Journalists successfully complete training and raise the profile of environmental issues

The closing ceremony and certificate presentation for the course “Environmental journalism and ecological awareness about water” was held on 9 December 2020. The course was implemented by the CALANDRIA Association of Communicators and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). It took place between October and November 2020 and was attended by journalists from Peru and abroad.

SDC made an overview of the news during the COVID-19 quarantine and found that there was little coverage of social and other important issues such as the care of water as a limited and non-renewable resource, especially in the context of COVID-19 in the country. SDC saw the need for an environmental training programme for journalists to raise ecological awareness about water, with journalists from Peru and abroad, for them to discuss their experience and understand the magnitude of the problem of lack of access and care of water.

The SDC supported ACS Calandria in holding the first course-workshop on environmental journalism and ecological awareness about water. It was developed in six on-line sessions between October and November, and concluded with the participation of national and international journalists who work in all forms of news outlets: the press, digital, television and radio.

The course was an opportunity for Peruvian journalists from 15 regions of the country (Puno, Ayacucho, Cajamarca, Ica, Lima, Arequipa, Ancash, La Libertad, Lambayeque, Tumbes, Piura, Cusco, Junín, Moquegua and Tacna) and journalists from Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Uruguay and Bolivia to discuss their experience and best practices in a variety of activities.

In compliance with social distancing measures, the environmental journalism course was held on-line, with recorded sessions and educational materials that are user-friendly and easy to access. The workshop-course is hosted on a Moodle platform, which allows participants to access the learning sessions in their own time, followed up with guidance from their tutors.

For Lourdes Sandoval, the director of Calandria, the course was important precisely because it focused discussion on environmental journalism and the production of environmental news. This should encourage the public to discuss the issues, and the perspective of the pandemic caused by COVID-19 should be used to develop the care of water as a limited, non-renewable resource and as a right for all.

Martin Jaggi, Head of SDC, said: “The COVID-19 health emergency has left us with many lessons to learn, not only about the value and importance of water, its care and proper management, but also about the key responsibility the media has for getting the message on the public and political agenda”.

SDC offered the course to strengthen journalists’ knowledge and skills regarding the meaning of proper water management and how fundamental it is to the life of communities. “We are sure that this time has been very well spent, and that the participants will address these important topics in their journalistic work, contributing to a social change regarding the value of water not only as a valuable resource but also as a human right,” he said.

About the initiative

The aim of the course-workshop organised by ACS Calandria and SDC was to engage and inspire participants in the practical application of the information presented, mainly by publishing information about water.

The course covered 48 hours, and was taught in four modules over a six-week period.

  • Module 1: Environmental journalism and water in Peru. The sessions on journalism with an environmental focus were taught by Ramiro Escobar (journalist and professor at the Catholic University) and Water in Peru by José Luis Luján (communicator – National Water Authority).
  • Module 2: Journalism for the responsible use of water. This module included the sessions “How to look for or find environmental news”, given by Yvette Sierra (investigative journalist) and “Responsible use of water in domestic, productive and other activities”, given by Johnny Palomares (Engineer – Centro Alternativa).
  • Module 3: Let’s promote good practices in the responsible use of water. This module presented the sessions “The importance of characters in environmental journalistic stories”, led by Rolly Valdivia (journalist/environmental reporter) and “How to develop news about water from everyday experience”, led by Carmen Barrantes (lawyer and journalist).

At the end of the course, the 80 journalists had developed a better approach to stories and personal accounts, a better grasp of environmental and ecological issues, and a narrative much more focused on the story. This enables them to understand and appreciate the stories, the lack of access to water, the difficulties those concerned have to access it and the specific complaints, while maintaining a preventive approach to certain river basins and water sources that could be compromised if decisions are not taken in time.

We share a publication that summary of the course and the work of the participants.

The publication has been prepared within the framework of the project “Innovative campaign to motivate changes in behavior for the use of water ”, an initiative promoted by the Global Program Water of the Swiss Cooperation SDC and executed by the Association of Communicators CALANDRIA. (PDF)

Testimonies of participants

Visit the website of the Training Program for journalists

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La Agencia Suiza para el Desarrollo y la Cooperación (COSUDE) es la entidad encargada de la cooperación internacional dentro del Departamento Federal de Asuntos Exteriores (DFAE). Con otras oficinas de la Confederación, la COSUDE es responsable de la coordinación general de la cooperación para el desarrollo y de la cooperación con los Países del Este, así como de los programas de ayuda humanitaria suizos.