Climate Change Hits Its Peak In Cameroon’s Southwest Region.

The Southwest Region of Cameroon is blessed with a variety of natural resources such as; forests, water bodies (waterfalls, rivers, lakes, and ocean), mountains and abundant wildlife species. These natural resources stand as touristic sites in Cameroon especially the Mount Cameroon that welcomes more than 4000 tourists annually for the Mount Cameroon race of hope. Moreover, climate in this region favors human habitation with temperature ranging from 16oC-26 oC and an annual rainfall of 1432.2 mm thus promoting agricultural practices. The presence of endemic wildlife (Cross river gorillas, chimpanzee, drills, pangolins and birds) has led to the creation of numerous protected areas for the conservation of these globally threatened wildlife species that also serve as touristic sites (MINFOF & WWF, 2006).

Over the past 2 decades, this region has been exposed to climate change as a result of Greenhouse Gaz (GHG) emission. Consequently, the population are facing abnormal recurrence of extreme weather phenomena such as violent winds, high temperatures, irregular rainfall, floods and landslides which endanger communities’ ecosystems and the services they provide. These environmental hazards are as a result of uncontrolled human activities which are not in conformity to environmental principles and disciplines, hence causing global warming. These activities include but not limited to deforestation, poor agricultural techniques, poor waste disposal, plastic pollution and the absence of infrastructural town planning.

There is much scientific evidence that climate change is responsible for; increase in epidemics, food and water scarcity, changes in temperature and precipitation, leading to droughts and floods, poor agricultural yields and malnutrition (P. Nde-Fon and J.C.N.Assob, 2013).

As climate change appears to be progressing too quickly for decisions to be delayed, we need to develop national and local climate change institutional frameworks to strengthen the coordination, networking and information flows at different levels of governments and local civil society to have better response to climate change eradication.

In response to this environmental crisis, ERuDeF seeks to reduce GHG emission in Southwest Cameroon through multi-partner cooperation and awareness raising. Specifically, we would;

Create a synergy of stake holders who have a common mission to fight against GHG emission,Raise the awareness of all GHG emitting sectors campaigns involving Civil Society Organizations (CSO),Increase stake holder’s commitment in the reduction of GHG through publication and production of documentaries.

The paper draws attention to the need to address the constraints of lack of awareness and poor flow of information on the potential quality environmental management strategies for climate change adaptation.

The Mount Bamboutos Fons’ Association gains Legal Status

The Mount Bamboutos Fons’ Association (MBFA) has gained its legal status. This was early January 2021 after receiving the declaration certificate from the Senior Divisional Officer of Bamboutos in Mbouda. The news which came as a breakthrough from the president of the Association, His Majesty Senator Fon Lekunze Andreas Nembo of Bamumbu, was received with a lot of effervescence by the members of the Association. The Association which constitute all the paramount chiefs of the chiefdoms in Mount Bamboutos was initiated on 19th of April 2018 during a meeting held in Bafoussam with some paramount chiefs and sub-chiefs around mount Bamboutos. The creation process was facilitated by the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), with financial support from the French Global Fund for Environment – Small Grants Programme (FFEM-PP1) through the International Union for Nature Conservation – French Committee.

“I am
very happy that after close to three years we are able to legalise MBFA. This marks
a turning point in the life the Mount Bamboutos Initiative. We shall speak now
in a much louder voice” the president of Mont Bamboutos Fons’ Association, Fon
Lekunze said.

The CEO and President of ERuDeF, Louis Nkembi on his part could holdn’t his joy after receiving the news. Hear him “MBFA is a very important body as far as the Mount Bamboutos Initiative is concerned. Since we started the implementation of Mt. Bamboutos Initiative in 2018, fons have played a vital role. The acceptability rate of the project is high thanks to the efforts made by these fons. Am very happy receiving the news of the creation of the MBFA”

MBFA is a non-profit community-based association
whose members are to work in accordance to the LAW No. 20/053 of December 1990 on the liberty of
Association in Cameroon.

