The social action arm of the Catholic Church in the Philippines will conduct community journalism workshops in various dioceses as part of its ecology and good governance programs.
“Our goal is to enhance or equip our social action workers, who are also the first responders during a humanitarian crisis, with storytelling skills,” said Jing Rey Henderson, communications head of Caritas Philippines.
Henderson said the training workshop includes data gathering, basic reporting, and visual literacy, “which our church workers need to deliver accurate and truthful information.”
Caritas Philippines is set to visit the dioceses of Virac, Marbel, and Tandag in November to provide community journalism training to social action center personnel, youth ministry members, and lay leaders.
Henderson said diocesan social action workers are always first to respond during disasters and “are also the source of the first images and pieces of information” about situations in a disaster-stricken community.
“We recognize the important role of social action workers in information dissemination, and the delivery of accurate and validated information to the public,” she said.
The training workshop also aims to produce local church communicators who will “ventilate and nationalize ecological advocacy and other social concerns” in dioceses.
In June, Caritas Philippines announced that it will give a “strategic focus” on its ecology and good governance programs to “ensure that no one is left behind amid (the) worsening climate crisis.”
Father Renato dela Rosa, social action director of the Diocese of Virac, said the training workshop will help increase the numbers of “equipped truth tellers and eco-warriors” in the diocese.
In November 2020, the Diocese of Virac in the island province of Catanduanes was devastated by Typhoon Rolly (international name: Goni) that destroyed communication lines and left significant damage to infrastructure and agriculture.
“At that time, we were focused on documenting and assessing the impact of the typhoon. We got a lot of images and information that could have been used by Church-run media or mainstream news organizations as content,” said the priest.
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