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.

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.

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.

Introduction of EBAFOSA to Civil Society Organizations in the NWR

Ecosystem Based Adaptation for Food Security Assembly (EBAFOSA) is a continental framework that advocates a culture of Ecosystem Based Adaptation (EBA) towards the attainment of food security, sustainable agriculture, ecological productivity, as well as job creation, poverty reduction, value addition, and sustainable industrial development in Africa

EBAFOSA is the first Pan-African policy framework that provides a platform for all stakeholders including Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to develop and adopt policy solutions to promote EBA driven agricultural approaches which are essential for climate change resilience, ecosystems productivity, agriculture and food security. Through this platform, EBAFOSA sets to foster partnerships through branch formation in each African country including Cameroon.

The first regional information sharing and planning meeting held on Friday, 19th February 2016 with 18 participants from 16 organizations in the Mezam, Boyo and Ngoketunjia Divisions at the COMINSUD Hall. This meeting had as objective to share information on EBAFOSA as well as establishing a regional bureau.

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Ambe Bruno (COMINSUD) encourages participants to show interest within the platform so as to represent the Region well at the upcoming National Launch.

From a presentation on the content of EBAFOSA, it was worth highlighting the vision, mission, objectives and benefits to CSOs.

Vision
A food secured Africa with sustainable ecosystems.

Mission
To provide a framework for ecosystem based adaptation that ensures food security in Africa.

Objective

  • To promote environmentally friendly approaches to food production
  • To promote value addition for all EBA products by efficient technologies
  • To develop a regional monitoring and evaluation instrument on EBA

Benefits of EBAFOSA to CSOs

  • Provides a platform through which their mandate can be delivered at a broader scale, hence benefit more people
  • facilitates continental peer learning in techniques, approaches etc. for country NGOs from counterparts across the continent
  • fostering of technical capacity building for local NGOs through interactions with diverse stakeholders and especially research institutions, and the private sector

Mrs. Yeloma Ruth, an EBAFOSA member who attended the meeting in Yaounde on the visit of the Continental Coordinator to Cameroon on the 19th December 2015 shared some feedback from the meeting. Some key discussions went around the type of crops having proven added value, which could be cultivated in the North West Region apart from maize and cassava and also, using efficient techniques to upscale EBA driven agriculture in the  North West Region (NWR).

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An North West Regional EBAFOSA regional bureau was established with five executive members from different organizations whose duties commenced instantly.

Conclusively, participants were encouraged to continue carrying out awareness raising and for more organizations and individuals to jump on the EBAFOSA train.

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Representatives from 16 organizations in Mezam, Boyo and Ngoketunjia Divisions get knowledge on EBAFOSA.

Public Demonstration by over 250 Women of Mbessa Village

February 16th 2016
Over 250 women aged between 25 to 70 years engaged in a public manifestation walk from Mbessa village in Belo Sub Division, Boyo Division in the North West Region (NWR) to Bamenda, the Regional Headquarters of the NWR (33 km). Their objective was to table a petition and their grievances to the Governor Adolphe Lele Lafrique. This is as a result of latent boundary conflict between Mbessa (Boyo Division) and Oku (Bui Division) which has been characterised by sporadic attacks by some persons from Oku on the Mbessa community members in their farms.

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The women left Mbessa at 4:00 am carrying each a stem of the peace plant and placards raising issues centred around the fact that Oku presently is the Sub Division of origin of Cameroon’s Prime Minister HE Yang Philemon and most people from Oku perpetrating these aggressions on Mbessa go unpunished…

The placards carried messages such as:

Why is the administration quiet on surprise attacks by Oku on Mbessa?

3 Mbessa killed in 1982, houses destroyed, hundreds rendered homeless, no punishment no compensation, why?

2007/2008 mass burning of houses, destruction of crops, thousands homeless – no punishment, no compensation!

No to recent attacks and torture by Oku in farmlands! No to the use of cutlasses on human beings!

No to recent attacks and torture by Oku in farmlands!
No to the use of cutlasses on human beings!

They arrived at Belo the Headquarter of the Sub Division at around 2 pm and made a stop at the Sub Divisional Office but the Divisional Officer Nicolas Manchang who doubles as the 2nd Assistant SDO for Boyo Division was not on seat (we learnt he was on permission). After about one hour of sitting accompanied with negotiations from the Mayor of Belo Council Tosam Bernard Nenghabi the lone official present at the scene, the women resolved to continue their journey to Bamenda where they hope to meet a listening ear.

The Mayor of Belo Council alongside the Mayor of Njinikom Council, the Member of Parliament Honorable Wainanchi Honorine and the Company Commander Boyo Commandant Passele struggled without success  to convince the women to give him the petition and go back to Mbessa. The Mayor of Belo then invited them to the Belo Grandstand for other negotiations. He was at this point in time joined by the Police Commissioner of Special Branch of Fundong Mr Bezigui. Both still failed. The Mayor invited them to sit for refreshment; they denied arguing that it is a way to waste their time and continued their journey.

The Interim Divisional Officer for Belo Sub Division came at about 6 pm when the Mbessa women had covered over 25 km and were at Mbingo but he could not even talk to the women as they were already saying it is some sort of negligence and lack of consideration from the local administration.

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However, the Mbessa women continued their journey over night. They reached Kejom Keku in Babanki in Tubah Sub division around 2 am and decided to rest before continuing later. It is at that time that the Governor of the NWR Adolphe Lele Lafrique moved to the site when it was exactly 2:10 am. He said he could not wait for them to come right to Bamenda and when he got the information, he immediately took off to meet them on the way.

The governor collected the messages and the petition they had and ordered for vehicles to carry them back to Mbessa while promising to channel the issue to the hierarchy for prompt solution. The women in turn, thanked him and insisted that if within a week nothing is done they will still treck again to Bamenda.

COMINSUD has trained Peace Volunteers (PVs) from Mbessa and Oku in July 1015. This peaceful and very powerful action can be considered as an outcome of this training and the tireless efforts of the five Mbessa PVs to change peoples minds towards non-violent solutions of conflicts and peaceful civic activities.