Linah Mwamachi at Tsavo West National Park during her story assignment.
It was yet another red-letter day for our SIFA FM Station in Voi, as news came in that her reporter Linah Mwamachi was among the top six journalists from East Africa enlisted to benefit from the Wildlife Trafficking and Conservation grant from InfoNile through a project funded by Internews’ Earth Journalism Network. (EJN).
Driven by her passion in climate change, farming, wildlife and environmental conservation, Linah seized the opportunity from InfoNile that required journalists to uncover critical stories about wildlife habitat decline, wildlife trafficking and effective responses and solutions to these problems in East Africa. She then applied to do a Radio Feature titled "Curbing Human Wildlife Conflict Through Planting Trees"
As posted on the website, InfoNile’s current concern is the international wildlife trade, the sale of bushmeat and human encroachment on wildlife habitats that can be linked to the rise of new diseases including COVID-19. Governments and conservationists on the other hand are struggling to develop approaches to protect East Africa’s spectacular natural heritage and reduce the potential for new, health threats due to wildlife trade and habitat destruction. As a way of finding & highlighting mitigation measures InfoNile invited journalists in East Africa (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan) to apply for grants on Wildlife Trafficking and Conservation.
Under the grant program, the top 15 shortlisted applicants were invited to a special online training on Data Journalism and Effective Wildlife Reporting. After the training sessions, only six applicants from the 15 would then qualify for the grants.
Through her Radio feature, Linah hopes to highlight on how planting of trees is very vital in controlling human wildlife conflict. Coming from Taita Taveta County that has The Tsavo East National Park which is one of Kenya’s largest park, Linah has had a direct experience of human wildlife conflict thus the concern to highlight on the impacts and possible solutions.
*“…Congratulations! You have been awarded a reporting grant of $400 to pursue the story; Curbing Human Wildlife Conflict Through Planting Trees., funded by Internews’ Earth Journalism Network for InfoNile. Your story will be published as an interactive feature on the InfoNile and Africa Water Journalists websites and on the media house: Sifa FM Voi. This will be an in-depth reporting project focused on Wildlife Trafficking and Conservation Solutions in East Africa. …We will also support you to report safely during this COVID-19 pandemic. We shall provide guidelines for you to follow so that your health and safety is prioritized in the reporting process...” *Read part of the letter she received in July.
When we reached out for her reaction to the news, Linah could not hide her joy. “I was very happy when I received the news that my feature proposal was successful. I least expected it because there were many applicants. I thank God for giving me this chance." She said.
Mr. Edgar Kalimbo, the Station Manager for SIFA FM Voi welcomed the News saying that it was a demonstration that hard work & determination pays because Linah had unsuccessfully tried to apply for other grants. It’s also success is a motivator to the rest of the team as it also put the station on another level of impacting the society in positively as create environmental awareness.
For Linah this is her second environmental award for this year having bagged another IGAD award early in the year.The feature is expected to be ready by mid August - read more.
Tsavo East Red elephants photo from Wildlife Works (based in Taita Taveta)
On behalf of Trans World Radio Kenya & SIFA FM stations we say congratulations Linah and we give God all the glory for honoring Sifa FM Stations.