Bridgetown, Barbados, 21 November 2023 (PAHO/WHO) – After the successful completion of a comprehensive virtual training program for over fifty journalists in the Caribbean, focused on climate and health reporting, five compelling news features have been published. The stores highlight critical issues at the intersection of climate change and public health and are available on the Caribbean Investigative Journalism Network’s website.
The series of trainings were supported by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) as part of the European Union/CARIFORUM Climate and Health project. The aim was to enhance the skills and knowledge of journalists in the Caribbean region and increase their capacity to report effectively on the pressing challenges posed by climate change to public health. The journalists were immersed in intensive workshops, interactive sessions, and hands-on exercises led by experts in the fields of climate science and public health communication. The training fostered a deeper understanding of the complex relationship between climate change and health outcomes.
Armed with this knowledge, the journalists embarked on their reporting assignments, delving into local communities, speaking with experts, and uncovering stories that matter. The news stories cover a wide array of topics, including the challenges faced by vulnerable communities including the impact on children. Each story provides valuable insights into the inter-relationship between these vital issues, encouraging public discourse and awareness.
Subregional Program Director of the PAHO Caribbean Subregional Office, Dean Chambliss, welcomed the collaboration with the MIC to raise the awareness of the journalists who attended the training as well as the stories published.
“These multimedia features highlight the effects of climate change for Caribbean peoples, the importance of multistakeholder perspectives, and emphasize creative solutions. What is also highly commendable is the emphasis on vulnerable populations in Dominica, Guyana, Grenada and St Vincent and the Grenadines, including indigenous communities, persons with disabilities, children, and farmers. The stories go beyond the numbers and the usual talking points often linked to climate change and health to the impact on lives and livelihoods. This included parents who described how recent intense heat was affecting their children at home and at school, the lack of fresh water, how farmers’ yields were drastically affected, the impact of more severe weather events on persons with disabilities, and the rise in vector-borne diseases,” Mr Chambliss said.
“The Media Institute of the Caribbean is committed to nurturing a cadre of journalists who can not only report news but also drive positive change through their stories,” said Kiran Maharaj, President of the MIC. “We are immensely grateful for the support from PAHO, which has enabled us to empower journalists to address critical topics such as climate change and health. The stories produced by our participants are not just news; they are catalysts for informed action and awareness.”