CJID Partners with ADISI-CAMEROUN to Train Journalists on Conflicts and Human Rights in Cameroon and Chad

The Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID), through its Conflict, Security, and Human Rights project, has partnered with the Association for Integrated Development and Interactive Solidarity (ADISI) to organise a three-day training programme on conflict and security reporting for journalists in Cameroon and Chad. ADISI-Cameroon is a leading Civil Society Organisation committed to capacity development for journalists in Francophone Africa. 

The three-day training, supported by the Open Society Foundation – Africa, is geared towards enhancing journalists’ professional skills and investigative capacity to effectively report on conflict situations in ways that reflect the contextual realities in the Lake Chad Basin.

According to CJID’s Programme Director, Mr. Akintunde Babatunde, the collaboration with ADISI became imperative, considering the critical role of the media in combating the escalating conflict in the Lake Chad Basin. He noted that “the situation in the Lake Chad basin has become more dire in recent times. We have seen escalated farmer-herder crises vis-a-vis the boko haram insurgency and ethnic tensions. In all of these, we cannot over-emphasise the place of the media as the Fourth Estate of the Realm

“We are also worried about the fragility of democratic norms in the Sahel, and we hope to equip journalists and researchers with the right tools to conduct deep dives and investigative reports that will provide critical insights for security measures and policy development. At  CJID, we understand the enormity of these responsibilities, and we are committed to supporting journalists through training like this.”

In his remarks, Mr. Paul-Joel Kamtchan, Executive Secretary of ADISI-Cameroon observed that the training is essential considering the paucity of journalistic interest in reporting issues in the Lake Chad basin despite the conflict-induced reduction in agricultural practises and the ripple effects on food security in the region. As he noted, “Lake Chad, which was once one of the main sources of food for the populations of Niger, Nigeria, Chad, and Cameroon, has been dying for several decades. This death is not without consequences, as it has given rise to numerous conflicts between riparian populations, agro-pastoral conflicts, haunts for major bandits, kidnappers, and road cutters, and a refuge for Boko Haram, sometimes threatening peace in the sub-region.”  He added that the training would empower Cameroonian and Chadian journalists to report in ways capable of attracting national and international attention to the conflict in the region for solution-driven action plans.  

The Project Officer for CJID’s Conflict, Security, and Human Rights Project, Ms. Oluwapelumi Oginni, acknowledges the support of the Open Society Foundation-Africa for the training, noting that regional and trans-regional collaborations are central to the ongoing effort to curtail further escalations of conflict in the Lake Chad Basin. According to her, “CJID is reputable for its commitment to ensuring peace in the Lake Chad Basin, especially by organising training for journalists to improve their capacity in conflict reporting. Previously, we trained journalists in Nigeria and moved to Cameroon and Chad. Plans are also currently ongoing to train journalists in Niger in conflict reporting. We appreciate the Open Society Foundation for its unflinching support. Our activities test the importance of regional and trans-regional partnerships in ensuring regional peace.”

On completion of the training, selected journalists will be supported to write about various conflict situations, including the economy of insecurity and human rights violations in Cameroon and Chad. These reports will catalyse strategic interventions and policy actions towards human rights protection and engender improved stability in the countries.

About the workshop 

The training theme is Data Journalism and Investigative Journalism on the Conflicts Around Lake Chad” and is scheduled to take place from 7th – 9th December 2023 in Douala, Cameroon. 

The training programme will cover critical aspects of conflict reporting. A selection process was conducted, and fifteen journalists from Cameroon and Chad who have demonstrated inherent abilities and technical skills in conflict reporting have been shortlisted to participate in the training.

Through a series of interactive sessions, participants will gain a deeper understanding of the conflict’s historical, political, and social context in the Lake Chad Basin, including the various actors involved and the implications for the local population. Additionally, the training will equip journalists with practical skills in conflict-sensitive reporting, ethical considerations, and digital security. It will enable them to produce accurate and balanced news stories, contributing to greater public awareness and informed debates.