A lack of easily accessible climate information has left communities around the world vulnerable to the changing and extreme weather patterns that impact their day-to-day lives. The government of Cameroon is tackling this issue in an innovative way: by working with local radio stations to broadcast climate adaptation programs, including weather alerts, disaster preparedness strategies, and information on other environmental issues.
“Though I was born in Limbe, which is a coastal town, and have lived (through) the effects of devastating heavy rains and floods, we hitherto did not give much attention to climate oriented news,” said 33-year-old Emma Moto, the station manager of Eden Radio. “I am now well aware of the importance of the media when it comes to early warnings on climate-triggered and other natural disasters,” Moto added.
According to Zachee Nzohngandembou, coordinator of the Centre for Environment and Rural Transformation (CERUT), scarcity of information on climate change is one of the major obstacles hindering African farmers from taking adaptive measures to deal with it. He pointed to a study carried out by the government-supported Institute of Agricultural Research for Development in Ekona, which showed that over 80 percent of farmers had not taken any measures to adapt to changes in temperature and rainfall, blaming the lack of information among other factors.
“It is against this background that community radio could be useful as the right medium of broadcasting that is closest to the people at the grassroots level,” Nzohngandembou said.
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