Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Online journos get cash grant to document farmers adopting new tech, practices

A group of online journalists received a cash grant from the Climate Media Labs, allowing them to make videos that will document farmers using new methods to protect their crops from extreme weather events.

Team Philstar.com G-Unit, composed of Gaea Katreena Cabico, Jonathan de Santos, and Efigenio Toledo IV received P70,000 as part of the second tranche of the Umalohokan Grant of the Climate Media Labs under the Oscar M. Lopez Center.

Named after the town criers who spread news in pre-colonial Philippines, the grant is expected to help Team Philstar.com and four other awardees to fully implement their campaigns and communications research plans, the OML Center said. The team that most creatively and successfully executes their blitz campaigns and research projects on the most relevant issue of their community will ultimately receive a final grant of P150,000.

Team Philstar.com seeks to “run a solutions-driven information campaign” that will help promote new climate-resilient methods of farming, its campaign plan said.

The group, whose members work for a news website its team is named after, will focus on rice farmers in Nueva Ecija province, the Philippines’ largest producer of the grain.

After running the information campaign, the team will also “highlight how climate change will jeopardize the economy and food security,” its plan said.

To this end, the team of Cabico, de Santos, and Toledo will produce multimedia stories, videos, and podcasts which will help explain how farmers can benefit from “climate resilient technologies and practices.”

“To minimize the impact of climate change, [farmers] can map out high-risk areas, build climate-proof infrastructure, and diversify crops,” the group’s campaign plan said.

Team Philstar.com’s campaign also plans to reach decision makers, leaders, and climate advocates, the group said.

Team Philstar.com is one of five teams across the Philippines that were awarded the Umalohokan Implementation Grant.

Other four teams are Team Bicol Umalohokan which intends to focus on sustainable food production and consumption practices; Team Salikhain Kolektib, which will tell the stories of residents living in small island communities; Team DanTAOn, which plans to amplify the voices of communities most vulnerable to climate change; and, Team Bintuwak, which intends to preserve the knowledge and tradition of the Nabaoynon indigenous communities in Madalag, Aklan. 

All five Umalohokan grantees belong to a larger group of ten teams whose members have all been given Umalohokan Fellowships.

To apply for fellowships, each team had to submit a media campaign plan that intends to raise awareness of underreported or untold climate stories in their communities.

After being awarded Umalohokan fellowships, members of all ten teams were entitled to attend the Climate Media Labs, a six-week learning program that sharpened their knowledge about the basics of climate science, climate change communications, among others.

Held from August to October, the Climate Media Labs were held for two hours per session twice a week from late August until early October, the OML Center said.

The Labs, which were developed together with Climate Tracker, were also attended by local and foreign climate scientists and communicators.

Scientists and experts who delivered lectures for the Labs included Lourdes Tibig, lead author of an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate; Ma. Laurice Jamero, a contributing author of the recently released Working Group I contribution to the Sixth Assessment Reporter of the IPCC; and Dr. Anthony Leiserowitz, founder and director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.

All the Umalohokan Fellows, including Teams Sangkalikasan, Team Siargao, ELSE, and PonD News Asia, were given certificates for completing the Climate Media Labs.

“While the science on climate change in the Philippines has increased ever since our Center was established in 2012, appropriate action is still lacking,” said Perpi A. Tiongson, OML Center associate director. “Communicating climate change and the potential for enabling action remain big challenges. The Climate Media Labs is one of the ways of helping provide context of the risks and impacts of climate change and of enabling action through documenting realities and surfacing stories of local experiences.”


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