[one_third][/one_third]Members of cooperatives in communities adjacent to the proposed Mark-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary, have been urged to speedup efforts in implanting the Biodiversity Community Trust (BCT) in their area. The Conservation Finance Officer at the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), Quddus Njang, made the call recently while on an inspection tour to the three main cooperatives adjacent to the proposed protected area. His visit came on the heels of the launch and implementation of BCT in the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary and the proposed Mark-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary.
Speaking to the cooperatives, the Conservation Finance Officer indicated that it is very imperative for the cooperatives to come together to ensure the smooth functioning of BCT. He outlined the benefits each cooperative stand to gain in the wake of the effective operation of BCT.
“The BCT is ERuDeF’s microfinance that will uplift your communities. We encourage you all to be members of BCT by saving your money. Through it, you shall be able to secure various kinds of loans. We shall also use surpluses from the BCT to develop your community,” Quddus Njang told the cooperatives.
His mission took him to some three cooperatives in the proposed Mark Betchou. They are; Mak-Betchou Cooperative Society, Nkongho-Mbo Farmers’ Cooperative Society and the Nkongho-Mbeng Farmers’ Cooperative Society.
During the follow up meeting with members of the above mentioned cooperatives, members were made to understand how the BCT is going to be implemented in each of the cooperatives. Also, they were enlightened on the role each of the cooperatives play in the effective functioning ofBCT.
After posing different queries and getting satisfactory responses, cooperative members promised to collaborate with ERuDeF to ensure the conservation of their natural resources for future generation.They expressed total satisfaction and willingness to be part of the BCT.
“I am very happy with all the efforts ERuDeF is making to better our living conditions while conserving natural resources. Through ERuDeF, we are proud to say that we now have our own microfinance institution in Mbetta. We have been able to enroll in professional trainings, especially on the management of microfinance and the enhancement of our livelihoods. I want to say on behalf of our cooperative members that we are willing and ready to see that this initiative becomes a success in our area,” Said Fonkeng Christian, President of Nkongho-Mbeng Farmers’ Cooperative based in Mbetta.
The Biodiversity Community Trust Fund is a brain child of ERuDeF. It seeks to create a financial platform where community members can save, loan and withdraw money. Its aim is to improve on the livelihood of communities adjacent to protected areas, so the human pressure on protected areas will be reduced to the barest minimum.
BY: Allen Tabi