RECOFTC

Journalists learn how to promote gender and social inclusion in forestry

21, December 2021
RECOFTC
Media training in Nepal unpacks the gender and social inclusion dimensions of forestry, climate change, land tenure and rights of local communities.
Notes from the Field
Group photo

Nepali journalists attended a media training boot camp organized by RECOFTC Nepal to promote gender equity and social inclusion in the forest industry, forest conservation and climate change initiatives.

The participating journalists were selected based on their portfolios as environmental reporters and their diverse experiences and backgrounds. Eighteen journalists from national and provincial newspapers and media agencies attended from 24 to 26 September. Eleven were women.

“The training was an eye-opener.” Sarita Paudel, environmental journalist in Nepal

The training unpacked the gender and social inclusion dimensions of forestry, climate change, land tenure and local communities’ rights to use and benefit from natural resources. Participants also learned about the challenges faced by female journalists working in Nepal.

“After participating in the training, I find myself with renewed motivation to investigate and write about gender inclusion and women’s participation in forestry,” says participant Sarita Paudel, an environmental journalist. “The training was an eye-opener for me on the issues.”

The participants learned about the current status of representation and the role of women and marginalized groups in grassroots forest management.

Breaking stereotypes

Despite the increase in the number of women working in the media in Nepal in recent years, few have made it to decision-making positions such as editor, publisher, or news chief. In Nepal, female journalists are more likely to be assigned as reporters to cover topics such as family, art, culture, and entertainment, which are considered unimportant.

Facilitated by media experts, the participants explored recent trends and advances in journalism. Topics included appreciative journalism which  focuses on offering solutions, gender-inclusive journalism, innovations in journalism, and how to gather reliable evidence. They also explored barriers faced by female journalists.

“I have written and reported quite a lot on women’s rights and issues in a range of social contexts throughout my career, but rarely on forest management”, says Madhuri Mahato, guest speaker and RECOFTC gender champion. “That all changed three years ago when I got a chance to meet and learn from forest officers and experts from seven countries in a RECOFTC training in Thailand. Since then, I have written 30 articles related to forestry-related issues”.

Madhuri Mahato
Madhuri Mahato, a journalist from Nepal, guest speaker and RECOFTC gender champion.

The participants discussed ways to promote the visibility of women and female leaders and gender champions and tell their inspiring stories that often remain untold. Women’s burdens, in particular, have increased during the pandemic and there is a need to understand their leadership challenges to motivate others.

“I find it difficult to bring out the ‘woes of women’ when reporting about deforestation, despite the important roles they play in forest management, which are often overlooked”, says journalist Amrit Chimariya, who participated in the workshop. “Women still remain underrepresented or even excluded from mainstream dialogues on forest issues in Nepal, and that needs to change.”

Taking it further

Four to six trainee participants will receive fellowships with mentoring support for cases and article development based on their performance, future potential, and proposal.

“Meaningful participation of women journalists, along with their male counterparts, can be a pivot to promoting gender equality and breaking stereotypes through the media“, says Shambhu Dangal, country director of RECOFTC Nepal. “That is why we plan to continue this drive to support journalists, both men and women, and help them acquire skills to produce high quality articles and encourage gender-inclusive reporting to inform national debates and build awareness on social and environmental issues.”

The WAVES initiative

Weaving Leadership for Gender Equality, or WAVES, is a RECOFTC initiative launched in 2019 that promotes gender equality in the governance, management and use of forest landscapes, and their resources in the Asia-Pacific region.

RECOFTC established WAVES based on the idea that having stronger leadership and expertise will improve policymaking and investments in ways that promote gender equality and social inclusion more broadly.

Since 2021, several activities through the WAVES program are helping build and strengthen the capacities of journalists to amplify inspirational stories, news, views on gender equality and social inclusion to inform and influence provincial governments.

WAVES initiative has built a network of 31 gender leaders from seven countries and supports them as they advocate for equality and lead gender-mainstreaming programs in their communities and institutions.

 

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The Weaving Leadership for Gender Equality (WAVES) initiative enhances leadership skills and supports the capacity of leaders to advocate for gender equality. RECOFTC implements WAVES with support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). For more information visit the WAVES page.

RECOFTC’s work is made possible with the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).