Webinar: Science and Communication around the GERD dam – How journalists can combat misinformation

Part 1 in The Damming of the Nile Webinar Series

How can journalists combat political conflict and misinformation covering Africa’s soon-to-be largest hydropower dam?

In August, Ethiopia started to fill the colossal Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on its segment of the Nile, a people-funded project that will become the largest hydroelectric power project in Africa. 

While Ethiopia hopes the dam will provide electricity to catapult the nation into economic prosperity, downstream Egypt fears a decline in its water supply, which has been dependent on the Nile for thousands of years. Escalating political tensions and nationalistic online debates have inflamed Ethiopians and Egyptians alike, while years of negotiations have so far failed to result in tangible agreements over the dam’s fill rate or how to mitigate its impacts.

This InfoNile/Water Journalists Africa webinar, held on Tuesday, 13th October 2020, provided a forum to discuss science and communication around the GERD, in an effort to help journalists report in a more nuanced, fact and science-based way that supports transboundary cooperation rather than conflict.

Water researchers Kevin Wheeler from the University of Oxford and Mohammed Basheer from the University of Manchester share their scientific research around maximizing the benefits while managing the potential impacts of the GERD for all Nile Basin countries, including in times of climate change and drought.

The discussion also highlights top Nile Basin journalist Peter Schwartzstein, political risk analyst Ola Owojori, and researcher/social activist Mekdelawit Messay, who share advice for how to conduct informative, fact-based communication about the GERD to work toward cooperation in the Nile Basin. Lujain Alsedeg, InfoNile Sudan Coordinator and freelance journalist, moderates.

Contact infonile2017@gmail.com to request access to the researchers’ presentations.


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