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11 October 2017

ERuDeF Institute’s IVP Programme, Contributing To Biodiversity Conservation In Cameroon

Posted in News, Views 176

ERuDeF Institute’s IVP Programme, Contributing To Biodiversity Conservation In Cameroon

Created in 2008 to improve and build the capacity of Cameroonian graduate students known as the International Volunteering Programme {IVP}, it has within a period of nine years grown from a small national initiative to an international program. The number of participants in the program has greatly increased from a few per year in 2008 to over 50 students and enthusiasts in 2017.

The internationalisation of the program has brought huge benefits to Cameroon and Lebialem Highlands specifically. Previous volunteers have been able to take by new roles of liaison to build new fences and partnerships.

B. Shancho Ndimuh

These partnerships have been able to mobilize substantial resources that have enabled ERuDeF to support the creation and management of key biodiversity sites like Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary and the proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary.

Such contributions urged the ERuDeF Board in a meeting recently, to confer on these volunteers the title “Conservation Ambassadors.” Dr. John Daniels has been instrumental in the creation of the ERuDeF UK while Chris Jerkinson supported the cost of one staff etc.

Within the last nine years, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) has received hundreds of volunteers from Canada, United Kingdom, United States of America, Australia, Netherlands, France, South Africa and Asia. They come to support research, raise awareness and contribute towards the protection of Cross River Gorillas and Chimpanzees in Cameroon

The volunteers during this period, also plant trees to regenerate and protect degraded landscapes. This part of the volunteering is usually very consoling especially when one looks at the indispensable role of trees in global warming mitigation today.

“Being a banker for many years, this expedition gave me the opportunity to express my love for nature and to do something that will impact lives. So I felt I will leave a better legacy by helping people to preserve an environment which is under attack from pollution, global warming, poaching, logging and many others” Irish volunteer, Tony Malone remarked after planting trees in the Lebialem and Fako Divisions, Southwest Cameroon.

These volunteers, who are ERuDeF’s ambassadors of this initiative in their respective countries, have gone beyond contributing physical and voluntary donations to becoming global ambassadors of the program by raising the international profile of the program and major international funding. Their international drive has led to the funding of more-on-the- ground projects like the construction of two semi-giant palm oil hydrant mills, amphibians research at Mount Nlonako which culminated in the establishment of a distribution map of the Goliath frog in this area, the creation of UK branch of Cross River Gorilla Project, school children support in Tofala and international board of Trustees amongst others.

The International Volunteering Programme receives volunteers between the ages of 18 and 70 from all over the globe. They spend several weeks and months supporting the conservation of wildlife and other forms of biodiversity in Cameroon.

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There are increasing number of returns and volunteers joining the ambassadors’ program.

As we celebrate the 10th year of this program in 2018, the international volunteering program has been renamed as “The International Biodiversity Expedition” and will henceforth be managed by the ERuDeF Institute of Biodiversity and non-profit studies. The core support for this programme is coming from the African Conservation Foundation (ACF).

11 October 2017

ERuDeF Menji Staff Renew Commitments

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ERuDeF Menji Staff Renew Commitments

Staff of the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF’s) Western Regional Office, based in Menji, have echoed their renewed commitment to push forward the Organisation’s Conservation vision by carrying out their work diligently and on time. They made the commitment during an enlarged staff meeting that took place recently in the conference room of the Menji office.

Emmanuel Nkeng

According to the staff, given the growth in strengthat the Menji office compounded by increase of activities around the Lebialem highlands, there was a need for a come together so staff commitments could be boosted.

“We are now counting up to 12 ERuDeF staff at the Menji. Our workloads have been increased as well. Therefore, we needed this kind of meeting so we understand how to execute our various tasks at the shortest possible time. We also needed a forum like this to discuss how to collaborate effectively with one another,” said Nkeng Emmanuel, Administrative, and Logistics Officer.The staff used the occasion to boost staff relationship and seek possible ways of implementing collaborative management techniques.

