CAMEROON: Three web influencers defend pygmies and their forests

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CAMEROON: Three web influencers defend pygmies and their forests ©GreenpeaceAfrica

In Cameroon, three influential web actors have joined Greenpeace Africa and its partner Green Development Advocates (GDA) to lead an ecological campaign. Together, they are raising awareness about the fight against deforestation in Cameroon, as well as the protection of the rights of indigenous communities, the first victims of deforestation. This activity takes place just a few days after the celebration of the International Day of the World's Indigenous People on the theme "The role of indigenous women in the preservation and transmission of traditional knowledge".

At the invitation of Greenpeace Africa, three Cameroonian web influencers will be ambassadors for the defence of the rights of indigenous communities and the preservation of Cameroon’s forests for the next 30 days. These are Betatinz, Grand Lawrenzo and Future Milliardaire, well-known figures on the social media landscape in Cameroon, notably Facebook, TikTok and Instagram. The campaign was launched on Wednesday 17 August 2022 in Yaoundé at the offices of Green Development Advocate (GDA), a partner of Greenpeace Africa.

“This collaboration aims to amplify the voices of indigenous forest communities, whose rights are constantly violated by high-pressure activities on the forests, such as agro-industrial concessions, like the one awarded to Camvert,” explains Ranece Jovial Ndjeudja, the Forest Campaigner at Greenpeace Africa.

Indigenous women, on the front line of the effects of deforestation

Indeed, for almost two years, Greenpeace Africa and GDA have been campaigning against Camvert, which has been granted a provisional concession of around 40,000 hectares, extendable to 60,000 hectares, to plant oil palm trees. And on the ground, the effects continue to plague local indigenous communities, particularly women, who are finding it increasingly difficult to contribute to the preservation and transmission of traditional knowledge as the forest is gradually and alarmingly lost.

This is exactly what Marie Thérèse Anzouer, an indigenous Bagyeli woman, laments when she says, “the fine words have not yet succeeded in transforming our daily lives. The 2022 edition of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People, celebrated on 9 August, emphasised the crucial role that women play in transmitting traditional values, but on the ground, everything that constitutes the essence of these traditional values, namely the forest, is disappearing by the day.

Read also-CAMEROON: Greenpeace report condemns deforestation in the south of the country

To amplify their voice and their cry of alarm in the coming days, these influencers will raise awareness among their followers about environmental protection and the defence of the rights of indigenous communities. “We are all concerned about environmental issues. I am a woman and I know how difficult the economic situation is for me as a wife and housewife. I can’t imagine the ordeal that indigenous women go through because of the cutting of trees in the forest, their main source of income. That’s why I agreed to join this noble cause,” says Beta Tinz, a web influencer involved in the campaign.

Boris Ngounou

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