Media 21 Africa: Journalism and climate change

Media 21 Africa: Journalism and climate change

The project Media 21 Africa aims to inform and raise awareness among the African media of the issues and opportunities at the Paris Climate 2015 conference. The call for applications is aimed at media organisations, independent journalists and/or bloggers based in Kenya, Tanzania and Madagascar who wish to develop or enhance their content in relation to subjects associated with the environment and global warming….

The project Media 21 Africa aims to inform and raise awareness among the African media of the issues and opportunities at the Paris Climate 2015 conference. The call for applications is aimed at media organisations, independent journalists and/or bloggers based in Kenya, Tanzania and Madagascar who wish to develop or enhance their content in relation to subjects associated with the environment and global warming.

The conference COP21, or Paris Climate 2015, which will take place from 30 November to 11 December 2015, is a crucial event because it must lead to a new international agreement on climate that is applicable to all countries, while respecting the principle of differentiation, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C.

An agenda and political impetus are needed in order to change society’s views in relation to questions of climate and to work for a paradigm shift such that climate change comes to be considered as an opportunity to create jobs and wealth. It is also necessary to communicate and explain these messages to all citizens in order to present them with the issues and challenges, as well as the roles that everyone can play.
To this end, the media plays a central and essential role in promoting ownership of the objectives by as many as people as possible.
The media is one of the essential components for the success of the preparations for and running of the conference and, more importantly, for the effective implementation of the policies that will flow from it.

The project Media 21 Africa is thus a programme which aims to inform and raise awareness among the African media about the issues and opportunities presented by the Paris Climate 2015 (Cop21) conference, which will be held in Paris from 30 November to 11 December 2015.
Through this project, CFI seeks to promote, by way of these media, the public’s understanding of the details of questions relating to climate change, so that they are better able to appreciate the issues dealt with at the conference and the problem areas associated with them. CFI will undertake training and mentoring work in order to better equip journalists for the purposes of understanding the challenges posed by climate change: using the media and dealing with environmental questions in a professional manner will make it possible to inform and raise awareness among the public to a greater degree about the realities of climate change and the factors which aggravate it, and about the adaptation or mitigation strategies that are in existence or can be envisaged, in their context.


Media 21 Africa is aimed at media organizations and/or independent journalists and/or bloggers who wish to develop or enhance their web content for subjects associated with problems and issues concerning the environment and global warming. The project is therefore aimed at any media organisation (online media, print media with a digital platform) which wishes to strengthen its editorial capacity regarding the coverage of ecological subjects, specifically those relating to global warming. Active and verified bloggers who are specialists in dealing with this subject-matter may also be selected.

Media 21 Africa is reserved for organisations based in the following countries: Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar.


Working on the basis that the media has a significant responsibility for raising awareness of the problems associated with climate change and that it is primarily via the media that the public find out and are educated about these questions, the objectives of the programme Media 21 Africa are as follows:

– To inform and raise awareness among the media outlets selected in the 3 countries in question about the issues and opportunities presented by the Paris Climate 2015 conference, which will take place in December 2015.
– To enhance the capacity of the media outlets selected to incorporate environmental questions and adaptation to climate change into their programming policies.
– To assist the media outlets selected to cover, in a suitable, balanced and comprehensive manner, a conference of international scope dealing with major environmental and societal issues.
– To promote, via the media, the relevant audiences’ understanding of the details questions regarding climate change and its consequences for sustainable development, so as to enable a better appreciation of the issues dealt with at the conference by those audiences.
– To inform the public about the local realities and consequences of climate change, and about the factors which aggravate it, by producing educational and investigative reports.
– To encourage an increase in awareness among the population by promoting and stimulating public debate on the global and local outlook in relation to climate change.
– To assist the appropriation and implementation, by the populations in question, of the solutions and strategies for mitigation and adaptation to the harmful consequences of climate change.