“The meeting was timely, especially in ironing out any challenges we faced in carrying out our activities. Some staff used the platform to err and mend broken relationships for the betterment of the Organisation. I strongly believe that our activities will greatly be improved after the meeting,” said Njom Ignatius, Manager of Silver Back Company.

Meantime, the Manager of ERuDeF Menji Field Office, Allen Tabi, called on every staff to put in their efforts so that earmarked timelines can be attained. He beckoned on managers and coordinators of various projects to translate all the recommendations taken in the meeting to concrete actions.

“We all concur to the proverbial phrase that says coming together is the beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success. It is going to be on that basis that we shall all achieve our various tasks,” Allen Tabi added.

Some of the pending activities on course for execution include bio monitoring/surveys in Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary (THWS), and the proposed Mark-Bectchou Wildlife Sanctuary (MBWS), sensitisation on environmental protection through the preparation and proper coordination of live radio coverage in the Lebialem community radio. In addition, there will be carrying out of trainings for cooperative members around Lebialem by ERuDeF staff on cassava cultivation, bee and pigs farming techniques among others.

11 October 2017

ERuDeF, CAMHERP-CBF Conduct Biodiversity Inventory At Mt Muanenguba

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ERuDeF, CAMHERP-CBF Conduct Biodiversity Inventory At Mt Muanenguba

Wildlife Biologists from the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) andthe Cameroon Herpetology-Conservation Biology Foundation (CAMHERP-CBF) have reappraised the biodiversity abundance in Mt. Muanenguba. This was after a two week inventory conducted on the mountain to keep abreast with the various fauna and flora present in the mountain.

Stanely Acham

From August 20 to 31,2017ateam, made of ERuDeF’s Amphibians coordinator, Grace Neba, alongside ornithologists (bird specialists) and chiropterologists (bat specialists) from the University of Maroua, Congo Basin Institute and Dja Reserve respectively, were engaged in identifying birds and bat species at this emblematic mountain. Two mist nets for birds were set up every morning. This according to Jean Michel Takuo from Congo

Basin Institute was because most birds are active early in the morning. For bats, mist nets were setup every evening. The birds were also identified via point count.

Some bird species captured during the survey, included but not limited to the Bannerman weaver (Ploceusbannermani) and Cameroon Blue-headed sunbird (Cyanomitraoritis).

The inventory also served as an opportunity for ERuDeF’s Amphibians Coordinator to gain new knowledge in bird and bat survey

“After this survey I now know how to set up mist net for birds, conduct point counts for birds and also how to collect and record data for birds and bats in the field. As a wildlife biologist in ERuDeF having broad knowledge on several wildlife species survey method is paramount. From now on if ERuDeF is planning any bird survey then I think I can successfully conduct the survey. Also I will be glad to teach my other colleague what I learnt in the field” She testified

Jointly organized by ERuDeF and CAMHERP-CBF, the expedition was conducted as part of activities for the Mt Manenguba project aimed at establishing a data base of all wildlife species within the proposed Mount Muanenguba Integral Ecological Reserve.

11 October 2017

SBC, Contributing To Collaborative Protected Area Management In Cameroon

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SBC, Contributing To Collaborative Protected Area Management In Cameroon

The Silver Back Company Ltd (SBC) is a social business company created by the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) in 2013. It aimed at assisting the communities in which ERuDeF is working, commercialise the products produced by the cooperatives.

Ignatius Njom

The SBC Ltd constitutes the principal source of funding to two endowments namely the ERuDeF Endowment Fund (EEF) the Forest Protection Fund (FoProF). It is currently involved in the commercialisation of palm oil, honey, Mondia and Echinops roots from the Lebialem Highlands.

Proceeds generated from the sales of the Silver Back Company go towards the capitalization of the Forest Protection Fund (FoProF), a community-based conservation trust fund and the ERuDeF Endowment Fund, designed to support the charitable activities of ERuDeF.

