A delegation from the Economic Community of Africa trained Cameroonian journalists in "Integrating climate information and services into the economic planning and development process." The training took place from 25th to 26th of June 2018 in Yaoundé.
Climate change issues do not often make the headlines in Cameroonian newspapers. Yet this country, like the entire African continent, is affected by the phenomenon. The Economic Community of Africa (ECA) wanted to respond to this need by accelerating the training of 30 media professionals in “Integrating climate information and services into the economic planning and development process”. For ECA, the aim of the training was “to build a critical mass of “communicators” to lead advocacy and awareness-raising among legislators, policy-makers, the private sector, investors and various stakeholders on the issue and role of climate information (CI) and climate information services (CIS) for better integration into development planning processes”. This training is the result of a partnership between CEA and the Advanced School of Mass Communication, known by its French acronym as Esstic.
In concrete terms, the aim was to help journalists understand the urgent need to give climate issues a prominent place in the columns and slots of their newspapers. An attitude that would enable them to play their role of educators and promoters in order to put issues related to climate change on the agenda of the Cameroonian State. Information can sometimes be very important in the development of public policy. In turn, Cameroonian decision-makers must have the right information to take into account all the parameters related to climate change in decision-making, so as not to commit to projects that could prove very problematic in the future. And the journalist, an information professional, must work to provide data that will be used proactively.
Throughout the training, journalists were provided with educational tools for collecting information, as well as some good addresses for providing such data. They have also received some fragments of the climate lexicon, which the trainers hope will remain theirs. For Professor Olivier Nana Nzepa, head of the ICT department at Esstic and main speaker during this training “it is all about getting professional journalists used to the new lexicon; in turn, they will be able to reach the whole of Cameroonian society, because the journalist is at the heart of the process of transformation of minds”. A practice which, according to him, could transform the lives of citizens, like that of journalists. In the coming days, a network of journalists aware of climate information and services will be created to act in synergy on the field.