Young communication fellows from Eastern Samar and Climate Tracker mentors pose for a photo on September 4, 2022.

Climate Tracker holds comms workshop for young advocates in The Philippines

Young climate advocates from Eastern Samar in the Philippines participated in a workshop conducted by Climate Tracker Asia and Oxfam Pilipinas that aimed to equip communicators with the right skills and knowledge to tell more grassroots stories. 

Seven climate advocates from youth-led organizations Balud, Sudao Green Minds, and Lanang Youth Eco Scouts gathered at Hotel Estrella in Tacloban City on September 2 to 4. 

The activity is part of the Communications Workshop for Young Advocates Fellowship.

Meet the fellows here

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(From left to right) Asia Journalism Mentor Gaea Cabico and Asia Regional Director Biena Magbitang.

The workshop—one of the first in-person seminars of Climate Tracker Asia since the COVID-19 pandemic started—sought to ensure that the fellows have the right skills they need to tell the stories of their communities such as news gathering, conducting interviews, pitching, outlining their stories, and producing multimedia articles and social media campaigns.

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Fellows pose for a photo with Climate Tracker mentors Biena Magbitang and Gaea Cabico, ABS-CBN journalist Sharon Evite, and Oxfam Pilipinas communications officer Geraldine Grace Honggang on September 4, 2022.

Oxfam Pilipinas’ communications officer Geraldine Grace Honggang discussed the best practices to reach different audiences on social media, and the platforms the organizations can utilize. Former ABS-CBN Tacloban news chief Sharon Evite talked about the importance of community storytelling and assisted the fellows in polishing their story pitches. 

Meanwhile, the session of Dakila Yee, assistant professor of the University of the Philippines Visayas Tacloban College, focused on disasters and climate justice. 

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University of the Philippines Visayas Tacloban College Assistant Professor Dakila Yee talks about disasters and climate change on September 3, 2022.

There was also a session on safety for journalists before, during and after fieldwork. 

Year of protected area

In the Philippines, 2022 was declared the “Year of Protected Areas.” Thus, the stories of the young advocates will focus on the role of protected areas in the fight against climate change.

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Fellows participate in a session on September 3, 2022.

Balud will write stories about the climate movement in Eastern Visayas and the role of “Bantay Dagat” in the conservation of a marine protected area. 

Meanwhile, fellows from Sudao Green Minds will explore the damage and recovery of mangroves post-Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda), and the role of this ecosystem in protecting coastal folk. 

Lanang Youth Eco Scouts will focus on the watersheds of Samar Island Natural Park, the country’s largest terrestrial protected area. 

Fellows are expected to publish their stories in November, in time for the 9th anniversary of the onslaught of Haiyan. Haiyan, one of the most powerful tropical cyclones ever recorded, left a trail of destruction in the Philippines, particularly in Eastern Visayas. 

Aside from writing long-form stories about their communities, the fellows will also launch a social media campaign. 

Highlight young advocates’ grassroots stories

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Climate Tracker mentors help participants outline their stories for the fellowship.

Ronan Renz Napoto, who leads Balud, said his experience with Climate Tracker has so far helped him see through different stories using diverse and creative lenses. 

“[The workshop] helped me think of better ways to highlight grassroots stories. More often we only think of the grand stories to share, I have never realized that we have powerful narratives hidden from the smallest details we encounter each day,” Napoto, 24, said. 

For Aprille Yodico, a 22-year-old member of Sudao Green Minds, the workshop was beneficial in her advocacy for climate action and justice. 

“Now, I have a clear picture of what kind of climate and environmental stories I want to share to the public to help them realize that it’s a now or never kind of situation already,” Yodico said. 

Other fellows include Shane Carmacete from Balud; Queenee Tisha Dela Cruz and Dianuz Emstien Dizcar from Sudao Green Minds; and Adrian Aspa and Gerry Campo from Lanang Youth Eco Scouts.