Eco balance is running a series on radios in the South West Region of Cameroon dubbed ‘wa forest, wa money’ meaning our forests, our ATMs. The programme, which comes up Mondays and Fridays on environment slots on Bonakanda & Tiko Council Community radios, started in September to run till October 18.
Organised within the framework of the Irvingia Project, the radio series is aimed at raising the awareness of about 50% of the local population around the Mt Cameroon National Park. It highlights the importance and richness of Cameroon’s forests, especially in terms of non-timber forest products with the goal of bringing local people to perceive forests as ATMs, capable of providing money all year round in the form of spices, fruits, nuts, medicinal herbs etc. It is hoped that through this radio programme, rural women will increase the market value of forest products by processing them and youths will take the responsibility to protect the forests, their heritage.
Inspired by the impact of the radio series, the Station Manager of Tiko Council Community Radio, Mr. Ngong Ivo, expressed his wish for a long term partnership with the project. “I am glad that an initiative like this is coming to Tiko. It directly speaks to people who want ‘hot money’ and cut trees for it. Tiko also has mangroves and a program like this can help change people’s attitudes towards them and save us the stress of floods,” he said.
The Executive Director of Eco Balance said they hope to extend the series to Revival, Ocean City, and Mediafrique radios, all in Fako Division.
It should be noted that Cameroon has over 710 different species of such products and the market value of 45 stands at over US$1.028 billion annually.