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CELEBRATING INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY
The 1st of March would forever be remembered as a tragic day for the Cameroonian conservation organization, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation, (ERuDeF). On this day, one of the critically endangered Cross River Gorilla that strayed from the Proposed Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, was killed in neighboring Pinyin in the North West Region of Cameroon. On the 8th of March, a day set aside as women’s day, the women of ERuDeF used the event, not just for the march pass but also to send a strong message to government on the urgent need to protect these last great apes. The women carried placards bearing messages such as “Don’t kill them, don’t eat them, protect them”.
In a rather pathetic mood, the wailing women waved a board carrying the picture of the dead Gorilla to the watching crowd at the Grand stand saying enough is enough! This drew widespread attention as other women taking part in the march pass came to find out about the death of this animal. The women used the opportunity to create awareness for women calling on them to be at the forefront of conservation.
The march pass also gave the women a unique opportunity to call on women to plant trees and fight climate change. The women of ERuDeF bore posters with messages such as “one woman one tree, women take the lead in the fight against climate change and the general protection of the environment”. Coincidentally, these messages happened to have been on this year’s fabric for March 8.
One of the women at ERuDeF, Payong Marquise who works for the restoration of degraded landscapes through tree planting, explains why women should take the lead in reforestation “women are directly involved with the environment. They are the people making use of fuel wood from the forest, they farm and they use water for house chores. Mitigating climate change does not only mean planting trees, but also managing energy and water resources in a way that helps to promote the fight against global warming. They should therefore champion the struggle for environmental protection”
By Regina Fonjia Leke