Friday, 20 December 2013

Wanted: Young reporters to cover Brazil 2014

Ongoing demonstrations, the upcoming World Cup, preparations for the Olympic Games and approaching elections: 2014 is a very important year for Brazil. There a loads of stories out there, waiting to be covered. Beyond Your World is looking for young reporters to uncover and cover these stories.

As part of the international journalism-training program Beyond Your World (BYW), a new project will be launched in 2014 under the name “Beyond Brazil – Brasil Além”. This project is a cooperation between Lokaalmondiaal and  the Brazilian media organisation Canal Futura. Throughout 2014, 21 young European journalists aged 18-25 (from the six BYW project countries) will travel across Brazil. 

Travelling in three groups, they will collaborate with young Brazilian journalists, covering events before (March), during (June/July) and after (October) the World Cup. The group, composed of seven different nationalities, will follow a one-year online training program and produce a total of 84 media productions (primarily audiovisual media). During the project, all participants will be supervised by Lokaalmondiaal and Canal Futura.

The focus will be on audiovisual productions, so video journalists, radio makers and photographers are encouraged to apply. You'll have to show you want to be an (international) journalist, are interested in Brazil and want produce stories about global development issues. The deadline is 10 January 2014. For more details on how to apply and eligibility, read this form. 

Go for it and good luck!


Ghana's climate-smart cocoa

Cocoa drying in the Juabeso district, Ghana/Credit: Veronique Mistiaen

I recently went to Ghana to look at how cocoa farmers were adapting to and fighting the impacts of climate change.

I loved that assignment because Ghana is one of my favourite countries. I am also crazy about chocolate and worry about not being able to get my daily fix. I had read a report by the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), which predicted that increasing temperatures will lead to massive declines in cocoa production by 2030 in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, which produce more than half of the world’s cocoa. With China and India developing an appetite for chocolate, the demand for cocoa might then outweigh the supply.
I have looked at commoditie across Africa and Asia in the past and reported on efforts to improve production while giving good wages and living conditions to  farmers and protect the environment. But the project I visited in Western Ghana was different because it focused not only on the farms, but on the whole landscape, the fallow lands and the forests.

Once, lush forests covered most of the country - the green of the Ghanaian flag represents them - but over the past decades, they have been cut to make space for more cocoa. Ghana is now the country with the fastest deforestation rate in the world.
The loss of forests compromises the region’s biodiversity, but also exacerbates the impact of climate change.  The country’s temperatures are slowly rising - and cocoa trees are now under threat.  
In the Juabeso/Bia district, international environmental organization Rainforest Alliance (RA) and Olam International Ltd have teamed up to help farmers produce what they believe is the first “climate-smart" cocoa in the world.  The $1 million three-year pilot project provides farmers in 36 communities with a combination of proven tools and innovative practices for land management and conservation, so that they can help reduce deforestation and climate change and at the same time earn a sustainable livelihood.
Cocoa farmers at a RA training session in Eteso, Ghana/Credit: Veronique Mistiaen

“In order to insure there is a future for cocoa production, you need an environment that supports cocoa, otherwise cocoa is dead,” says Atsu Titiati, RA project director in Ghana.
Read my piece for New Agriculturist here and Economist’s Baobab blog here.