Thursday, April 15, 2010


By James Achanyi-Fontem
in Kumbo

His Royal Highness Selm Mbinglo I of Nso, Bui Division of the North West region of Cameroon has prescribed togetherness as an ingredient for the development of families. He was speaking during the revival of the culture of Nso people during its festival in Kumbo from 3rd to 10th April 2010.
The people of Nso from all over the country turned out to exhibit their traditional adherence to Ngonnso, as they dressed in traditional regalia at their decorated Nso palace, where drums, tam tam, the gongs and flutes sounded for one full week all day round.
It was an occasion for showcasing Nso tradition, culture, royal dances and the exhibition of arts and crafts with traditional foods of the people of that part of Cameroon. The Fons of Kom, Nkambe and Royal personalities from other parts of Cameroon attended the festival to support the people of Nso.
Other personalities seen at the event place were the Libyian Consulate, mohammed Abdel Salam, the special adviser to the Prime Minister, Francis Wadzela Fonye and Ex-minister Kibuh Henry Tume, just to name a few.
The Senior Divisional Officer for Bui, Daniel Panjouono, sat in as chair of the event for the minister of culture, Ama Tutu Muna. SDO Panjouono invited the people of Nso not to listen to any calls of disunity, division and disintegration of Cameroon.
HRH Fon Sehn Mbinglo I described the event as a big opportunity for the people of Nso to remain calm and care for themselves with their families. He added that living in peace and harmony with each other was beneficial to all,as he warned members of “Nwerong” and “Ngiri” societies to keep their bad habits behind for the well being of all.
As guests on the occasion wishes Nso people well, the president of Nso Development Association, NSODA, Shey Banmbuh Wilfred said, Ngonnso 2010 celebrated under the theme “One People, one Culture and One Identity”, was a realisation after the last event in 2008.
The Mayor of Kumbo Council, Donatus Njong Fonyuy, said Nso tradition and culture is very deep in the bones and marrows of his people and that it had to be preserved jealously in order to keep up the legacy of the ancestors for future generations.
The Libyian Diplomat, Mohammed Abdel Salam of the Libyian consulate thankes the Fon of Nso for extending an invitation to him for the event. He added, that Libyian President Kaddafi has chosen the Fon of Nso as his emissary to extend his message of peace and unity to all Fons of Africa, while calling on Africa to remain united under the Union of African states.
The sea of heads disappeared after April 10 with everyone carrying a special souvenir from the celebration grounds at Kumbo. It was really an event of sharing and exchanges.

Monday, April 5, 2010

FRI Cameroon Link Strategic Partnership Takes off

By FRI Cameroon
Farm Radio International (FRI) Canada and Cameroon Link have signed a strategic partnership that took effect from the 1st April 2010. Executive Director Kevin Perkins endorsed the partnership document on behalf of FRI and the Director of Publications, James Achanyi-Fontem signed on behalf of Cameroon Link.
Within the frame work of its Partnership Policy, Farm Radio International Canada enters into Strategic Partnership Agreements with organizations that share a commitment to serving the communication needs of smallholder farmers through effective radio services, and that have values and goals that are consistent with or complementary to those of Farm Radio International.
The agreement endorsed outlines the shared goals of both organizations and describes how they will work together to achieve the goals notably, the objectives to be achieved through collaboration; the expectations, roles and responsibilities of the organizations in achieving the goals; the mechanisms that will be used for ensuring regular, open and transparent communication amongst others.

Farm Radio International

Farm Radio International is a Canadian-based, not-for-profit organization working in direct partnership with over 325 radio broadcasters in 39 African countries to fight poverty and food insecurity. Its mission is to support broadcasters in developing countries to strengthen small-scale farming and rural communities. It was established 30 years ago in response to the fact that farm radio broadcasts in the global south did not, for the most part, serve small-scale farmers. Rather, they were geared toward large-scale commercial farmers – an audience with very different needs from the largely subsistence farmers that make up the large majority of the populations of these regions. By producing and sharing radio scripts, a weekly news and information service, and other valuable resources with radio broadcasters, Farm Radio International improves the relevance and quality and increases the quantity of farm radio programming of partner stations that, collectively, serve some 220 million small-scale farmers in Africa.
Cameroon Link
Cameroon Link is a registered charity, not-for-profit organisation created on the 9th September 1991 with head office in Douala, Cameroon. Its objectives include the promotion of food security through interaction with small scale peasant farmers and breeders with media practitioners, especially those involved in community radio action. Media action focuses on poverty alleviation through the promotion of food and nutrition, community health development, women’s empowerment, human assistance, advocacy, education and communication on the rights to adequate food for all.
Cameroon Link was certified on the 23rd November, 1992 as a national umbrella NGO of professional dialogue groups of communication specialists, journalists, agriculture, health and social welfare workers, following a crucial lack of good circulation of information on self-help development policies, social welfare, infant and young child nutrition and food-self sufficiency in Cameroon. Cameroon Link coordinates activities of some 23 Community Based Organisations (CBO) interacting with farmers and breeders in six (6) of Cameroon’s ten (10) regions with community radio linkages.
Cameroon’s estimated target audience through community radio is 20.000.000 listeners, 65% of who are peasant farmers and breeders with very low income sources. Cameroon Link was broadcasting partner with Developing Countries Farm Radio Network Canada for over 20 years.
To achieve its goals, Cameroon Link organises media advocacy and social mobilisation activities, networking exchanges, capacity building trainings, conferences, symposia, seminars, and information and communication campaigns in collaboration with community radio stations. In 1996, Cameroon Link won the George Atkins Rural Communication Award and on the 30th March 2004, Cameroon Link Youth for Development Association (Camlink Y4DA) was created to address gender and youth empowerment issues due to the vulnerability of the girl child at puberty age.
The Shared or complementary goals, values, and strategies with the frame work of the current agreement include:
* Serve rural communities.
* Encourage journalistic activity that is characterized by accuracy, fairness and balance.
* Support the use of radio to ensure that knowledge is shared with the widest appropriate audience and that farmers have an opportunity for effective involvement in decision-making processes which affect them.
* Support practices, policies and technologies that promote sustainable and equitable development.
* Encourage community self-reliance and control of local development.
* Respect local cultures and the voices and decisions of farmers and their communities.
* Encourage social and economic change that is beneficial to small-scale farmers and farming families and that is gender inclusive and respectful of cultural diversity.
* Support building broadcaster capacity in production, technical, journalistic, and other skills.
The ultimate objective of the partnership is to increase the extent to which farmers in Cameroon are able to benefit from the information and communication services that are made available to them by radio. This ultimate objective is pursued by enabling Cameroon radio broadcasters to provide listeners with more and better programming for farmers and rural communities. To this end, the partnership will:
* Increase the number of radio broadcasters that receive Farm Radio International’s information services, including script packages and Farm Radio Weekly
* Increase the extent to which broadcasters use the resources of Farm Radio International
* Strengthen the input and feedback that comes to Farm Radio International from broadcasters related to its services, enabling FRI to improve the quality and relevance of its services
* Gather more information about how broadcasters use FRI resources and how listeners respond to the radio programs that are based on them.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