SBC Ltd buys her products from the community enterprises, processes the products and markets them. The cooperatives in return, invest proceeds from the sales into its activities.

The Company also re-invests 40% of the profits into SBC Ltd operations. Then 30% of the profits generated by SBC Ltd goes into the ERuDeF Endowment Fund another 30% into the Forest Protection Fund. This fund will carry out operations without depending entirely on the external funding.

The Forest Protection Fund seeks to support activities of protected area management like law enforcement, forest surveillance, biological monitoring and wildlife education in schools and communities. FoProF is a community-based conservation trust fund established by ERuDeF to support village level conservation initiatives of Village Forest Management Committees (VFMCs) and traditional councils.

In the next five years, with an estimated investment of $1.000, 000(FCFA 550,000,000) , the SBC Ltd will stand out as the main funder for these two endowments whose mission is to fund the charitable programmes of ERuDeF with focus on biodiversity and protected area management as well as other components of sustainable development.

SBC Ltd’s key investment will be in the domain of biodiversity business. SBC will continue to focus its trade on palm oil, non timber forest products, ABS products and maybe other products entering into the biodiversity realm.

11 October 2017

SBC Contributions To Dev’t Of Access & Benefit Sharing Initiative In Cameroon

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SBC Contributions To Dev’t Of Access & Benefit Sharing Initiative In Cameroon

Throughout history, indigenous peoples and local communities have used traditional knowledge and biological resources to cure illnesses, provide nourishment, and fulfill everyday livelihood needs. More recently, many people have benefitted from the use of some of this knowledge and biodiversity to develop pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, crop varieties and livestock breeds, and other products for personal use. However, communities that have nurtured the genetic diversity over thousands of years of cultivation and wild use often have not benefitted from these developments. Frequently, they are not involved in the research and development process, receive little or no compensation for their knowledge or resources, and have no access to the final products.

Ebenezer Akumbo

In an attempt to address these concerns at international and national levels, the Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Initiative was introduced.ABS Initiative refers to the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources and their related traditional knowledge.

Launched in Cameroon in 2012, the concept of ABS is been field-tested in Communities of Magha and Lewoh with Echinops and Mondia. The Mondia and Echinops genetic resources are purchased from the communities by the cooperatives (LeWoCoS and MoBECoS). The products are then exported to V. Mane Fils Company through Silver back company (SBC). The goal of the company is to provide long term financing to ERuDeF’s charity programmes through ploughing back profits generated from the Company’s businesses.

Silver Back Company serves as a link between the cooperatives and the French company. The Mount Bamboutos Echinop Cooperative Society (MoBECoS) is involved in buying the products from local communities, weighing and drying of the roots. The company is also involved in the buying and exporting of Mondia related products.

The benefit sharing scheme according to the Mutually Agreed Terms for the commercialization of Echinopsgiganteus in Cameroon is vital in regulating the relations between all stakeholders involved in the process.

Since the start of 2017, Silver Back Company has assisted in the exportation of 1 ton of Echinops roots to V. Mane Fils Company in France.

The Silver Back Company has contributed greatly in the commercialization of Echinops by linking the French Company in the North South trade relations and facilitating quality and respect of business ethics.

11 October 2017

Liquid Fertilizer Gaining Grounds In West Region

Posted in News, Views 180

Liquid Fertilizer Gaining Grounds In West Region

Farmers in the Western part of Cameroon have adopted a new method of fertilising crops. Juice squeezed from agroforestry leaves and other biological materials are applied on crops, yielding equivalent results as other fertilisers. The new technology was discovered by ERuDeF’s field based technician in Bakassa (West Region of Cameroon), Jean Baptiste Nitcheu,

According to Jean Baptiste, planting these trees year in, year out, gave him the new knowledge of creating his own fertiliser from natural and agroforestry plants. With his enthusiasm for the agroforestry project, he began to test different ways of making his life much better and it is from here that since 2010 he began to produce liquid fertilizer

“The liquid fertilizer is made out of water, urine of rabbits, and Acacia or Leucaena leaves. It requires no money. I have been able to make huge gains out of this fertiliser, helping other farmers in their farms. It highly increases soil fertility and thus, greater output from the farm,” Jean Baptite said.

