges or backtracking on hard earned gains in the global fight against climate change. We must work together for implementation. We need to act and act now, to save lives and livelihoods,” H.E. Shoukry highlighted. 

The 2022 MESHA COP27 Fellows are:

Agatha Ngotho – Star Newspaper, Kenya

Francis Mureithi – Nation, Kenya

Busani Bafana – Inter Press Service, Zimbabwe

Aimable Twahirwa – Rwanda Dispatch, Rwanda

Violet Nakamba – Zambia Daily Mail, Zambia

Jenifer Gilla – Guardian, Tanzania

Caroline Chebet – The Standard, Kenya

Geogia Mbaghugho Chirombo – MIJ FM and online, Malawi

Mekonmen Teshome Tollera – Freelancer, Ethiopia

Prosper Tatenda  Chitagu –  Humfoz.org, Zimbabwe

Engela Duvenage – Freelancer, South Africa

Liapeng Raliengoane – Informative Newspaper, Lesotho

Karina Zarazafy – Madagascar Oil S.A. Madagascar

Sandra Laporte – Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation, Seychelles

Iradukunda Espoir – Inside Burundi, Burundi

Irene Shone – Guardian, Botswana

Aghan Daniel – MESHA, Kenya

The four trainers are:

Otula Owuor – Director, Science Africa, Kenya

Zeynab Wandati – Science Editor, NTV, Kenya

Matthews Malata – President, Association of Environmental Journalists Malawi (LEAD Fellow) 

Christophe Assogba – SciDev.net, Benin

The Conference of Parties (COP) traces its origins to the United Nations first major Conference on the Environment and Development. COP is the supreme decision-making body of the UNFCCC and is made up of representatives from all parties. The first Conference of Parties meeting was held in Berlin, Germany in 1995, and was dubbed COP1.

Among its core objectives, one was to stabilize the concentration of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the Earth’s atmosphere in order to prevent risks to the climate system, a concern touted by scientists since at least the 1970s.

MESHA is an association of science journalists, editors, scientists and communicators from all over the Africa. It is based in Nairobi, Kenya.