Uganda Wildlife Authority organized a media engagement for journalists in northern Uganda on April 6, 2023 to build their capacity in conservation reporting and also update them on the institution’s conservation efforts in the region.
The UWA team lead by the Communication Manager Bashir Hangi includes the Samuel Amanya Chief Warddn Kidepo Valley Conservation Area and Dr Margaret Drucilu the Ag Chief Warden Murchison Falls Conservation Area.
The event that took place at Gulu City Council was officially opened by Mr. Samuel Oduny, the councillor for elders in Gulu city who represented the City Lord Mayor. Mr Oduny commended UWA for reconising journalists as stakeholders in conservation and reaching out to engage them. He said that the engagement will not only impart them with information about UWA and build their capacity to becomes better conservation reporters but it will also build good relationships between UWA and the media fraternity in northern Uganda.
He urged the journalists to become conservation champions in the region snd use their power of the pen and microphone to tell the communities not to involve themselves in illegal activities like poaching and wildlife trafficking. “I know you are all from this region and you know we have two national parks; Murchison Falls and Kidepo Valley National Parks, please tell our people that we have a role to play in conserving the wildlife in these parks” he told them.
The Communication Manager UWA Bashir Hangi told the journalists that UWA appreciates their work and recognizes them as partners in Wildlife conservation. He said that journalists play a fundamental role in shaping and influencing the perceptions and opnions of the public and they need support through provision of accurate information and capacity building in the area of conservation reporting. “You have communication vessels, you influence, moblize and create public awareness in key topical issues in the country. Therefore you have the potential to pass in accurate information or wrong information and mislead the public. That is why we want to share with you reflections in conservation reporting and information on our conservation efforts”, he said.
The engagement fearured presentations on the institutional overview of UWA, mandate and key focus program areas which was presented by Mr Hangi and conservation efforts ij Murchison Falls and Kidepo Valley Conservation Areas presented by Dr. Drucilu and Amanya respectively. Later, the journalists were taken through conservation reporting by Mr. Hangi. The presentation featured key issues like framing, conservation messages, angling and pitching conservation stories to news editors. They were also taken through reporting wildlife crime and human wildlife conflict among others.
The journalists appreciated UWA for recognizing them as stakeholders in conservation. They said that the engagement does not only equip them with information but is also builds their capacity in reporting wich enables them to report on wildlife conservation better.
While closing the engagement, the Speaker Gulu City Council Lambert Lameck Anena applauded UWA for training the journalists. He observed that continuous capacity development will give the journalists the necessary writing skills to effectively become good conservation reporters.He said that the leadership of Gulu City Council is committed to supporting conservation efforts in the region. He asked UWA to maximise the use of the city‘s services in especially in the area of hotels and hospitality by recommending such Gulu based facilities to tourists who visit the national parks.
The engagement attracted journalists from the districts of Gulu, Nwoya, Pakwach, Madi Okolo, Kitgum, Lamwo and Pader.