He underscored the advantage of the liquid fertilizer over other fertilizers

“They are applied to plants by watering or spraying thereby reduce watering, it doesn’t require the labour of mixing it into the soil. The best part is, this mixture serve as pesticides as it kills all insects destroying crops,” Jean Baptiste added.

This new discovery has greatly helped many famers in the West Region. With the ease with which the fertiliser is applied, many farmers around Noun and Menoua Division of the West Region are investing in the use of the Liquid fertiliser.

“It’s a miraculous fertiliser. We apply on our cabbage and Irish potatoes farms, and honestly, our crops are really fresh. It’s so natural and it readily fertilises the soil,” Michelle Ngakam affirmed.

Hence food production is on the increase in this part of Cameroon. The said man,Nitcheu Jean Baptiste, has been working with Trees for the Future/Trees Cameroon since 2007 and has planted over 1million agroforestry species of trees.

Payong Prudence

03 August 2017

ERuDeF, Rainforest Trust Making Great strides in Managing Tofala

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 ERuDeF, Rainforest Trust Making Great strides in Managing Tofala

The Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary is one of Cameroon’s newest protected area created in 2014 by a Prime Ministerial Decree for the conservation of some close to 40 Cross River Gorilla, over 150 Nigerian Cameroon Chimpanzees, unknown population Drills and other biodiversity species.

Though a bold step towards conserving this biodiversity hotspot and its emblematic biodiversity species, the protected area was still left at the mercy of some thirteen adjacent communities, who continue to hunt and sell wildlife species, also creating farms within the area in a bid to meet up with daily needs.

By B. Shancho Ndimuh

Haven successfully facilitated the creation of this protected area, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) could not let its dream of ensuring the long term conservation of endangered biodiversity species in the area, most especially the Cross River Gorilla, Nigeria Cameroon Chimpanzees and Drills amongst others to be watered down by unsustainable anthropogenic activities.

To avert this plight, the Cameroon’s leading conservation non-profit organisation, ERuDeF, last January, 2017 joined forces with Rainforest Trust USA.

Aimed at ensuring the conservation and effective management of this biodiversity hotspot, ERuDeF and partner trained and equipped some nine government Eco-Guards and six community Eco-Guards with the necessary knowledge and tools like global positioning System (GPS), cyber trackers and camera traps, to crack down on deviant behaviours in and around the sanctuary.Few months after, the Conservator of the Tafala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary,Mr Thomas Njimin Amin, in an interview granted The Green Vision recently, testified that a lot has been achieved

“I think our presence and constant patrol of this area has scared away many poachers because poaching has drastically reduced. What remains a great challenge is the opening up of new farms most around the Egumbu flank of the forest. We actually find it difficult to carry out any legal action against the perpetrators because we too are not certain about the park boundary. So the speedier ERuDeF can facilitate the demarcation of the park border the easier our task will be” the Conservator recommended.

He added that their patrol has led to the discovery of a market in Egumbu that operates in the night and is known for the selling the cartridges to hunters mostly from Mamfe and Bamenda. The Tofala boss said he will be meeting the Divisional Officer of that area so that the market can either be dissolved or made to operate during the day.

In the area of research, ERuDeF’s team of biologists alongside some six trained local Eco-guards are carrying additional surveys in and around Tofala extending to areas like Egumbu, Bamumbu and Fossimondi, that have hitherto never been covered due to logistic reasons. Speaking to The Green Vision recently, ERuDeF’s Biologist, Gwendoline Angwa revealed that this additional survey has led to the discovery of a group of the Nigerian Cameroon Chimpanzee and signs of the Cross River Gorilla in Fossimondi and some monkey species in Bamumbu. She indicated that, the research has led to the recording of several signs of wildlife threats like gun shells and new farms with some up to one hectare amongst others.

