Community-Based Reporters Drive Conservation Advocacy To Grassroots

Community-Based Reporters Drive Conservation Advocacy To Grassroots

Some 30 reporters drawn from media organs across different communities of the Northwest and Southwest Regions, have strengthened their resolve, to drive biodiversity conservation advocacy to the grassroots.

Yanick Fonki Ndeley

Inspired by a 3 days capacity workshop on biodiversity conservation, organised recently by a Civil Society Organisation (CSO), AfricaPhonie, the reporters are using local tools and illustrations, to pass their conservation message.

According to the reporters, they bridge the communication gab by breaking down to the simplest forms, the importance of protecting plants and animals. They added that, they capture the interest of the community by making their programmes lively and participative, while passing out their biodiversity conservation message.

“I run a call-in programme call Cultural Roundabout. While I bring up a topic for discussion, I also seize the huge participation of the common man, to give them tips on how they can contribute their own quota, in conservation biodiversity. I breakdown the information to the lingua franca of the community, which is pidgin-English,” highlighted Imma Nkong, a reporter with MediAfrik radio in Buea.

Others go as far as bringing together community members who have been affected in one way or the war by the fluctuation of weather, to discuss their challenges on live radio, so others can identify themselves in the problem. The reporters then bring in experts in the environment challenges, who give practical tips on mitigating the challenges.

“In my programme, You and Your Environment, I invite farmers, who are facing problems of fluctuation of weather, and then bring in resource persons, who tell the communities that if they abandon their traditional practises like bush burning, and felling down of trees, they shall have the weather be fixed to its normal rotations. Through the interactions I get from callers, and in the community, I believe there is some kind on mentality change. Farmers’ area now looking for the best farming techniques, which will prevent them from burning or felling down trees. Thanks to God, an agronomists introduced the agroforestry farming system in my community. That Is the modern farming system the farmers are now adapting to,” Eric Mbiamy, a reporter from the Boyo Community Radio, Northwest Region.

The journalists are striving to change mind-set through practical illustrations during their local programmes on radio. According to them, the move will bring the communities in the management and control of biodiversity, such that every action carried, would have sustainable development captured.


AfricaPhonie Trains Conservation Reporters

In a bid to facilitate the reporters acquire the necessary skills in reporting conservation issues in local languages, the Africa Phone CSO, trained the 30 journalists on the laws, policy, and governance issues, surrounding conservation in Cameroon.

Facilitators used the opportunity to empower the reporters with rights and obligations of every community member, in the conservation of biodiversity. They build the capacity of the reporters on what communities stand to benefit, if they break away from their traditional norms and believes towards biodiversity, and instead embrace modern methods of sustainable development.

“With the agroforestry system of farming, farmers can use one piece of land for several years, simply by planting trees that improve on soil fertility.  In that way, we can avoid this issue of bush fires and deforestation, as farmers indulge in farming mobility when they realise that their old farms no longer yield much as before. That also contribute to deforestation,” elucidated Besong Simon, Conservator of Mt Cameroon National Park.

The organiser of the workshop, Mwalimu George Ngwane, said the work was timely. According to him, communities need to be sensitised on the dangers pose to the environment, by the little decisions they take from their various homes. He beckoned on the journalists to use all methods at their disposal to drive the biodiversity conservation message to the grassroots.