The
goal of this association is to ensure effective grassroots participation and
involvement in the sustainable management of the Mt. Bamboutos ecosystem
through a “bottom-up” approach.

The objectives of MBFA are:

  1. To contribute towards sustainable land use
    management in the Mt. Bambouotos landscape by taking and implementing concrete
    decisions;
  2. To lobby and influence the government of Cameroon
    to invest in the sustainable management of the Mt. Bamboutos ecosystem;
  3. To ensure transparency and accountability in the
    management of financial and material resources for the sustainable management
    of natural resources in the Mt. Bamboutos ecosystem.
  4. To collaborate with the government of Cameroon
    and local/international non-governmental organizations (NGO) in the development
    and implementation of projects for the wellbeing of the rural population living
    around the Mt. Bamboutos area. 

The Association is constituted of paramount rulers of the following chiefdoms that surrounds the Bamboutos mountains: Bafou, Bangang, Babadjou and Fongo-Tongo (in the West Region); Bamumbu, M’muock Fossimondi and M’muockmbie (in the Southwest Region); Pinyin, Menka, Buchi, Ashong and Guzong (in the Northwest).

The
legalization of MBFA will give it more impetus to champion the fight for the
restoration of the severely degraded mount Bamboutos ecosystem. It should be
noted that even when the Association was not yet legalized, the members have
played very vital role in the success of the pilot phase of the Mount Bamboutos
Initiative, serving as entry points to local communities and taking vital
management decisions.

ERuDeF INSTALLS NEWLY APPOINTED STAFF

2020 was one of the most difficult years for the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF).  The COVID-19 crisis that took the world by surprise and the Anglophone crisis that has been raging in the two Anglophone regions of Cameroon for 4 years now and counting affected its activities so badly. Friday 15 January marked another beginning for the environment and rural development foundation.  This was marked by the installation of its newly appointed staff. This installation was presided over by the President/CEO of ERuDeF, Louis Nkembi.

Elomo
lylliane who was previously the Regional coordinator for the Cameroon Forest
Gardens Program appointed as the Senior Programs Officer for Department of
Agriculture.

Nja Beltin
Teku was appointed as the Senior Programs Officer for Department of Conservation

Nanda Serge was also moved from the Department of Forestry and appointed Senior Programs Officer for the Department of Development and Communication.

Jingwa
Laura on her part was appointed as Senior Programs Officer for the Center for
the ERuDeF Advancement of Women’s Initiatives

Deh Nji
Hermann on his part was appointed as the Senior Program officer for the
Department of Forestry. It should be noted that Deh Nji Hermann is the
coordinator of one of ERuDeF landmark project, the Mount Bamboutos Initiative

Ojong
Loveline was appointed as Senior Programs Manager and Quality Management.

Previously the Personal Assistant to the CEO, Ndi Magdalen was appointed as Chief of Staff.

. The installation marked a fresh start in the professional lives of the newly appointed. According to Louis Nkembi, ‘they will be starting afresh’. He emphasized that every new post calls for a new beginning as they will be expected to start from scratch, read books and get the insights of their new posts while exploring every aspect of their new positions.

The newly appointed staff all received these promotions with great pleasure. They expressed their heartfelt gratitude to the President /CEO as well as the entire organization for trusting them with these responsibilities which they term ‘challenging’.

Jingwa laura who was appointed as the Senior Program Officer for the ERuDeF Center for the Advancement of Women’s Initiatives says she will do her very best to take CAWI to another level. Hear her: “I want to thank the CEO for giving me the opportunity to excel in my career in women and gender. I will do all within my reach for the continuous growth of the organization”.

Nanda serge on his part says teamwork is the key to everything “we will work together as a team to take ERuDeF to another level”.

Environment and rural development foundation aspires to see greater achievements this year in comparison to last year.

