World Federation of Science Journalists

The usefulness of science journalists in Africa: weather forecasting in Cameroon

June 7, 2013

In March 2012, Cameroonian science journalist Adrienne Engono explained in her newspaper how the absence of weather forecasting was threatening the crops of farmers. Today, weather forecasting is re-established in Cameroon.

Divine Junior Ntaryike, a colleague journalist, has produced a short video that captures how Ms. Engono’s journalism made a difference for African farmers. Watch the video: Adrienne Engono's Probe Into Cameroon's Dysfunctional Weather Forecasts

In March 2012 Adrienne Engono Moussang wrote in the Yaoundé based daily Le Jour on farmers being unable to plant their crops during the right periods, because of the absence of reliable weather forecasts. She managed to draw the attention of her country’s officials to this problem, urging them to taking action – but in the end nothing was done about the problem.

Five months later floods hit Cameroon due to heavy rain. The disaster’s impact would have been less dramatic if the weather installations of the country had been functioning properly. Adrienne wrote about this for her new employer the daily Mutations. In October 2012, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) started distributing new forecast material to the weather stations of Cameroon. Although this action cannot be attributed to the journalist’s report alone, it is evident that she had set the grounds early and made it publicly known which actions needed to be taken. The farmers can now receive better weather-forecasts and better weather warnings in Cameroon.

For a review of 14 other instances of science journalists making a difference in Africa and in Arab countries, go to the following story: The Usefulness of African and Arab Science Journalists.