Following a Grant from the Canadian Funds for Local Initiative, AFRICAphonie organised a 3 day training workshop aimed at empowering 30 community radio broadcasters on human rights awareness programmes using Pidgin English.
The workshop took place from 10 to 12th November 2017 in Eta Palace Hotel Buea under the theme ‘training community radio broadcasters on human rights awareness in Cameroon using Pidgin English’.
25 participants arrived and lodged on Thursday 9th November 2017 by 2 pm while 5 more came late for various reasons ranging from transport difficulties to lack of information because of internet inaccessibility. 3 of the late comers joined the workshop on Friday 10th November during the afternoon session and 2 during the morning session on Saturday 11th November 2017.
Friday 10th November
Breakfast was served between 7am and 8am. Then the Executive Director of AFRICAphonie, George Ngwane and his 5 member staff welcomed the 2 person delegation from the Canadian High Commission to Cameroon comprising the Commissioner H.E, Nathalie O’Neil and the Programme Officer at the precinct of Eta Palace hotel and ushered them to the workshop hall.
In his welcome remarks Mr Ngwane said the workshop was organized to empower community radio broadcasters to be able to have knowledge about human rights, nationally and internationally and to enable community radio broadcasters to be able to transmit the information to the rural communities. He said the raison d’être of the workshop was that most of laws are in English and French, and that the workshop is a great opportunity for rural inhabitants to be able to acquaint themselves to human rights laws through community radio broadcasters.
The Canadian High Commissioner H.E Madam Nathalie O’Neil said the Cameroonian communities already have a good network through community radio. She said the Canadian government is working with AFRICAphonie to give more talks to journalist, so that, the journalists can disseminate and transmit the information through local languages for the local population to be aware of human rights, their role and their responsibilities. She then proceeded to greeting and making acquaintances with each participant, taking a look at the book exhibition mounted by AFRICAphonie before a family photograph.
In a review of international human rights legal instruments, the first Facilitator to the workshop Barrister Christopher TambeTiku, stated some of the rights such as assumption of innocence, right to live, right not to be tortured and others. He said in terms of human rights, there is no superior human being on earth. TambeTiku advised that, if ones rights have been abused by state personnel, the victim should first exhaust local remedies before filling a case against the state, to national, regional and international human rights institutions.
The second Facilitator, Barrister Samuel Eboa Ehabe, briefed participants on national human rights legal instruments. Here he was emphatic about the new criminal penal code citing some of the articles that would be of interest to rural dwellers. He also made mention of the Cameroon constitution as well as the new law on anti-terrorism.
The participants then went into a role play of self introduction and their testimonies that showed that some of them have already begun programmes on human rights in their radios although in English Language.
The next Facilitator was Barrister Mrs Victorine Ebanja who based her interactive presentation on gender-based violence. She said everyone is equal irrespective of their age, sex, religion, language, race, political views and others. She disclosed that for every seven men, at least one must have been a victim of domestic violence either physically or emotionally. For the women, she said, they are the most affected by gender-based violence as for every three women at least one must have been a victim of domestic violence. The participants then went for a practical field visit to the office of Human Rights and Freedoms in Buea where they were treated to a guided tour. After this they went for lunch and returned to the hall for lessons learnt, gap filling and distribution of legal documents and evening financial expenses. Day 1 ended at 5pm.
Saturday 11th November
Breakfast was served between 7am and 8am. The first Facilitator for this day was senior veteran journalist Mr Robert Abunaw who spoke on the power and impact of community radio. He said community radio plays an important role in the society as it informs, entertains and educates.
He concluded that community radios have improved livelihood of audiences and impacted on the process of decentralisation and people-centred governance in Cameroon. He urged media practitioners to also invite women on programmes that concerns sensitive issues of human rights.
The second Facilitator was political affairs editor in CRTV, Mr Ashu Nyenty. He briefed participants on tips or techniques on making human rights communication effective through community radio. He elaborated on the different formats of human rights programmes and said phone-in programmes should be created because everybody can participate with variety of ideas emanating.
This was followed by a working group session facilitated by Mr Ngwane in which participants were broken into four groups with two groups discussing on the GREEN LIGHT of human rights programming. Here, they were expected to talk on the advantages or opportunities inherent in producing human rights programme in Pidgin English and two other groups discussing the RED LIGHT of human rights programming. Here they were expected to map out the obstacles or challenges (internal and external) they are bound to face while trying to do programmes on human rights. During the plenary all groups presented their findings and all participants embarked on charting a way forward through the AMBER LIGHT of human rights production in which all participants focussed on ways of overcoming or surmounting the obstacles identified in RED LIGHT.
The team broke for lunch and a visit to and live broadcast programme in the Bonakanda community radio at the outskirts of Buea.
On return to the hall at about 4pm, the Executive Director of AFRICAphonie urged participants to go back home and disseminate and transmit the knowledge acquired from the workshop to their respective media houses. He also encouraged them to create 30 minutes human rights programmes in pidgin English before the 30th November 2017 and especially to always celebrate every 10 December as the International Day of Human Rights. Before Evaluation Forms and Certificates of Commitment were issued to participants, the Moderator of the workshop Mr Clarkson Obasi read out the names of 12 participants (5 from South West and 7 from North West regions) who were asked to stay back the following day for discussions on the skeletal draft of the Handbook on human rights communication prepared by some commissioned researchers.
Sunday 12th November
Between 9am (after breakfast) and 1pm participants engaged discussions on the draft document of a Manual which consisted of some of the papers presented but especially the format and content of how human rights legal instruments can be presented in a community radio. This led to the adjournment of the workshop with more flesh to be added to the skeletal framework of the Manual tentatively titled “Making Human Rights Communication Effective and Accessible”
At the end of the 3 day workshop a few participants who were interviewed by the Media are quoted to have expressed gratitude to AFRICAphonie or organizing what they termed a brilliant workshop and vowing to return to their various media houses with a plan of Action consisting of educating other colleagues about the workshop and instituting programmes on human rights in pidgin English on or before the International Human Rights Day (10th December 2017).
Done in Buea on 17th November 2017