Endangered Species in Deng Deng-Belabo Conservation Corridor

This area is home to at least 40 species of large
mammal(Diangha,2015)  among the species,
the most northern population of western lowland gorillas inhabit this area and
occurs at higher density than in most sites in the East Region of Cameroon
(Ambahe et al. 2011). A population survey conducted around the project area
revealed that   more than 300 western
lowland gorillas and 600 chimpanzees live within the National Park (Ambahe et
al. 2011, Stautner and Delaney 2011).

The area also harbors many water dwelling mammals,
hippopotamus and swamp otter which are rare species in Cameroon.  In addition to mammals, sixty species of fish
belonging to 16 families and mostly Mormyridae and the Cyprinidae are common in
the Lom and Pangar Rivers (COTCO 2012). The park host three important bird
species namely the African gray parrots, Bates’swaever and Grey- necked rock
fowls. The forest flora is however, dominated by commercially valuable
Triplochiton scleroxylon, which are heavily targeted for exploitation
throughout their range in the east region.

Main environmental
threats in project area

1.            Lack of
good governance: The presence of porous government of Cameroon forestry and
wildlife policies in the region have granted permission of hotly contested open
bush meat markets in the region. This has led to the high demand of bush meat
in the area.

2.            Population
influx: The presence of Economic Operators and external development bodies such
as Cameroon Oil Transportation Company (COTCO), Electricity Development
Cooperation (EDC), refugees from Central African Republic as well as forestry
exploitation companies have together led to a seasonal influx of people into
the project area.

3.            Forest
conversion to farm: This has cause encroachment in the forest and the
conversion of forest into farmlands. More so communities lack knowledge of
improve agricultural techniques so they tend to move to new lands for
cultivation abandoning the old farms (shifting Cultivation).

4.            The
construction of roads by clearing and opening of large forest tracks and
construction of settlement camps for workers has also led to severe
biodiversity losses.

Un-rational fishing: Fishing is being done seasonally using
unsustainable method with small net sizes that collect even the young fish. The
different methods used are; hooks, bottom set gillnets and basket traps.

5.            Increased
exploitation of timber resources both for commercial and local consumption is
also exerting pressure on the area.

6.            Suppressed
and marginalized local economy. This is of very serious concern and the
principal driver behind rampant and rapid forest conversion to farms and
poaching given that locals earn less than 1USD per day. Addressing the drivers
of the suppressed economy and poverty will substantially address the major
threats to conservation in this conservation complex.

All of the above threats exist to some degree in the actual
project sites and threaten to increase fragmentation of the forest blocks
linking DDNP to Belabo Council Forest. 
Without providing an urgent solution to protecting the DDNP – Belabo
corridor, endangered species within the NP including over 400 western lowland
gorillas and greater numbers of other IUCN Red list species (chimpanzees,
elephants, etc) may encounter difficulties in migrating southwards to other
protected forests contributing to the occurrence of inbreeding and potentially
leading to increased human – wildlife conflicts.

Furthermore, the cycle of poverty in the villages associated
to the proposed CFRs has led to increased exploitation of forest resources.
Local people harvest wildlife species such as Pangolin, duikers,Red River Hog
and to a smaller extend apes, as a source of protein in their diet and also for
commercial purposes to increase house hold income. Timber species are harvested
for commercial purpose, construction and furniture. Non timber forest products
such as Vocanga Africana are also harvested in an unsustainable fashion.

The goal of the project is to preserve good quality forest habitats between two already existing protected areas (: Deng Deng National Park and Belabo Council Forest) for the maintenance and/or enhancement of suitable conditions for the movement of endangered species and prevent occurrences of inbreeding.  Specifically, this project will strengthen the management of the Deng Deng National Park by effectively managing the two community forests created via simple management plans developed in full consultation with the local communities and the local ministries as well as other stakeholders.

As Cameroon government backtracks on logging concession of Ebo Forest: what next?

