By Shadrack Nyakoe
Royal Media Service journalists Raquel Muigai and Agnes Oloo have been named amongst the finalists of the African Climate Change and Environment Reporting Awards (ACCER).
After a rigorous process of judging entries in the seventh ACCER 2022, a panel of jurists selected to conduct the exercise has the pleasure of declaring the finalists to receive prizes today.
This ACCER Award is an initiative of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), Africa’s largest coalition of civil society groups, faiths and community-based organizations, academia, researchers and individuals who advocate for fair and just climate regimes for African people.
According to the ACCER Award judges, Charles Ayitey (Ghana); Calvin Rock, Cece Siago, Raquel Muigai and Agnes Oloo (Kenya); Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman (Ghana); Robinson Wanosike, Baguiri Chamsou Dine Koto, and Adjimehossou Fulbert (Benin); Temwa Mhone (Malawi); Marko Taibot (Uganda); and Michel Nkurunziza (Rwanda) were judged as having presented entries which met criteria as set by the call for entries and were within the thematic areas that the ACCER Planning Committee had set.
“As expected, the quality of entries was many and our team had to put their best feet forward in deciding who the finalists are. It was an exercise that needed patience, back and forth engagement and making hard decisions,” said Prof Kioko Ireri, who chaired a team of seven judges meeting in Machakos County, East of Kenya’s capital city of Nairobi.
This year’s awards were held at a time when Africa is preparing to host the 27th Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Egypt later in the year.
The goal and inherent intention of ACCER are not only to reshape the African narrative as espoused in Climate Change and Environment debates but also to build a new culture of consciousness on how we utilize biological resources in our environment and reduce our carbon footprint.
In addition, the decision to launch the ACCER Awards was informed by the realization that CSOs and governments were limited in raising the needed level of awareness on climate change. “The decision to launch ACCER Award was influenced by the 4th Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCCC) which projected Africa as the region set to suffer the most by the climate change phenomenon,” said Charles Mwangi, the Acting Executive Director of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance.
He added that ACCER is purposed at enlivening Climate Change and environment education by way of rewarding exemplary reporting on Climate Change and the Environment in Africa.
Effective and sufficient reporting on Climate Change and Environment will have the overall effect of guiding the development of Strategies, Policies, Action Plans and measures on Climate Change adequately galvanizing the grassroots communities, County Governments, then the National, Continental and International levels.
Winners will receive their awards and prizes at an Award Gala Night before the international audience in Kigali, Rwanda on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) on June 23.
Initiated in 2013, the main objective of the ACCER Awards is to recognize African journalists who excel in environmental journalism.
The judges received a total of 165 entries, disaggregated as below:
- Print media: 35
- Radio: 15
- TV: 22
- Online: 83
- Vernacular: 5
There were entries in French, Portuguese, English, and vernacular entries drawn from all the four corners of Africa.
It is expected that this kind of initiative will encourage constructive environmental focus in the African media, both at policy and policy implementation level and the level of public awareness and participation in environmental protection and protection.