By James Achanyi-Fontem
FRI Cameroon
The Mayor of Menji, Lebialem Council, Chief Colonel Fobellah Daniel, lauded the excellent relations between Japan and Cameroon during the official reception of works on the pylon, antenna and studio equipment of Lebialem Community Radio on the 25th March 2010.
Chief Colonel Fobellah Daniel was thanking His Excellency, The Japanese Ambassador to Cameroon, Keiji Yamamoto during his first visit to Menji, Lebialem. The Japanese Embassy accorded financial support to the Lebialem Association for Rural Communication for the realisation of works at the community radio for greater outreach of the populations.
In 1995, the Government of Japan through its Embassy supported Mary Health of Africa Hospital in Menji with the sum of CFA 20.000.000 for the purchase of some medical equipment that continues to be of service to thousands of patients in Lebialem. The last assistance showed the importance the government of Japan through its Embassy accords to the enclave Lebialem population in the south west region of Cameroon.
Lebialem Community Radio permits the local authorities to reach out to the population at any time and in the official and local languages. Lebialem has basically a rural population spread across the 1.000 hills and valleys, Mayor Fobellah echoed, while describing the people as very hardworking and hospitable. Through the radio, long distances are overcome and broadcasters can report on the well being of populations in all villages of Lebialem, he added.
The radio signs through the works now extend to all the nooks and corners of Lebialem Division, thereby assisting the audience to discuss on the use of improved agriculture in puts, environmental conservation, and market prices of commodities, health and economic empowerment. Through the radio, the achievements, difficulties and wishes of Lebialem people can be made known to the entire world and fast solutions would be found through rapid interventions.
On behalf of the population, the Mayor said, Lebialem found in Japan a friend in need who is a friend indeed. Through the readiness to fund organised groups to help them carryout projects in favour of the low income class and underprivileged, while contributing to development and improvement of their living standards, they feel that development is on the right track. The councillors guaranteed the sustainability of the radio through maintaining the equipment and assistance to the volunteer staff within the limits of the council budgets. The Mayor announced the donation of a piece of land for the construction of a befitting Radio House to secure the durable equipment offered by the Japanese. This will make future generations to benefit from the assistance you have given today.
The Menji Council Mayor used the opportunity to inform the Japanese Ambassador that his council lacks equipment to build and maintain the roads in the region, especially as the farm to market roads are constructed and maintained only by hands with rudimentary equipments.
The president of Lebialem Association for Rural Communication, LARC, Atabong George Atemnkeng told the audience present that the inaugurated project including the relay pylon antenna constructed at Letia village and the renovated Studio of Lebialem Community radio in Menji is estimated at CFA 28.500.000frs. The Japanese Government on the 8th January 2009 gave a non-refundable financial assistance for the project amounting to the sum of CFA 20.278.000 as an initiate contribution.
The board members of LARC, the Councils of Alou, Menji and Wabane, LCR itself and the community contributed CFA 8.000.000 to complete the project budget.
Modifications made in the course of the execution of the pylon antenna and equipping of the Lebialem Community Radio Studio included a change of the site of the antenna to a higher altitude for signals to extend to Wabane sub division; the change in the pylon material from galvanized pipe to angle bar; electricity extension to the site covering a distance of about a kilometre from the studio; a compressor and the acquisition of a new transmitter.
Close to 90% of Lebialem division’s population receives signals of Lebialem Community Radio. The radio signals are received in parts of Manyu Division, Kupe Manegueba in Nguti sub division, parts of North West Region, West Region, Meme division, Fako division and even the Littoral region of Cameroon.
Since LCR is now equipped, its next quest from donor agencies is funding for capacity building training of the local volunteer broadcasters. The station now strives to increase the information package on agriculture issues, gender, education on health and programmes for fighting poverty as top priority.