Miss Angwa said the data collected has been imputed into a database which will be analyzed and published in due course. This, according to her will influence government policy towards the effective management of this protected area.

In order to effectively engage community members in the conservation of this protected area, Miss Angwa disclosed that ERuDeF has re-organised the Village Conservation Committee with members trained and implored to follow up and ensure that protected species are not hunted and new farms are not opened within the protected area.

In a bid to promote ecotourism and research within this biodiversity hotspot, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of ERuDeF, Ursula Nkeng, said feasibility studies are being carried out for the construction of an office based camp while contacts are already been made with engineers that will construct the camp. She added that activities geared towards demarkating the park boundaries have already begun. Meanwhile, the putting in place of a technical committee for the elaboration and validation of a Management Plan for the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary by the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife (MINFOF), is being awaited. A request letter in this regard was transmitted to the Minister last April, 2017.

The COO stated that as soon as the technical committee is put in place by the Minister, a road map for the establishment of the management plan will be established while Sub-Divisional, Divisional and National validation meetings will be organized.

It’s therefore incumbent on the Minister of Forestry and Wildlife to speedy the putting in place of the task force to hasten up the establishment of the management plants greatly needed for the proper management of this outstanding biodiversity hotspot with globally threatened and important species.

03 August 2017

ERuDeF Sets 2035 Budget At FCFA 10 Billion

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ERuDeF Sets 2035 Budget At FCFA 10 Billion

Board of Trustees (BoT) at the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), have set FCFA 10 billion ($20 million) as the budget to run the organisation by 2035. They made this revelation, Saturday July 8, 2017, in an ordinary board meeting at the conference room of the ERuDeF Institute of Biodiversity and Non-profit studies.

By: Joyce Mbong

The meeting was also aimed at adopting and approving the 2016/2017 report and budget. The President and CEO of ERuDeF, Louis Nkembi, indicated that FCFA 100 Billion would be used for the construction of an ultra-modern complex for ERuDeF hosting offices. It will also be used to erect a university with two faculties (Business and Biodiversity), 500 sitter capacity amphitheatre, departmental conference halls, virtual libraries, a research centre in Besali and a host of others.

This budget, according to the ERuDeF boss, will also be used for the construction the Organisation’s Western Regional office in Menji (to coordination activities in West, Northwest and part of Southwest Regions) and the Centre Regional office in Yaounde (to coordinate activities in the Centre and Adamawa Regions). He said the budget would equally see the recruitment of some 500 Cameroonians

The President and CEO disclosed that such a target is in line with the Organisation’s drive to consolidate its position as the leading conservation NGO in Central Africa as well as maintain its supremacy among NGOs in Africa.

The President indicated ERuDeF would accomplish the budget at the stipulated time if all staff, management and Board of Trustees harness their efforts for the betterment of the organisation.

“The time for wait and see has passed. We need to redouble our efforts to meet up with all standards. If we have the right team and resources put together, we can go far beyond this vision,” Louis Nkembi said.

Schooling board members on the organisation’s progress and other key sites of interest, he cited the launching of ERuDeF UK and USA branches, the advancement of activities/work at the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, proposed Mak Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary, and the proposed Mount Muanenguba Integral Ecological Reserve and others as key achievements.

Mr. Nkembi frowned at limited commitment and dedication exhibited by board members calling on them to become more committed so the Organisation’s aspirations can be met.

This reaction harvested varied feedbacks form Board Members at the meeting.

“I want to commend the numerous efforts of ERuDeF staff for the realisation of all these works. I think we as Board of Trustees have to be more committed to reach our expected goal; we need to be more committed and dedicated. We will leave no stone unturned at realizing our vision,” Dr. Zikeng Martina said.

