Climate Storytelling: The crisis and the opportunity

By Climate Storylab ZA, Doc Society (Climate Story Unit), STEPS & GIPA

Members of the public are worried. 

The world’s largest ever survey on the public opinion on climate change by UNDP shows 65% of the people believe that climate change is a global emergency and the majority are calling for a wide range of action from their governments.

Our communities are experiencing first hand,  the existential crisis that is climate change. We know it, through droughts, floods, cyclones, hunger, loss of livelihoods and culture. Governments are stretched to capacity by post pandemic economic stressors, rising external debt, political upheavals and a global social economic system that’s struggling to adapt to the complexity of the crisis. As a confluence of challenges unfold, Africa is continually portrayed as a victim. We know these types of narratives too well. They do not define who we are. 

So what are the stories we must tell to meet this moment? Where must these stories be seen and experienced to shift the narrative? What is our vision of a climate just future? Collectively our work shapes imagination and influences culture. As custodians of public interest media at varying levels, are we doing enough in our storytelling and programming to reflect the struggle, hopes and aspirations of our communities grappling with this crisis? 

We have curated four sessions that will unpack climate narratives production, programming and unconventional routes to audiences. 

In collaboration with, Climate Storylab ZA, Doc Society – Climate Story Unit, STEPS & GIPA

Session 1


Date: 19/07/2024
Time: 15:45 -16:45


At two minutes to midnight, what is the role of creatives in sounding the alarm? The climate crisis is an existential threat that is extremely deadly for our communities on the continent. What timeless power do storytellers have to shift narratives, challenge the status quo and inspire change? Come join us for a soapbox style discussion, led by award winning filmmakers and activists as we take stock of the crisis. We will dare to envision an abundant future seeded in justice through narratives that resonate with our realities and agency. 


Nasreen Al Amin – Director Surge Africa & Climate Story Lab Lagos  (Confirmed) Kudzayi Ngwerume – Communications & Engagement Manager UMI Fund (Confirmed)
Pete Murimi – Development Executive Producer BBC Africa Eye (Confirmed)
Simeon Letoole  – Human Rights Activist & Protagonist: Battle for Laikipia Film(Confirmed)
Kumi Naidoo – Climate Activist and former Director of Greenpeace (On recorded Video)


Anita Khanna – Director | Producer : Uhuru Productions
Emily Wanja – Director of African Programmes : Doc Society

Session 2


Date: 20/07/2024
Time: 12:30-13:30


In the early 2000’s the world and in particular the African continent was staring down the barrel of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Miscommunication, denialism and fake news was hampering efforts to tackle the problem, Sound familiar?

It was through the collective will of scientists, activists, political leaders, civil society, innovators and the media that we turned the tide on HIV/AIDS related deaths.

We need to harness the same kind of collective focus and political will to address the climate crisis. Film-makers can only create impactful content with the support of  funders and broadcasters who take the threat serious enough to prioritise climate content. This ship cannot turn itself around. We need conscious decisions with regards to programming and we need the funding to support the work. In this interactive discussion, we  invite funders, broadcasters, alternative distributors and content creators to share innovative partnerships to reach audiences for impactful climate communication.


Nadine Cloete  – NFVF
James Smart – Managing Editor, Nation Media Group  (Confirmed)
Pete Murimi – Development Executive Producer, BBC Africa Eye (Confirmed)
Pragna Parsotam-Kok – Executive Director, NEWF
Nonto Sibanyoni – Producer, Sunshine Cinema  (Confirmed)
Theresa Hill/Tiny Mungwe – Deputy Director, STEPS
Cindy Makandi – Founder | Director, Tunga Afrika


Miki Redelinghuys  Co-director, Climate Story Lab ZA, Filmmaker

Session 3


Date: 21/07/2024
Time: 14:30-15:30
Venue : TBC


Using three case studies from the continent, this session aims to empower impact producers by providing them with the tools and insights necessary to develop effective impact strategies for their films. Our panel will explore key issues such as identifying target audiences, setting measurable goals, leveraging partnerships, and using media and outreach to maximise impact. By delving into real-world case studies and sharing best practices, we aim to equip you with practical knowledge and innovative approaches to amplify your film’s social, cultural, and environmental influence.


Emily Wanja – Thank You For The Rain Impact Producer
Rumbi Katedza – Transactions Director
Anita Khanna – Temperature Rising Co-Director

Moderator (s)

Tiny Mungwe – Producer, Deputy Director, STEPS

Session 4


Date: 22/07/2024
Time: 13:15 -14:15


The Global Impact Producers’ Alliance (GIPA) and Climate Story Labs invite selected projects to participate in a blitz impact design and idea sharing session with impact strategists from the continent. This promises to be a high energy, interactive and inspirational session that will benefit all attendees, not just the creatives behind the selected projects.

Impact Producers:

Liani Maasdorp – Co-director, Climate Story Lab ZA
Emily Wanja  – Director of African Programmes : Doc Society
Tiny Mungwe – Producer, Deputy Director, STEPS
Nasreen Al Amin – Director Surge Africa & Climate Story Lab Lagos 


Miriam Ayoo – Co-Coordinator, Global Impact Producers Alliance (GIPA)