Story | 08 Oct, 2019

Citizen journalism: providing opportunities for local communities in Lao PDR to share the environmental issues they face

From 23 to 26 September, IUCN Lao PDR organised a citizen journalism training in Champhone district, Savannakhet province. Around 30 community members from the 16 villages located within the Xe Champhone Ramsar site and staff from the District and Provincial Offices of the Natural Resources and Environment attended the four-day training.

The training, conducted as part of the  “Mekong WET: Building Resilience of Wetlands in the Lower Mekong Region” project,  aims to encourage and empower local communities to produce video reports in order to raise awareness about climate change impacts in the Xe Champhone wetland, amongst the general public.

Journalists from national media outlets, Lao National Television and Lao Star TV, taught the local community how to produce news reports, specifically focusing on the concepts of information gathering and analysis. The trainers also taught the local community members how to edit videos using just the smart phone and a video editing app.

“Through this training, the villagers will acquire the necessary skillsets to report on climate change impacts such as flooding and drought, among others. They will also learn how to produce visual stories on nature-based solutions, with a specific focus on the conservation and restoration of wetland ecosystems”, said Khamphat Xeuangsing, Programme Field Coordinator, IUCN Lao PDR, during his opening remarks.   

The trainers also emphasised the importance of planning, shared lessons on what to consider when thinking about how many interviews should be conducted, and what the focus of the story should be.   

“This training is very important for local community members as they are the ones residing near the wetlands, where floods and other environmental problems occur. Their reports will shed some light on how climate change affects them and their villages.” said Southiphone Phafong, news anchor and trainer from Lao Star TV.

When the workshop concluded, the local community members had produced four video reports, as part of their practical training at the Monkey Forest and Sui Reservoir Lake in Champhone District.

Over the next year, local community members will produce video reports, which will be broadcasted by Lao Star TV and Lao National TV. 

 “This training is very valuable because village representatives now have access to national mass media networks. They can capitalise on these networks to share their environmental challenges with a wider audience.” said Keo oudone Julamontry, Deputy Officer, District Office of Natural Resources and Environment, Champhone District.

Another citizen journalism training will be held in November 2019 in Champassak province, for local community members residing near the Beung Kiat Ngong Ramsar site located in Pathoumphone district.


About Mekong Wet

Funded by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), the “Mekong WET: Building Resilience of Wetlands in the Lower Mekong Region” project aims to build climate resilience by harnessing the benefits of wetlands in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand, and Viet Nam. Mekong WET, to be implemented until 2020, will help these countries address their commitments to the Ramsar Convention, an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands and to achieve the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. The project is also supporting the Indo-Burma Ramsar Regional Initiative (IBRRI) and the implementation of the IBRRI strategic plan 2019-2024.