At the 3rd Biennial Conference on Fisheries and Coastal Environment (CFCE) organized by the Centre for Coastal Management – Africa Centre of Excellence in Coastal Resilience (CCM-ACECoR), University of Cape Coast (UCC), a select group of media practitioners (journalists and communications officers) in Ghana participated in a closed breakout session on the topic Documenting the Human Narrative on 7th November 2023 at the Mensvic Hotel, Accra, Ghana.
The capacity-building session moderated by the World Bank’s Madjiguene Seck, comprised an
a knowledge-sharing session with the award-winning photojournalist, Mel D. Cole, who shared his varied experience – beginning with the early stages of his career in the music entertainment industry, to his present work in international development.
In her introductory remarks, Madam Seck shared the objectives of the session: to formalize a network that will report on fisheries and blue economy issues, adding to the practitioners who are already raising awareness on the activities of the World Bank-funded West Africa Coastal Areas Management Program (WACA). Peter Kristensen, World Bank, urged practitioners to consider the core question: how projects can influence, inform, and provide the right information and data so the public changes behaviour accordingly. He encouraged the practitioners to see projects as communications activities and to facilitate the all-important task of providing a feedback loop between beneficiaries and funders.
The West Africa Economic Monetary Union (WAEMU)’s Madam Fata Campoare, shared that there are plans to train journalists to report on climate change, to raise awareness of the activities of a WAEMU project: to improve countries’ resilience to climate change and pollution. Mr Obinna Anozie of the African Union InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) further emphasized media practitioner synergies, highlighting that with AU-IBAR and ATLAFCO support, a media practitioners’ group called Media Observatory for Sustainable Fishing in Africa (MOSFA) had been created at the continental level. He suggested that to avoid duplication of effort, the group could be approached to engage their local counterparts. Kingsley Nana Boadu, a founding member of MOSFA shared that in essence, the Ghana chapter of MOSFA is the Journalists for Responsible Fisheries and Environment (JRFE) who had several members present at the session.
Key discussion points included: establishing synergies with other blue economy and fisheries-adjacent initiatives; avoiding duplication by liaising with other media practitioner groups; the ethics of photography in local and international contexts; and upcoming capacity building opportunities.
The key outcomes of the session are: the creation of one platform to network all the participants, an increased awareness of upcoming capacity-building opportunities, and successful knowledge-sharing about the complexities of journalism – specifically photojournalism – in local and international contexts.