Upcoming Workshop on Volunteering

Have you ever heard about “VOLUNTEERING”? Are you interested to learn more about it? Come to COMINSUD in Ntarinkon and boost your knowledge!

The Community Initiative for Sustainable Development (COMINSUD) is a civil society organization based in Bamenda (Cameroon). We work in the areas of women empowerment, inclusion, democracy, peace, promotion of environmentally friendly practices and more.

We have many years of experience in human development. Especially we focus on providing professional assistance to young people from Cameroon and abroad. The best way for us to get practical experience in the job world is to do a volunteering service.

But how do you get a volunteering position? Will this volunteering really help to build up your career? How do you draw an application and what are national and international opportunities to volunteer?

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Our “Workshop on VOLUNTEERING” on 22nd and 23rd of May 2018 will answer these and more questions.

Download the application form and apply now!

The forms are also available in our office in Ntarinkon opposite Fru Ndi Junction. The deadline for application is the 17th of May 2018.

If you have further questions, please contact us: Fon Nsoh 677 66 64 86 / Maya Mueller 670 659 323 

We are looking forward to have you soon in the workshop!

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My work in Potsdam

Being one of COMINSUD’s volunteers since October 2016, I am currently serving a volunteer year in Potsdam, Germany under the Weltwärts programme through Bread for the World, a German based organization.

Della in her office in Potsdam

Della in her office in Potsdam

I live and work in Potsdam which is about 27 kilometres from Berlin, Germany’s capital city. I work with ‘Stiftung für Engagement und Bildung’ which is a non profit making organisation founded in 2009. Over the years they have carried out projects involving African partners.

I started my work with this organization on the 4th of September 2017 which will last until August 2018.

Interestingly enough, I am assisting the project staff in one of the ongoing projects ‘Fair Smartphones’ which is aimed at implementing 10 workshops mainly with pupils between 14-15 years old on the topic ‘Living with Smartphones’.

In these workshops, the production, final sale and disposal of smartphones along side related environmental consequences are talked about. The aim is to discuss approaches to how their own actions as young people can help improve the situations on a regional and global scale.

There are other ongoing projects covering other topics like the refugee crisis with the target group of mostly young people aged between 12 & 25 years old. Every staff is encouraged to work on new project ideas which are developed into project proposals used to seek funding for execution as previously done with older and ongoing projects.

The language barrier and some differences in the working style are some of the challenges I am coping with. Also in the upcoming months as my German gets better, I will be involved in more project outdoor activities which I will love to share with you as they unfold.

With 9-10 more months to go, I am positive and looking forward to more challenging and exciting experiences together with my colleagues here at ‘Stiftung für Engagement und Bildung’. This is a one in a lifetime experience.

Written by Bii-Mai Della Kuma (26 years old)

Consider the consequences – peace journalism and election reporting

On Friday, the 21st of July, COMINSUD was invited to participate in a workshop lead by Professor Steven Youngblood from the Center for Global Peace Journalism at Park University (United States) in the Presbytarian Church Centre Bamenda.

During the workshop media representatives from the region were introduced to principles of peace journalism. Past experiences of Professor Youngblood were connected to election reporting from countries like India, Kenya and Uganda. Through these examples the importance of media coverage was proven and debates on current situation were initiated.

Comparison with journalists from Yaoundé proved that the risks of election provoked violence is seen as much more likely in the Anglophone part of Cameroon. Even more importantly, the workshop served as a platform for bringing together journalists and civil society representatives in order to work together on upcoming 2018 election reporting strategies. This will become a crucial cooperation next year for mitigating the possible risks of violence and lack of transparency all through the election process.

More information on the series of workshops held by Professor Youngblood in Cameroon (Yaounde, Bafoussam, Bamenda, Limbe, Buea etc.) and his impressions can be found here:

written by Krišjānis Liepa

All animals are equal, but …

… some are more equal than the others.” 15 Children listen anxiously to Akumbu Jones, an artist from “La Liberté Arts Group” Bamenda. He is telling them part of the “Animal Farm” story from George Orwell.

“Weak or strong, clever or simple, we are all brothers.”

Mr Akumbu is the leader of our latest initiative “Theater for Children”.

Cameroon provides very little opportunities for children to be creative, use their imagination and be allowed to try things and make errors without the fear to be punished. Most schools including nursery schools provide only a very formal learning program, mostly focusing on reading, writing, repeating. All this goes along with high competition/ranking systems inside the classes, strict hierarchy, humiliation, exams after every year and still – although officially banned – corporal punishment.

Many Children have difficulties to express themselves, their opinions/feelings or to discuss their points of view. But all this are skills that the next generation needs to work towards change in the society, towards good governance and democracy. With our initiative we want to contribute to build up these skills. And for sure, the children should have a lot of fun in a relaxed atmosphere!

Enough fun for everybody!

Parents appreciate the program very much. “My daughter was so happy after the theater; she was singing new songs and dancing the whole evening.” – one mother stated.

Another parent said: “My son explained to me the new game ‘Mami Njanga’, I was surprised how exited he was about this little thing.”

Stay with us – we will keep you informed about the next exiting news from the theater group.

written by Maja Mueller

The cows have destroyed my corn!