The meeting ended with the admission of ERuDeF’s Chief Operations Officer, Ursula Nkeng, into the Organisation’s membership. Mrs. Nkeng promised to be more committed to the activities of the organisation and revive old member to be more active and interactive.

Meanwhile, Board Members agreed to elect other members to fill vacant positions including that of the Vice President who passed away early this year.

03 August 2017

Farmers In Magha-Bamumbu Improve Livelihoods Via Echinops Roots Exportation.

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Farmers In Magha-Bamumbu Improve Livelihoods Via Echinops Roots Exportation.

The President of Mt Bamboutos Enterprise Cooperative Society (MoBECoS), Landus Thandus, has testified that the commercialisation of Echinops root has improved on household incomes of many in the community.

By E.Fuh

He was speaking on the heels of the successful exportation of over 894Kg dried roots Echinops giganteus, mid-June 2017, by farmers, to V. Mane Fils Company in France under the auspices of Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF).

Mr. Landus posits that since the inception of this project, the lives of community members have not been the same again.

“This project has greatly improved the livelihood of our members and the Magha Bamumbu community. We have members who have built houses and extended their businesses, thanks to money generated from this project,” Landus Thandus attested.

The Project Coordinator of the Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Initiative at ERuDeF, Akumbu Ebenezer, said the urgent demand for the roots (genetic resources) in the fragrance and pharmaceutical industries in France and the United States of America, warrant supplies at high quantities.

Akumbu added that according to the ABS principles, the V. ManeFils Company, that is currently using the genetic material to produce useful products in France, would plough back the profit that will be generated after the sales of the products, to the Magha-Bamumbu community.

“The profit generated from the commercialisation of the end-product, will be shared equitably with the local community (provider), and V. Mane Fils (potential user). This will go a long way to sustained and improve the livelihoods of the community concerned,” commented the ABS Project Coordinator.

Meanwhile, the Magha-Bamumbu community, have in order to boost supply, underscored the need for a vehicle that will aid in roots transportation.

03 August 2017

New Delegate Affirms Collaboration With ERuDeF In Lebialem Highlands Biodiversity Management

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 New Delegate Affirms Collaboration With ERuDeF In Lebialem Highlands Biodiversity Management

The new Divisional Delegate of Forestry and Wildlife for Lebialem, Ikome Delphine, has expressed her desire to unflinchingly collaborate with the Environment and Rural Development (ERuDeF) in saving species and biodiversity hotspots within the Lebialem Highlands Conservation Complex.

She was speaking, Monday July 10, 2017, to the ERuDeF team during a familiarity visit at ERuDeF’s Western Cameroon head office in Menji, Lebialem Division.

By Gwendoline Angwa

The Divisional Delegate said ERuDeF has already invested so much in her conservation strive within the Lebialem Highlands. She promised to follow the footprints of her predecessor, to facilitate ERuDeF’s conservation efforts.

“If I have any vibrant thing to do in Lebialem Division, it’s thanks to the many works ERuDeF has put in here in the Lebialem Highlands. I would work with the NGO to facilitate the conservation of wildlife species in the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, and also facilitate the creation of the proposed Mak-Betchou wildlife sanctuary, among other things,” Delphine Ikome said.

The Delegate and her team reviewed ERuDeF’s activities in the Lebialem Highlands Conservation Complex, posing questions and recommendations on how things can be smoothly run in line with conservation.

With respect to the misunderstanding in the Lebang Fondom, in the creation of the proposed Mak-Betchou wildlife sanctuary, the delegate promised to contact the competent authority in Lebang, so issues are sorted out.

The Delegate recommended that ERuDeF hasten up processes of boundary demarcation for the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary. This to her, will avoid encroachment by villagers. She also recommended that eco guards and rangers be presented with state of the art equipment to facilitate surveillance around the Tofala wildlife sanctuary.

The meeting wrapped up with the delegate requesting that all ERuDeF report on activities conducted in Lebialem be submitted to MINFOF. This, according to her, will assist in enhancing follow-up and collaboration between her delegation and the organisation.

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