No to Bushfires: How to communicate for better prevention and management

 By Bakah Derick 


Preventing or managing bushfires requires a good communication strategy. While organisations with the competences like Cameroon Gender and Environment Watch (CAMGEW) are engaging from several fronts including communication and sensitisation, community leaders and other stakeholders will require to also communicate effectively at this time. When we contacted our consultant Wirsiy Emmanuel Binyuy, Director of CAMGEW on ways of communication at this time he suggested the following 

There is need for organisation of training workshops, seminars, sensitization in social and cultural groups by key bushfire actors and concerned individuals and institutions like CAMGEW. 

Radio talks targeting communities with potentials of bushfires must be regular during this period.

Communities and organisations can also product and distribute bushfire posters/flyers, booklets, Forest signpost for sensitisation

The community needs to make use of the Town Criers for information and sensitization on bushfire at community level 

There is also need to use Forest users platform (hunters, bee farmers, herbalist, firewood fetchers) for sensitisation,

Men’s traditional club like Manjong, Mfuh houses, Traditional councils, Forest Management Institution (FMIs) platforms, Forest Honey Cooperatives could be trained to lead the bushfire sensitization campaign at community level

Everyone must be a bushfire prevention and management messenger through One-on-one sensitization approach

During periods of fire tracing and back-burning community members will need to be Learning-by-doing in bushfire prevention and management  

Bushfire sensitisation should target everyone and that is why schools, Churches, social and cultural groups. 

ICT is a new tool to reachout to communities and so bushfire prevention and management must make use of telephone  and Social media platforms like whatsapp, facebook, twitter, linkehn, website to reach out to other community members. 

Many people are tired of business as usual and creative and innovative approaches is what is attracting a large population. The use of Arts and crafts ( drawing, painting, dancing, singing, sketches, etc) that enhances understanding should not be left out for use in bushfire prevention and management."

Supported by the GEF Small Grant Program under the project titled “Eco-friendly Bushfire Prevention and Management in Kilum-Ijim forest” CAMGEW has been sharing this communication techniques with community leaders in a bid to reduce or stop bushfire occurrences. 

Wirsiy Emmanuel concludes that we must communicate to solve problems like bushfire in communities. "We are the problem and we can be the solution. We must listen to each other in the community for the solution is in our hands. Bushfire brings pain to us women, men and youths so all of us must learn to work together through sharing knowledge, experience and skills in bushfire prevention and management to meet the Sustainable Development Goals." He concluded

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