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NABJ Joins with U.N. to Cover Climate Change and Development in Senegal

DAKAR, Senegal, Nov. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Journalists from leading U.S. news organizations are heading to Senegal on a press trip organized by the United Nations and the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) on Dec. 1-9, to report on the impact of climate change, the fight against HIV/AIDS and malaria, education, and new infrastructure construction, within the framework of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

During trip the journalists will visit development initiatives in local communities. Among these are a "green wall" tree planting project lessen the impact of climate change, projects to manage local ecosystems and restore lands affected by environmental degradation, and a "Millennium Village" engaged in efforts to reduce poverty and improve lives by achieving the MDGs that all countries have endorsed. They will also see the large-scale infrastructure construction underway in Dakar and the rest of the country.

Bouri Sanhouidi, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Senegal, said: "The United Nations country team is working on projects with the Government that help advance progress towards achieving the MDGs, and this is a good opportunity to convey these successes to the international media."

The journalists will cover the launch in Dakar on 6 December of an exciting CD entitled "We are the Drums of Africa," featuring all-star African musicians from across the continent brought together by the United Nations to promote HIV/AIDS prevention.

Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade extended an invitation for the trip to NABJ President Barbara Ciara at a meeting at the United Nations in September. "Apart from the epic tragedy in Darfur, famine and tyranny are on the wane throughout the continent, and the overwhelming majority of Africans are in better health and living longer," he told her.

For more than two decades, the NABJ and the United Nations have partnered to provide U.S.-based journalists with insight into important international development issues, especially those relating to Africa; and access to development initiatives and key decision-makers.

"This is a rare and valuable opportunity for NABJ members to gain experience in international reporting, while providing a window into this part of the world to U.S. audiences," said Ms. Ciara.

The trip honors the memory of NABJ member Akilah Amapindi, a recent university graduate who had been working on the Student Radio project at the 2005 NABJ Convention in Atlanta. Ms. Amapindi died on the last day of the convention after contracting malaria during an earlier visit to Africa.

"The United Nations is very pleased to partner once again with NABJ in arranging for journalists to cover key development issues," said Djibril Diallo of the United Nations, who also chairs the NABJ World Affairs Task Force. "The journalists will have a great opportunity to see key initiatives and through the media to raise awareness about Senegal's development challenges and achievements."

The NABJ World Affairs Task Force organized the trip in cooperation with the United Nations country team in Senegal and the Government.

During the past two years, NABJ and the United Nations have set up an Internship Program for the U.N. Youth Leadership Summit Series, have collaborated to arrange a press trip to Tanzania in May 2006 so journalists could report on the campaign against malaria and have arranged for a team of student journalists from UNITY: Journalists of Color to cover the United Nations Global Youth Leadership Summit in October 2006.

The NABJ Media Institute International Fellowships for the trip are made possible through support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, The International Reporting Project.

In addition to Ms. Ciara, television news anchor and managing editor with WTKR, Norfolk, Va., NABJ members selected for the press trip include Bob Butler, KCBS Radio, San Francisco; Cindy George, Houston Chronicle; Kafia Hosh, The (Fredericksburg, Va.) Free-Lance Star; Travers Johnson, The (Morehouse College) Maroon Tiger, Atlanta; Ojinika Obiekwe, WPIX-TV, New York; Khadijah White, NOW on PBS, New York; and Regina Boone, The Detroit Free Press. John Yearwood, Miami Herald world editor and former NABJ treasurer, helped organize the mission and will accompany the group.

SOURCE National Association of Black Journalists
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