By: Amy Giliam Thorp
On the 31st of May, I boarded a flight to Cameroon together with Alessandra Squarzon and Justin Woods from ReWild Africa. The purpose of the trip was to document the stories and work of Cameroonian climate leader Ewi Lamma who lives in Limbe and works with rural women, youth, and rural communities to participate in decision-making processes for protecting and restoring Cameroon’s forests.
You may be wondering why we chose Ewi’s story?
Well, ACRP began developing a closer relationship with her during and after the Sink Our CO2 workshops in 2021. During those workshops, Ewi shared her work with Forests, Resources, and People (FOREP) and the findings from her Masters’ research – that women and youth need to have a say in the decisions that affect their future and governance of natural resources. Like many of yours, we believe Ewi’s climate story is a powerful one that needs to be told and amplified, especially in the lead up to COP27.
To capture her story, we spent the first day introducing ourselves and really getting to know each community and location that would form part of the short film on Ewi’s story.
Some of the people and places included:
• Ewi’s home (and surprise introduction to her sister);
• the nursery at Forest, Resources, and People’s offices in the Botanical gardens where Ewi and the team grow tree saplings for restoration projects;
• the women that she works with in Livandacongo community;
• youth from a local school in Limbe, and
• the chief and women from Bimbia community; dependent on resources from the local Bimbia forest.
Over the three days of filming, I had the pleasure to not only learn more about Ewi and the source of her passion/drive, but also capture some of these behind the scene moments for our social media.
There were many rich and profoundly moving moments that I didn’t capture or share on social media. From Ewi’s warm welcome at the airport to meeting Sunday Geofrey, Central Africa’s regional coordinator, for the first time, and then watching the two of them dance and interact with young children, and last but not least, our incredibly supportive and caring driver – Divine.
I walked away from the trip to Cameroon with so many beautiful memories and important lessons learnt. At the heart of my experience are three key lessons for ACRP to take forward:
- We need to meet more climate leaders in person
- We need to hear, share, and amplify more of your stories and work
- We need to identify additional ways to support impactful projects that you are working on!
May Ewi’s story set a precedent for many more climate leader led stories!