Before the year 1997, IAWRT as an association was not known of in Cameroon. Madeleine Membe signed on as the first Cameroonian member of IAWRT while attending a refresher course in Radio Duetsche Welle, followed by Olivia Tumajong in 1999. In a bid to render the association a little more visible, these two members proposed hosting a regional meeting in the year 2000 in Douala, the country’s economic capital. At the time, Gundel Krauss Dahl was the international President. This meeting was organized on the eve of the liberalization of the media landscape in the country, which saw the birth of several private radios, and some television stations. (Pic left: IAWRT-Cameroon President Sidonie Pongmoni)
Gundel’s invaluable support reinforced the commitment of the pioneer members to the vision of IAWRT. By the end of the meeting, which also included capacity building for female broadcasters of rural radio stations, about 15 new members joined the ranks of IAWRT. Between the years 2000 and 2005, activities slowed down relatively as members became inactive. However, the chapter picked up steam soon after, with the launch of the Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) project in 2006. This project offered further visibility for the association in the country. .
In 2007, during the biennial conference in Kenya, Cameroon gained the status of a chapter and this has been a source of further inspiration to members, pushing them to carry out more activities. One such activity was a meeting that brought together female broadcasters from the Central African sub region. The focus was on what role media women in the sub region can play to bring about peace and stability in a context of war and other conflict situations. This was of course another opportunity to take on board more members.
Despite several ups and downs in terms of membership, Cameroon has succeeded in keeping an active membership base, with founding member Madeline Memb going on to serve on the IAWRT international board.followed in 2015 by Pochi Tamba Nsoh, elected as the board Secretary. In February 2016, respected journalist and long time member of IAWRT Cameroon, Sidonie Pongmoni took over as the head of the Cameroon Chapter.
In 2018 a new executive board was elected: Becky Bissong Tchonko took over as President, Patience Wirngo continued on as Secretary, Dorothy Ndikum - Treasurer, Hortensia Ntaine - Finance Secretary, Cynthia Sabtala as in-charge of the web and former President -Sidonie Sikoua to be the Advisor.
Pic: from left : Dorothy Ndikum - Treasurer, Becky Bissong Tchonko , Sidonie Sikoua Adviser, Patience Wirngo Secretary and Cynthia Sabtala communication officer
Head, Cameroon Chapter
Becky Bissong Tchonko
Cynthia Sabtala (web)
Sidonie Sikoua (co-opted advisor)
P.O. Box 13187 Yaounde
chapter head: 6 99 90 87 25; Secretary: 6 74 77 81 04.