Monitoring of activities under the Safe School Environmental Campaign

Twenty seven schools were visited and P.S. Mendakwe in Bamenda I Sub Division is one. At this point in time the school can be noticed of many environmental improvements and changes.

With assistance of the COMINSUD staff, pupils and teachers planted 27 shady trees and many flowers. The school garden has crops and the school orchard is cleared. The pictures below will show the present situation of the school environment, and toilets being improved.

Tilling and clearing of the school surrounding

Tilling and clearing of the school surrounding

The lone poor dilapidated school toilet kept very clean

The lone poor dilapidated school toilet kept very clean

Pupils planting flowers and trees

Pupils planting flowers and trees

written by Derick Banadzem

A commission set up to demarcate the boundary between Mbessa and Oku village

Governor Adolphe Lele Lafrique paid a visit to Mbessa on Thursday April 21st, 2016. He is the first Governor to visit Mbessa since the conflict started over 30 years ago. This visit had in attendance over 450 women and 100 men of Mbessa alongside the traditional and administrative authorities of Oku and Mbessa. They all assembled at the Mbessa Community Hall seeking for a lasting solution to the boundary dispute.

The Governor called upon the Regional Boundary Commission to delimit the boundary between the two villages following the August 28th 2008 Ministerial Decision. He said the conflict has caused untold human and material damage and it was time everyone abides to the peace process.

A local committee was put in place to carry out the demarcation process. Among the members are two peace volunteers, trained and accompanied by COMINSUD.

The Fons of Oku and Mbessa reiterated their passion for the need for a peaceful coexistence between the two villages as they shared the common position that “there is the need to think of Oku and Mbessa people as one person because they all have a common origin”.

The Governors’ visit came just a day after the Fon of Mbessa led a Delegation to Oku to discuss ways to end the conflict. The women of Mbessa at the end of the meeting remained optimistic as they look forward for a fair and just boundary demarcation process.

Please introduce yourself!

COMINSUD exists in Cameroon since 20 years now. During this time a lot of people have worked for us and we have received many many applications from graduates and experienced persons applying for a job or an internship.
Unfortunately most often the applications do not give a good answer to the main question of the potential employer:

Why shall we hire you, what makes you unique and how can you be a great asset for us?

If a candidate is invited to an interview, most often s/he is not prepared with convincing answers to simple questions e.g. Why do you want to work for us? or Where do you want to be in your career in five years? None of the applicants had a strategically prepared introduction of him/herself.

Therefore we decided to offer a workshop on how to do the written application and how to prepare for a job interview.

On the first day, motivation letter and CV writing was the focus. Documents from the participants were analysed and improved on. But to know that one can also influence (or even pre-write) a recommendation letter given by a former employer was new to the participants.

The second day covered the preparation of the interview. With practical examples and a role play participants were made aware of Dos and Don’ts in the interview. Also questions from the employer were analyzed, because if one wants to give a convincing answer s/he must understand the “worry” behind each question.

Before the workshop 65 % of the participants stated that they have only few skills on how to write an application, while after the WS 94 % believed that they have most / all of the skills.
Before the training on job interviews, 90 % of the participants said, that they have only few skills on how to prepare for and go through an interview. After the training all the participant believed that they have most / all of the skills.

This is a promising result, and we hope to repeat this or similar workshops soon. If you or your group are/is interested in a training, please contact us through email: cominsud_ngo at yahoo.com

Stay with us to be informed.

EBAFOSA Cameroon launching ceremony in Yaounde

The launching ceremony took place on the 11th of March 2016 at the Municipal Circle in the nation’s capital Yaounde witnessed by a good representation from Civil society organizations of the North West Region.

The theme for the launch was “to contribute to the resilience of food security in Cameroon”. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) country representative outlined that Ecosystem Based Adaptation for Food Security Assembly (EBAFOSA) was created as part of the United Nations Environment Program to contribute to food security and to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Continental coordinator also mentioned that EBAFOSA seeks to combat food insecurity, climate change, ecosystems degradation and poverty in Africa. To achieve this it is usind an innovative approach that decentralizes the development and application of the policy solutions in the least bureaucratic channel to ensure immediate results are recorded at the grassroots in an inclusive, participatory way towards achieving the SDGs.

As part of the launching ceremony, there was the display of regional agricultural products. The North West regional delegation made up of 6 members from 4 different organizations (COMINSUD, NOWEFOR, Terre des Jeunes, and FAP) exhibited products like honey, honey wax, rice, coffee, processed soy beans and ginger, irish potato, spices and bitter cola.

With our experience in the areas of food security and protection of environment and our approach of working with communities we can surely provide good expertise to this platform.

Historic action by Oku and Mbessa Communities in seeking peace

As an aftermath of the peaceful public manifestation walk by over 250 Mbessa a high level consultative peace meeting was held on March 3rd 2016 at the Mbessa Multipurpose Hall.

This meeting had amongst others the Senior Divisional Officers (SDOs) of Bui and Boyo (Nzeki Theophile and Oum II Joseph), the Mayors and Divisional Officers (DOs) of Oku and Belo, the Fons of Oku and Mbessa Villages and a cream of members of their traditional councils.

The historic nature of this meeting is seen in the fact that, in over 30 years, this is the first time a Fon of Oku is visiting the Mbessa Village. The over three hours meeting witnessed frank and open discussions aimed at establishing sustainable peace. Four of COMINSUD’s Peace Volunteers were also able to participate.

