By Rebecca Nabatanzi Sserwanga – 

Kampala, November 2019. The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), through her Strengthening Community Resilience to Climate Change and Disaster Risks (SCORE) project, in conjunction with the Media Challenge initiative (MCI), has spearheaded the Media Challenge Expo 2019. The Media Challenge Expo is the first of its kind that brings the media fraternity together with university journalism students to discuss the state of media in Uganda with a goal to find common solutions to the challenges facing the industry. The theme for this year has been Reporting on Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction in Uganda and Africa. SCORE is supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Participants at the Media Challenge Expo

The first day was the Media Challenge Conference where media students, journalists, academia, media houses, government and organisations working in the climate change space gathered together and engaged in panel and break out discussions on how the media covers climate change in Uganda and how coverage can be improved. Panels discussed the reality of climate change and reframing media coverage of climate change. The breakout sessions focused on: the economics of climate change; climate change and natural resources; preventing disasters in an uncertain climate; climate change and the private sector; differentiated impact and vulnerable groups and the effects on health.

OPM’s Raymond Kirungi (Left), Department of Disaster Preparedness and Management OPM discussing disasters in one of the break out sessions.

The Expo also included a Career fair where students and climate change activists networked with exhibiting media houses and gained practical journalism skills in 12 skill building sessions led by top journalists.

Lastly, the third day was the finale of the Inter-University Mobile Newsroom competition, where teams of student journalists presented live video reports of the activities that happened at the Expo.

24th November 2019 will be the Media Challenge Awards where winners of the student journalism contests: writing, photography, video and radio features, cartoon and the Grand Finale Mobile Newsroom will be witnessed and celebrated. On the same day, mainstream journalists will also receive awards as voted by journalism students. The same day will be used to inaugurate the first Climate Change Journalism Awards to encourage and reward effective reporting about climate change. The awards will include a 6-month Media Challenge Fellowship Program that trains in multi-media digital skills and journalism for social change. After the expo, the crowd sourced information from the conference will be synthesised and compiled into a Climate Change Reporting handbook that will serve as a practical guide for journalists and media actors.

‘’The role of the media is to inform, Interpret and address issues concerning climate change…’’ said Moses Watasa, Commissioner Information, Dissemination, Monitoring and Inspection OPM in his opening remarks.

This initiative that attracted over 500 participants comes at a time when climate change and disasters are a frequent occurrence in Uganda.

About Strengthening Community Resilience to Climate Change and Disaster Risks (SCORE) project 

SCORE is a part of the Climate Change Response & Disaster Risk Reduction Program led by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). It is implemented by Office of the Prime Minister in conjunction with: Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), Ministry of Finance, Planning & Economic Development (MFPED), Ministry of Lands, Housing & Urban Development (MLHUD), Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA) and National Planning Authority (NPA).

SCORE aims to ensure that natural resources management and energy access is gender responsive, effective and efficient, reducing emissions, negating the impact of climate-induced disasters and environmental degradation on livelihoods and production systems, and strengthening community resilience.