Reporting Trip I
January 28, 2013 – The IWMF has led the first of two reporting trips to Western Sahara as part of a fellowship program to bring attention to underreported stories there, with a focus on economic development issues.
As part of a year-long program to exchange knowledge with local journalists and gain firsthand insight into the region’s culture and economic development, the IWMF developed two reporting fellowships for women journalists to explore these issues. The first of group of journalists traveled to Western Sahara from December 3-December 7, 2012.
Funded by The Howard G. Buffett Foundation, this reporting trip was the first of its kind for the IWMF.
The group was granted unprecedented access to a number of sites and officials in Western Sahara including a tour of the PhosBouCraa mine and processing facilities, a trip to the phosphate port in Laayoune, a visit to the fishing port of Laayoune, meetings with officials at the UN Mission for a Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) and at the African Union office in Laayoune. The group conducted interviews with local officials, and met with Sahrawi activists, trade union representatives, as well as human rights workers. This trip marks the first time that Western journalists have been granted this level of access.
Before the reporting trip, participating journalists met with international experts on Western Sahara, who provided context on the territory’s economic activities and history.
The IWMF’s second reporting trip is scheduled to take place in May 2013.