By Foster Dongozi

Senior journalists and editors in Southern Africa have come up with a strategy expected to result in a positive gender and climate change discourse in the region.

According to resolutions compiled at the just ended regional summit on gender and climate change convened by UN Women and the Southern Africa Journalists Association, SAJA, the journalists said the way forward would include showcasing stories of women and highlighting the agency of women.

Ayanda Mvimbi of UN Women in South Africa presided over the event.

Gender sensitive reporting, highlighting excellent work done by women’s organizations, improving accurate information dissemination to the public and  providing evidence that investing in women is smart economics and critical for sustainable  growth and development would be some of the strategies employed by the media.

The journalists produced a wish list which would include the use of a common online platform and other ICT tools for  use to host stories written by journalists on gender and climate change in Southern Africa.

The platforms would also involve young journalists, media organizations and farmers, especially rural women farmers who could receive training on the use of ICTs and social media to communicate gender and climate change.

Capacity building for journalists and the use of ICTs  in reporting climate change and gender were identified as a way of achieving the set targets as this would ensure the continued production of quality stories.

Building of sound relations with climate change and gender organizations, experts and government departments was encouraged as a strategy of improving knowledge gaps that could exist among journalists.

The journalists called for the development of a reporter’s manual on reporting gender and climate change.

They  felt that there was need to incentivize the writing of quality stories on climate change and gender through budgetary support for writing stories including support for  regional annual awards for the best journalists in print, radio, television, online and ICTs and social media.

During the workshop, journalists received training on gender and climate change  and produced radio, television, newspaper and online  gender and climate change stories.

In addition, the Southern African journalists signed up for the HeforShe Campaign.

Among leading Southern African journalists who signed up for HeForShe are Foster Dongozi, Secretary General of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists, ZUJ, Tapera Chikuvira, a Bloemfontein based journalist, South African Puso Kgosinkwe, Kenneth Dlamini from Swaziland and other participants.

UN WOMEN, the UN entity for gender equality and the empowerment of women created the campaign in 2014. The movement seeks to end gender inequality with tangible outcomes. The movement understands that gender equality is not only a women’s issue but a human right that requires the participation  and commitment of men.
The regional meeting for senior journalists and editors was convened by UN WOMEN, the United Nations entity for gender equality and the empowerment of women  in partnership with the Southern Africa Journalists Association, SAJA.
Senior journalists, including editors from Malawi, Botswana, South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia and Zimbabwe were  among the delegates.
The journalists were drawn from different media sectors which include print, online, radio and television.