Push to have climate change curriculum in universities

Principal Secretary, State Department for Environment and Climate Change Eng. Festus Nge’no. [James Wanzala, Standard]

The process of developing a climate change curriculum in institutions of higher learning has started.

This follows a partnership between the government, Kenya Editors Guild (KEG), the German Agency for International Cooperation(GIZ) and Daystar University.

Principal Secretary, State Department for Environment and Climate Change Eng. Festus Nge’no said the conversation around launching a curriculum started last September during the Africa Climate Summit (ACS) on the need and role of well-informed climate change reporting.

“The need for more training and capacity building for reporters, editors, journalists and other media actors was strongly highlighted. This inaugural training therefore signifies our joint commitment to continuous learning and delivery of factual information,” said PS Ng’eno.

PS Nge’no spoke in Nairobi during a climate change reporting pre-training workshop.

He said the role of the media in shaping public opinion, driving policy change, and raising awareness on climate-related issues cannot be overstated.

“Climate change reporting plays a significant role in advocating for local action and solutions to combat climate change. In addition, well-trained journalists and editors will highlight success stories, innovative solutions, and policy recommendations in an easy-to-understand language to spur further action,” he added.

To do this effectively, he said climate change reporting requires more than just the ability to convey information but demands a deep understanding of the scientific, social and political dimensions of climate change as well as the skills to communicate complex issues in a clear, accurate and compelling manner.

Kennedy Ouma, advisor, GIZ climate communications and whose organisation will fully fund the process, said the journey will involve four stages.

“These will be conducting a baseline survey in Nairobi and its neighbouring Metropolitan counties same as in Mombasa then in Kisumu, which will include Lake Region Economic Block (LOREB) to know gaps in climate change reporting,” he said.

He added: “This will be followed by developing a training module based on identified gaps, conducting a Trainer of Trainers (TOT) using the module and finally mainstreaming the module to a curriculum of higher learning starting with Daystar University.” 

Kenya Editors Guild chief executive officer Rosalia Omungo said climate change reporting is an area of specialisation that is increasingly becoming important and one that newsrooms should pay more attention to and allocate more resources towards.

“Reporting on climate change is an important area that calls for precision and for continued training for journalists so that they can understand the basic science and have the competence to communicate the research. Understanding of the basic science helps educate readers, viewers and listeners to promote their own understanding,” said Omungo.