The Media 21 Africa programme sets out various initiatives which relate to different expected outcomes:

Outcome 1: The web journalists in the project understand the issues of the Paris Climate 2015 conference and can communicate them to their respective public

Coverage of the conference ‘Our Common Future under Climate Change’, organised by Unesco from 7 to 10 July 2015

Duration: 7 days
Location: Paris

Content: The aim of this international scientific congress is to encourage a significant mobilisation of the international scientific community prior to the negotiations at Paris Climate 2015 (COP21). The subjects debated will allow the congress to present a broad overview of the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), more than a year after the publication of the various parts of the fifth report in 2013 and 2014. It will constitute a space for the development and dissemination of a high-level scientific review which is open to solutions. The beneficiaries’ participation in this large-scale conference will enable them to have a better appreciation of the scientific aspects associated with climate change by coming into direct contact with the debates, plenary sessions, lectures by scientists and experts, and with the various elements of a worldwide congress: Who to interview? Why? What balance to strike between coverage and material necessary for feature articles? How to adapt the content of this event for their public? This conference will additionally allow web journalists to engage with key individuals/scientific guarantors of their investigations. At the margins of the conference, the journalists will be able to work with their ‘guiding’ expert in relation to oversight of their reports, refinement of their methods and preparation of interviews and portraits.

Coverage of the Paris Climate Conference (Cop21)

Duration: 7 days (including 3 during COP21) – December 2015
Location: Le Bourget, France

The aim will be to benefit from the staging of COP21 in order to train journalists to cover an international conference, by offering them the tools for understanding the negotiations which will take place there. The journalists will be able to prepare interviews and report on the debates and the round table sessions, as well as on progress in the negotiations.
In advance of the conference, a final training session will take place at Unesco in order to prepare the meetings that are to occur and the interviews that are to be undertaken so as to ensure that the beneficiary journalists are able to provide the best possible coverage and to allow them to obtain the views of experts, politicians and those active in civil society on key topics.
In addition, this training session will be an opportunity to summarise, within the context of COP21, the work undertaken in the various training sessions.

This training session will have the following main objectives:

-to work on and report the discussions at COP21, using the perspective and the sensibilities that are unique to the African beneficiary journalists
-to emphasise the issues specific to the continent of Africa, where questions of the environment, climate and sustainable development have a particular resonance
-to ensure professional and balanced coverage of the conference
-to present relevant issues and reports on the ongoing negotiations and the work of the governments to the public of the countries concerned

Outcome 2: Web journalists and bloggers involved in the project improve their knowledge and techniques of web reporting in relation to environmental subjects and are better equipped to appreciate and report on problems relating to climate change from various angles (economic, health, social etc).

The applicants will work to produce reports on the web relating to problems/issues associated with climate change over a number of months (June to October 2015).

Improvement of techniques of writing and conception of reports associated with an ecological subject related to climate change (phase 1)

Duration: 10 days at the end of May/beginning of June 2015
Location: Nairobi

This session will have the following main objectives:

– to raise awareness among the beneficiaries about COP21 and the global warming issues that are specific to Africa
– to familiarise them with the major environmental problems of their countries and their impact on various spheres (health, economy, agriculture, etc.),
– to learn to handle and popularise scientific information and to make it accessible to the public
– to strengthen their skills in terms of writing for the web on ecological and environmental subjects
– to encourage exchanges between scientific communities and media professionals
– to give the beneficiary journalists skills to enable them to create professional reports associated with ecological and environmental issues
– to approve their report subjects proposed in the context of Media 21
At the training session, a practical ‘kit’ will be provided to the journalists as a documentary and scientific reference base, as well as a practical guide for the journalists.

Oversight of reports for publication (June to end of October 2015)

At the end of the abovementioned training session, the journalists will each have to complete a number of reports which will be approved and mentored by the person responsible from the media outlet for which they work. These reports and investigations must emphasise local problems associated with how populations are adapting to climate change and/or positive examples of local implementation of adaptation strategies. Each journalist’s work will be overseen by an expert rapporteur throughout his or her work, in order to ensure that the work is well structured and that the knowledge acquired has been applied correctly. This remote monitoring that takes place between the journalist and the expert rapporteur will be facilitated by way of the programme’s web platform (video conferences, chat sessions), which will allow the investigations to progress appropriately and to be published regularly up until the time of the Paris Climate Conference. The reports can begin to be published from the end of June on the websites of the media outlets involved in the project and on the web platform Media 21, in order to ensure regular coverage up until COP21.

