In a country where the media previously tilted public opinion towards politics and football, other sustainable projects could easily slip under the radar despite their presence on the mediaspere.
However, the narrative has greatly change in the past years with the sustainable development goals gaining grounds in media and public debate in the country as journalists seek to rewrite the narratives.
One of such persons who is changing and shaping the narratives is journalist Regina Leke whose crusade on environmental reporting over the years.
.”When I worked for several local newspapers upon graduation in 2010, I realise the environment had little or no space in the media,” Regina says.
She was amazed by these trends in the local media given climate change was the centre of discussion in most countries and high-level summits in the world but her immediate community could barely understand what it meant.
This strengthened her believe to fill that gap and Regina moved to to work for an environment and nature protection organisation in the South West Region as the Communications Officer where she completely overhauled the communications unit and created the Green Vision newspaper to push forward green values.
“It was difficult to step in and completely improve on environmental advocacy but it was a challenge I relished and looking back today, I can only be proud of the impact created by Greenvision,” the 29-year old says.
The paper did not only criticise the bad forest practices that exposed the local population in the South West Region but advocated for the creation of the Tofala Wildlife Sanctuary to protect the critically endangered cross river gorilla and other threatened species.
A go-getter, Regina has since moved to Cameroon’s largest private TV broadcasting network which she has created a program called Planet Rise dedicated for environmental issues.
“Each time my reports depicting the poor waste management went on air, the waste is cleared off next minute. I even remember consistently reporting about a garbage dump at the mutengene market and the waste was cleared off permanently and the Mayor of the municipality called me congratulating my efforts in exposing the problem,”the journalist and environmental campaigner says.
Today, Regina is the founder of the “Recycle Me” project which seeks to rid Cameroon’s cities of poorly disposed plastics that are not only a threat to aquatic life but also block gutters and most often cause floods.
With her team of over 40 volunteers, they have collected more that six million plastics in Cameroon’s economic capital, Douala which have since been recycled.
Regina Leke has been taking the project progressively to other regions of Cameroon and she believes if “we press hard we can achieve a lot and build a more sustainable future.
“The media has the power to set any agenda but environmentally speaking media outlets are yet to exploit this,” Regina says.