Key resolutions from this meeting as agreed by all the stakeholders were that:

  • The people in the disputed land boundary area should shun violence and remain calm for the governor and a regional technical team that will visit the area in the period ahead to demarcate the boundaries of the two communities;
  • More exchange visits between the Oku and Mbessa communities will be carried out to ensure continuous dialogue and sustainable peace;
  • Necessary traditional rites should be carried out by the Fons to enforce peaceful decisions and dialogue.

It is hoped that more efforts will be put to bear for more socio-cultural exchange activities among these communities for sustainable peace as the demarcation process is awaited.

Stay with us to be informed about the progress of this story.

Project completed in the sector of HIV/AIDS

Delivering direct care to people living with HIV/AIDS in the North West Region, Cameroon

The project was funded by the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation and implemented by COMINSUD and the “Presbyterian Church in Cameroon’s HIV/AIDS Programme” in collaboration with the Regional Technical Group (RTG) for the Fight against HIV/AIDS in North West Region (NWR).

It had the overall objective to enhance access to care and treatment for infected persons living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) especially in underserved areas. As a pilot project and following the resources available, the activities were streamlined for efficiency in the outreach.

The first meeting with 17 front line actors to identify success and hindering factors in promoting treatment and adherence was followed by a working session with health personnel, community relay agents, social workers and support group representatives. In this session various ways and measures to increase the health care provider’s efficiency and effectiveness in delivering quality health care and services were discussed and roles and responsibilities clarified.

Presentation of the HIV/AIDS Project to the Governor of the NWR Adolphe Lele Lafrique

Presentation of the HIV/AIDS Project to the Governor of the NWR Adolphe Lele Lafrique

For the health care providers emphasis was laid on the friendly, professional and encouraging manner of communicating and on the fact that the patient should be allowed to express him/herself and take decisions for him/herself.

The focus of the treatment center was e.g. on the control of prizes and to ensure subsidization for persons from vulnerable groups (e.g. children, widows …). They also have make more staff available to deliver medications to patients living in hard to reach areas, to serve patient better and for a better division of labor in the centers.

As a 3rd activity an A2 format poster and flyers have been designed by COMINSUD and 100 / 2000 copies printed. Flyer and poster can be also downloaded from our website. RTG was distributing these materials to 18 treatment centres in the NWR.

Discussions with 185 PLWHA from three areas in the NWR took place to discuss challenges and obstacles to adhere to treatment and how to overcome them.

Demonstration to PLWHA on ways to adhere to treatment in the Bali District Hospital Support Group

Demonstration to PLWHA on ways to adhere to treatment in the Bali District Hospital Support Group

160 persons from 10 communities belonging to vulnerable groups (widow/ers, orphans, children) were directly financially supported to do CD4 count tests.

The NWR has a population of over 1.88 million (2010). The impact of HIV/AIDS in the Region is very high, with an average of 6.3 % as against 4.3 % national prevalence rate in 2011.This means around 120000 persons are infected with HIV. The “Getting to Zero strategy 2011-2015” of UNAIDS could not be achieved, since 2014/15 we are working towards the 90–90–90 target to be achieved by 2020.

Lets work together to overcome this disease!

Stay with us to be informed about your next activities.

Ndu identity – a foe or blessing?

“The population often goes hungry because more than 1500 hectares of land has been occupied by the CTE”

On 26th February 2016, COMINSUD facilitated a joint study of the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief (OXFAM), the International Land Coalition (ILC), and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) in Ndu on gender tools and large scale investment in Cameroon. The event was attended by 30 persons particularly from the areas affected by the large scale Ndu Cameroon Tea Estate (CTE) with the goal of identifying meaningful community engagement in Large Scale Land Based Investments in Africa (LSLBI).

This session cued in from previous studies in Senegal and Zimbabwe and also Nkoteng in Cameroon on 23rd February 2016 led by the National Engagement Strategy on Land Reform (NES) in Cameroon.

Taking Ndu as one of two case studies in Cameroon, the participants gave the following answers (list of only the main answers) to two major questions:

1. What are the challenges you face as inhabitants of Ndu who live around the CTE?

  • Ndu Council does not receive and has not been receiving taxes for many years
  • the Fon (highest traditional leader of the community) is not paid royalties contrary to the privatization law of Cameroon
  • farmers are forbidden to cross through the plantation to access their own land, this leads to very difficult accessibility and rotting and loss to farm produce
  • more than 75 % of Ndu youths have fled the village due to unemployment and the threats of life from security guards of the CTE
  • the population often goes hungry because more than 1500 hectares of land has been occupied by the CTE making farm land to be inadequate and barren due to no time for fallowing to take place
  • Burning and looting of small holder’s tea plantations

2. If an investor decides to carry out an investment that requires a vast usage of land in your community, what conditions will you give him/her?

  • The investor would state clearly that he/she will rent the land on a contract base renewable over a period of time
  • He/she will pay constant royalty to the Fon
  • He/she will employ more than 75 % of the inhabitants (both men and women)
  • The gender component must be taken in to consideration
  • Employed inhabitants of the community must head at least 50 % the positions of leadership in the plantation

At the close of discussions, the participants lamented that they are like strangers in their own community. That is why they questioned whether their identity as natives of Ndu is a blessing or curse to their lives. Looking at them as a drowning man who catches at the tail of a snake for survival, the participants look up at NES CAMEROON and partners as a great contributor to hope.

It is hoped that data collected will serve as a veritable tool for an in depth study of these challenges and for further lobbying and advocacy activities for the benefit of the suffering population.