This oversight has the following main objectives:

– to ensure effective oversight for training purposes of the various reports produced by the beneficiaries
– to assess the state of progress of the reports
– to provide advice and recommendations in terms of amendments to the drafts
– to ensure the regular publication of the articles on the platform and on the online media involved.


This call for applications will select one or more journalists from each beneficiary country to be mentored up until the Paris Climate Conference (Cop21).

The planned schedule is as follows:

• 25 February: publication of the call for applications
• 31 March 2015: deadline for receipt of the applications on the online platform at 13:00 GMT (no extension to this period will be granted)
• 10 April 2015: announcement of the results
• 13 to 24 April 2015: signature of the commitment agreements and agreements on the sharing of financing with the beneficiaries selected
• 25 May to 3 June 2015: 1st training session in Nairobi, Kenya
• 3 July to 10 July: 2nd training session, conference Our Common Future Under Climate Change in Paris, France
• June to October 2015: remote monitoring of the reports
• 5 to 11 December 2015 (exact dates to be confirmed): 3rd training session, conference Cop21 Paris Climate 2015, Paris, France.

Certain dates are still to be confirmed and the nature of the oversight of the reports will be specific to each media type. It will be decided on jointly between the expert rapporteurs and the beneficiaries.


Media 21 Africa is a project that has been instigated and led by CFI (France) in collaboration with the Directorate of Communications and Press of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, the French embassy in Kenya and its audiovisual attaché, the French delegation to Unesco and Unesco.


The costs of all of the beneficiary journalists which are incurred in connection with attending the training sessions (international transport, accommodation, meals) will be covered in their entirety.


A jury consisting of science journalists who are specialists in global warming issues, a representative of the CFI, and a specialist in global warming issues in Africa will study the applications and make the selections.

The assessment criteria for the projects will relate to:

Motivation for participating in the project and media experience in this subject area (50/100) :

– motivation of the media outlet for participating in this project and expectations in line with the project;
– experience in dealing with questions of global warming in the media from a journalistic perspective;
– knowledge of their audience, networks of influence and development strategy

Subjects of reports (50/100):

– profile of the journalists and experience in relation to these topics or in relation to reporting and investigation techniques
– relevance of the subjects proposed in relation to the objectives of the country and the media outlet, articulating the rationale in relation to the following points:
exact story to be produced, synopsis, angle, content, methodology, public interest


The journalists selected must:

• be specialists in covering environmental or ecological subjects, or at least provide evidence of experience in relation to issues of this type.
• have a very good level of comprehension and writing in English (the training sessions will be conducted in English)
• be able to work at full capacity in an academic and professional environment
• be mentored by the chief editor or person responsible from the media outlet from which they have come
• undertake to participate in all of the training sessions, full-time
• undertake to produce a number of reports, preferably on positive local initiatives adapting to climate change, that are to be published on the media outlet for which he or she works and on the CFI platform for the project.
It should be noted that the chief editor of the title or the person responsible from the media outlet must formally undertake to publish the reports that are produced by the journalists as part of the project.

The project will select one journalist per media outlet.


To make an application, candidates must provide, in English, the following documents:

• Fill in the online form (create an account)

• A letter of sponsorship from the chief editor confirming and providing undertakings on the following points:
o the journalist’s participation in all of the training events
o the provision of optimal conditions for the carrying out of the journalist’s investigation
o the publication of the results of the investigation

• A CV of the applicant journalist
• A brief introduction to the media outlet or blog
• Copies of articles or reports associated with ecological issues that have been produced by the applicant journalist
• A photocopy of the passport + good quality portrait photograph

These documents must be sent online in PDF or WORD form, before 31 March 2015


Anne-Sophie Ricco
Head of Projects for Africa

Locations: Africa,  Partners: CFI,

Targeted countries:

Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar


Existing organizations


one journalist per media

In Collaboration with the:

Directorate of Communications and Press of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, the French embassy in Kenya and its audiovisual attaché, the French delegation to Unesco and Unesco