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Africa

Southern Africa: Reporting on conserving biodiversity

The KAZA National Park is setting new standards for the protection of flora and fauna. DW Akademie's comprehensive journalism workshops aim to help raise cross-border awareness about the importance of biodiversity.

Wildlife in the KAZA national park - one of the world's largest conservation areas (photo: Thomas Macholz/WWF).

Wildlife in the KAZA national park - one of the world's largest conservation areas

What can be done to encourage rural populations to support conservation? A new joint project by DW Akademie and the KAZA National Park will be bringing together journalists from five Southern African countries to explore the issue. In a series of multidisciplinary workshops they will be looking at environmental and ecological research, rural development, tourism, the sustainable use of resources as well as conflict-sensitive reporting.

The Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier National Park, short KAZA, is one of the largest natural reserves in the world. Opened in 2012 it spans the border regions of Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. KAZA is not only committed to protecting biodiversity but is also creating much-needed jobs in the region.

Supporting cross-border dialogues

From l. to r.: Simon Munthali (KAZA Technical Advisor), Frederick Dipotso (KAZA Executive Director), Michael Tecklenburg (Head of DW Akademie's Africa division), Christopher Springate (Project Manager, DW Akademie), photo: Ralph Kadel.

From l. to r.: Simon Munthali (KAZA Technical Advisor), Frederick Dipotso (KAZA Executive Director), Michael Tecklenburg (Head of DW Akademie's Africa division), Christopher Springate (Project Manager, DW Akademie).

However, acceptance among the population is still low - small farmers for example are afraid of wild animals attacking their livestock. As a result, cross-border dialogue is essential so that local populations can understand the benefits of the national park and overcome unfounded fears.

Media can support this dialogue, says Michael Tecklenburg, head of DW Akademie's Africa division. "We want to draw journalists' attention to the importance of biodiversity and strengthen their journalistic skills. Better reporting ultimately benefits the entire local population," says Tecklenburg.

The workshops will bring together professional media workers to explore networking opportunities, says KAZA's Acting Executive Director, Mbiganyi Frederick Dipotso. "The joint project will provide advanced training to a chosen body of journalists, allowing them to sensitize their readers, listeners and viewers to the importance of preserving an African treasure and the wealth of wildlife in the region."

This month the KAZA Secretariat and DW Akademie signed a memorandum of understanding at the world's largest tourism fair ITB in Berlin The first cross-border workshops on reporting biodiversity will take place in autumn 2014.

The project is funded by the German Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW).

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