Conservation Journalism Program
The combination of a rapid population growth, an accelerated climate change, poor political decisions and poaching are destroying Africa’s wildlife at an alarming rate. Tanzania has a remarkable natural heritage vital to its development which still does not reflect in the awareness, understanding and appreciation of those critical issues among its citizens. The need for broader media coverage on wildlife preservation becomes evident in the following example. Between 2009 and 2014 Tanzania has lost 60% of its Elephant population. The journalistic coverage on this issue was almost non‑existent.
The Conservation Journalism program was built to promote the discussion about conservation in Tanzania and to address the critical lack of information sharing. To challenge these issues we have created a network of trained, knowledgeable and passionate Conservation Journalists in both print and electronic media in Tanzania. During the training of those journalists SPF gladly collaborated with the Tanzanian National Parks Authority (TANAPA) and at each journalism workshop ecologists and other officers from TANAPA were engaged as solicitors. Journalists are encouraged to distribute conservation news effectively, receive information about TANAPA strategies. They were also given the opportunity to underline their reports with field experiences.
Tanzanian Journalists for Conservation is a newly registered organization that is the core of a new community under the mentorship of Serengeti Preservation Foundation. Along with other international partners our goal is to expand this network and provide ongoing workshops, social media and online support, field trips, research opportunities and awards.
At this time four workshops with two field trips to national parks have been held to create momentum. The objective of these workshops is to distribute knowledge, teach skills to report on conservation news and create a social core for support. Conservation is a global agenda hence we invited International Journalists to share their experiences in our network. The goal is to encourage Tanzanian Journalists to think globally and act nationally in reporting conservation news.
In the Future: One key goal for SPF is to support Tanzanian media in establishing “Conservation Desks” in their organizations. Those will emphasize the importance of conservation as a national cultural and economic strategy and offer frequent reporting on conservation issues and positive conservation efforts. By increasing the amount of information, we will further educate our youth on the importance of conservation and how they can contribute practically to support the sustainability of their natural heritage. For more information about the Conservation Journalism effort, click the following link: http://serengetiwatch.org/education/tanzania-media-development/