(Project No: CMR-11-414) Developing a Democratic culture in Rural Communities using Radio in Cameroon
Change Communications implemented a 2-year project: “Developing a Democratic Culture in Rural Communities using Radio in Cameroon” funded by the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF). This project was aimed at transforming radio broadcasting into an instrument for the popularization of democratic values and practices in rural Cameroon.
To achieve this, Change Communications had to build the professional skills of journalists from community radio stations, create Democracy Debate Clubs in secondary schools, and establish Regional Associations of Rural Radio Broadcasters for the Promotion of Grassroots Democracy.
Change Communications trained 231 journalists in Cameroon including 83 women and 9 trainees from the minority Mbororo and Pigmy communities. We have equally created nine (09) Regional Associations of Rural Radio Broadcasters for the Promotion of Grassroots Democracy in Cameroon and nine (09) Democracy Debate Clubs in high schools.
At the end of the project, Change Communications awarded a prize to STONE FM radio in Ndop as the best democracy-promoting community radio station.
The project ended on 31 January 2015.
Family photo of workshop participants in Kumba with the Deputy British High Commissioner to Cameroon who presided at the opening of the training in Kumba
From March- May 2012, we trained a total of 215 agents of development committees in poor neighbourhoods of five Cameroonian towns and cities - Douala, Yaounde, Bamenda, Maroua, Mbalmayo – on how to use communication for social mobilisation. Specifically, we drilled them on how to carry out persuasive communication to convince beneficiaries of poverty-reduction projects to adhere to, and participate in the implementation of such projects. The training was funded by the World Bank Office in Yaounde through the Cameroon Ministry of Urban Development.
Training Workshop on Climate Change For Community Radio Broadcasters
We carried out a training workshop in Kumba (22 - 24 February 2010) on techniques of producing programs on Climate Change for Community Radio Broadcasters from the West and South West Regions of Cameroon.
The workshop was funded by the Government of the United Kingdom through the British High Commission in Cameroon. A similar training was conducted a month before in Garoua for the broadcaster in the semi-desert regions of Northern Cameroon
Change Communications has obtained a grant from WWF Russel E-Train Education for Nature Program, (EFN), a conservation body based in Washington DC – USA, to train 16 community radio journalists in a 3-day workshop to hold in Kumba October 5 – 7, 2015. The trainees are selected from eight radio stations in the region. The workshop is aimed at trainingcommunity radio journalists on how to produce educative programs on biodiversity conservation.
The workshop is being organized as a pre-emptive measure to address enormous potential pressures on forest resources in the area which are likely going to be triggered by a 400 km long international highway that runs across Cameroon’s tropical forest to neighboring Nigeria. Construction work on the Kumba-Mamfe section of that road is under construction, and work on the Bamenda-Mamfe-Ekok-Nigeria road is already over 90% completed. These roads constitute Cameroon’s segment of the Lagos-Mombasa-Trans-African Highway, (LMTAH). When the highway opens to international traffic, it is going to provoke tremendous pressure and negative impacts on the forest resources, especially forest plant food resources known locally, as eru, njangsa, bush mango, bush pepper,bush onion,andbitter kola. In fact, some of these resources have already been harvested to near extinction in some parts of the region. In 2013, a World Bank funded study indicated that, Cameroon exports about 4000 tons of eru annually to Nigeria, and this quantity represents about 78% of the overall volume of international trade in eru. The South West Region is one of the biggest exporters of eru to Nigeria...
Wildlife conservation efforts in the area are equally threatened, and will be more so when that superb highway, the first tarred road in the area in over 70 years opens to traffic soon. An NGO based in Yaoundé –The Last Great Apes – LAGA – which supports wildlife law enforcement in the Congo Basin states that, between July 2006 and August 2014, about 50 criminal cases of illegal hunting, trafficking and trade in protected wildlife species (including elephants) were handled in courts across the South West Region of Cameroon. The situation is likely going to be far worse, for the road to be opened will provide easy access to animal and plant sanctuaries. It will also provide easy and cheap transportation of resources illegally gotten from the forest. Given the potential for quick and cheap monies that derive from sale of bush meat and plant food resources, dealers from cities in Cameroon and Nigeria will certainly rush in and accelerate overexploitation.
Protected areas in the SWR region – created by the government to enhance conservation – will come under severe pressure from both local and city-based dealers in the commercial value chain of bush meat and non-timber forest products. Unique wildlife species 100% protected by law like chimpanzees, African forest elephants, drills, giant pangolins, giant African tortoises and the Cross River Gorilla a specie that is endemic to the area.
This training is part of pro-active efforts to address these challenges. In this regard, Change Communications going to train 16 community radio journalists in:
After training, the journalists will be able to use their radio platforms to inform and educate the local people on the dangerous consequences of overharvesting forest resources. To do this, they have to produce, knowledge- enriching and awareness-building radio programs tailored to induce change of attitudes and practices at the individual and community levels. Such programs are also expected to instill a spirit of pride and sense of collective ownership of the wonderful and unique qualities of various animal and plant species in the forests of the South West Region.
The funding agency of the workshop, WWF Russel E-Train Education for Nature Program, (EFN)is a conservation body based in Washington DC – USA. It works to help build capacity of individuals and institutions through “short-term training and practical experience needed to take on conservation challenges in their home countries and regions”. Concretely, EFN provides supports non-governmental organizations, community groups, government agencies, and educational institutions in conducting training courses and workshops in WWF priority ecoregions (including Cameroon) on topics of importance for local and regional conservation efforts.