… this is how Dennis, a farmer from Wum, complaint last week to a herder.

The North West Region of Cameroon is also known as the “Grasslands”. This Grassland encouraged cattle farmers (Mbororo/Fulani/Haussa) to settle down in the area. Some of the herders are from other areas and enter the grasslands during transhumance. This leads to a lot of conflicts between the herders and crop farmers. Cattle enter farms and destroy corn, beans and other crops from the farmers. Herders need access to water and need to pass through certain areas to reach their resting points or the next grazing land.

One of the hotspots for farmer-grazer conflicts is Wum in Menchum Division. Last October we have trained people from Wum and other communities in “Peace work and conflict analysis” to work as Peace Volunteers (PVs).

Mr. Awah (crop farmer) complaining about the damage in his farm to Mr. Umaru (herder).

During the first follow-up visit we got a lot of encouraging and interesting information about the peace work in Wum.

After a challenging period of advocacy and lobbying done by the PVs, the Traditional Council adopted “Rules and Regulations” for the handling of conflicts.

Such document did not exist before. People in conflict used to lay their complaints in different places like police offices, the village councils, or different government delegations, some went straight to court. The financial implications of this approach were very high and solutions often not provided. Some of those conflicts escalated violently and resulted in injuries of persons, or damage of farms/animals.

The newly established “Rules and Regulations” were made public in all quarters of Wum. People with conflicts have to follow now a certain order to get resolution of their conflicts. For this reason seven new quarter councils were formed. If the quarter councils cannot solved the problem, it must be taken first to the village council before it can be taken to the traditional council. One important step in the new procedures is that the damage must be inspected at the site, before any further discussion can take place.

Surprisingly the new approach led to a drop down in the number of councilors. Achuo Patrick (PV) says: “Only the honest people remain now in the village and traditional councils. The new procedure is transparent for everybody, so that the opportunity to take bribe is heavily reduced.”

Huseini Adamu (PV) adds: “People have increased the number of “Farming Alliances”. Crop farmers allow cattle to eat the remains of e.g. corn in their farms, which is a valuable feed for cows. The farmers benefit from the cow droppings that are manure for the farms.”

The next idea of the PVs from Wum is to develop a drama to show how the new approach helps to reduce escalation of conflicts and to increase the livelihood of people.

We will keep you informed!

written by Maja Mueller

Winter work in Germany – experiences from Ewokolo

My workplace is called Hoffnungstaler Stiftung Lobetal which is a social welfare organisation. The organisation offers assistance and support for around 950 handicapped people in fully residential, semi-residential and ambulatory forms of accommodation.

At the beginning I was working at the handicap center of the organization. After the first month my program was adjusted so now I work both on the organic farm with cows and also in the handicap center. I do both because the first month I was at the handicap center it was surprisingly nice to be with these people and they are lovely.

I work on the organic farm with about 200 cows (pregnant cows and calves too). The main activities include feeding the cows (different food depending on the ages of the cows), cleaning the cow barn, assisting the pregnant cows with and after birth and milking.

2016-11_ewokolo01 2016-11_ewokolo02Since winter is coming, the work on the field is over for now but when winter is over and the planting season begins, I will join to work on the field (if possible begin learning how to drive a tractor!)

In the handicap center called Kapernaum Tagesförderbereich, the main activity is doing creative arts with materials like clay, wood, paper, glue, wool and plastic. We also sing together, bake cakes, take a walk and do sports together. It is really a good experience for me seeing how much people with disabilities can do with their hands.

written by Nangoh Ewokolo Nanyongo

Evaluation of Public Policy in Cameroon

“What is the role of the population and CSOs in the evaluation of Public Policy in Cameroon and at what point do they come in?”

It was in a bid in seeking strategies in enhancing civil and political rights that Ambe Michel Bruno C. (COMINSUD) attended a capacity building seminar for Civil Society Organisations and Political Parties on the theme “Follow up and Evaluation of Public Policy within the framework of the Implementation of Civil and Political Rights in Cameroon”.

Joining other 35 participants across the Nation, this seminar organised by the Human Rights Commission of the Cameroon Bar, held in Kribi on November 17th and 18th 2016, was focused on strengthening the state of law in Cameroon supported by an active civil society involvement in monitoring and evaluating public policies in Cameroon especially related to the respect of civil and political rights.

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Drilled on the steps and tools in monitoring and valorisation of results of evaluation exercises to stimulate change and action from government for the respect of human rights, COMINSUD as a rights promotion organisation and as the North West Regional Coordinator of RECODH was given the opportunity to share her experience in rights promotion and protection alongside her efforts in strengthening the respect of the rights of freedom of assembly and public demonstration in the North West Region.

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Ambe M. Bruno C. sharing COMINSUDs experiences in Public Policy Evaluation and civil rights protection

Key among the recommendations of the seminar were:

  1. Strengthening of the role of non state actors in the process of conception, implementation, and evaluation of public policies in Cameroon in a general manner and specifically in the domain of civil and political rights.
  2. Strengthening of the powers and prerogatives of parliamentarians in the process of evaluation of public policies in Cameroon.
  3. The amelioration of the legal framework guiding freedom of public assembly and public demonstration in Cameroon to avoid potential public disorder.

written by Ambe Michel Bruno C.