Journalists gain effective skills in weather and climate reporting

Staff writer.

The Rwanda Meteorology Agency (Meteo Rwanda) and the Media High Council have concluded a two-day training with media houses on how to communicate weather and climate uncertainties. The workshop was attended by 45 journalists from local broadcasting, online and print media houses.

The workshop that was concluded on May 10, 2019 was funded by the HIGH impact Weather lake system (HIGHWAY) project which addresses the need for improved and accurate early warning systems, co-produced by scientists and users, to prevent loss of life and damage due to severe weather such as convection, strong winds and lightning.

The HIGHWAY project aims to increase the use of weather information to improve resilience and reduce the loss of life and damage to property in East Africa, including Rwanda.

Journalists following training on how to communicate weather and climate uncertainties

Opening the workshop, Anthony Twahirwa, Division Manager of Weather/Climate Services and Applications at Meteo Rwanda said that strong collaboration between Meteo Rwanda and the media is essential in the timely dissemination of weather and climate information.

He added that sometimes meteorologists face a challenge of how to communicate scientific information to the community in a language that can be easily understood by laypeople.

“After generating the weather and climatic information, there should be an effective channel to communicate it to users. We believe that the mass media has the critical role to play in timely dissemination such information to citizens to take informed decisions through utilising useful data,” said Anthony Twahirwa.

Rachel Mugabe, in charge of Media Professionalism and Development at Media High Council, commended Meteo Rwanda’s efforts to enhance media communication skills of weather and climate information.

She indicated that the media are by far the major communication channels through which the public receives the climatic information, forecasts and warnings disseminated by Rwanda Meteorology Agency.

“The media is unfamiliar with meteorological jargon, definitions and terminology which are sometimes too technical and unsuitable for dissemination to the public and the latter’s understanding, thus the need to train non-meteorological broadcasters on basic meteorology,” she said.

Journalists in a group photo after training

Innocent Gasabato, Editor at Flash Radio and TV, said that the workshop enabled him to understand the processes of generating weather and climate forecasts as well as how to interpret them for the benefit of communities. 

The journalists committed to educate citizens on weather and climate services through their media outlets. They also recommended that a forum of journalists who report weather and climate services be established to ease the flow of information in case of a need to disseminate early warning information.

The workshop was concluded by a media tour of the Rwanda Meteorology Agency where journalists were shown the meteorological infrastructure and how weather and climate information is processed and shared.

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Elias Hakizimana

Elias Hakizimana, CEO&Founder of The Inspirer Ltd,(www.rwandainspirer.com) is a professional Rwandan Journalist with Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Communication, received from University of Rwanda’s College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS) in 2014. He served various media houses in Rwanda including Rwanda Broadcasting Agency (RBA) in 2013 and became passionate with English Online and Print Media Publications where he exercised his talent as a Freelance News Reporter for The New Times, The Independent, The Rwanda Focus, Panorama and more before he became a Self-Entrepreneur as the CEO and Founder of The Inspirer Limited in early 2017.

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