-Ebo forest spans 200,000ha

-The forest is one
of the few pristine forest in Central Africa located in Southwestern Cameroon,
precisely in the Littoral Region of Cameroon

Ebo forest is home to the critically endangered
Nigeria-Cameroon Chimpanzees, western gorillas, drills, forest elephants etc.

-40 indigenous
communities including the Banen tribe consider Ebo forest as their ancestral
home.

Conservators in and out of Cameroon heaved
a sigh of relief after the government of Cameroon reversed her decision to give
68,385
ha of the biodiversity rich-Ebo forest for
logging purposes.

On July 23, 2020, the Prime Minister of
Cameroon signed a decree approving the logging of 68,385 ha of the virgin Ebo
forest. This decision which conservators described as a death sentence to the
Western gorillas, Cameroon –Nigeria Chimpanzees and a host of other endangered
species and plants caused a lot of outrage across the globe. The government of Cameroon
maintained that the decision will bring wealth and job opportunities to the
local communities. It was reported that the Prime Minister of Cameroon ignored
the aspirations of the 40 local communities that border the biodiversity rich
Ebo Forest. 

In an Interview the Cameroon’s minister of
Forestry and Wildlife, Jules
Doret Ndongo maintains that the Cameroon has “enough” protected
areas and the decree doesn’t mean that all trees will be cut down … the United
Nations obliges countries to keep at least 12% of their national territory as
protected areas; Cameroon is already at 30%,”. “Logging” the minister continues “is governed by
instruments that allow for the protection of biodiversity in general and
wildlife in particular … which highlights the ‘Government’s ecological
awareness’ and its concern for the preservation of the country’s wildlife
resources,”

The good
news

On August 11, 2020, the government of Cameroon in
a dramatic U-turn annulled the decision to log Ebo forest. This decision was
welcomed by many, amongst which was the CEO of the Environment and Rural
Development Foundation (ERuDeF), Louis Nkembi.

The CEO of ERuDeF who has been working for more
than two decades in protecting endangered wildlife and plant species described
the decision as a “big win for conservators”. Hear him “I welcome Cameroon’s
government’s decision to annul logging concession of Ebo forest. The decision
means saving the last endangered Nigeria-Cameroon Chimpanzees, Western gorillas
and a host of other endangered species which my organization has been working
for more than two decades to protect. Species are increasingly loosing their
habitats. Habitat fragmentation continue to lead to inbreeding which makes
species genetically weak” According to the CEO of ERuDeF, the government of
Cameroon together with conservation organizations and the local communities
around the forest need to develop an inclusive land use planning that will guarantee
the future conservation of this pristine forest. It should be noted that Ebo
forest   holds an estimated 35 million tons of carbon.

What
next?

While conservationists continue to celebrate
their recent victory, there are worries that these celebrations may only be
momentary. There is a need for an inclusive land use planning in this key
biodiversity hotspot in Cameroon.  The
government of Cameroon must take practical steps in resettling those who were displaced
from this forest decade ago as a result of war that ensued after the
independence of Cameroon in the early 60s. The Banen people for example have
launched a campaign to return their roots-Ebo forest. “We have always lived in
harmony with this forest and its diversity, but people just want to make money…
Much of our history can still be found in the forest”, Chief Victor Yetina, a
ruler in the Banen clan is quoted as saying to The Guardian. The “what next?” question must be answered now or
never…#savetheeboforest.

Nlonako –Muanenguba Mountains under severe Human Pressure: Biodiversity vulnerable

Nlonako
–Muanenguba Mountain represents one of the most fragile ecosystems in Cameroon
harboring some of the worlds threaten fauna species that appear on the IUCN RED
list. Most of these animals are endemic to the area hence making them been
threaten of extinction by the irrational behavior of the local communities in
the landscape. Nlonako –Muanenguba Mountain serves as a homeland to key species
such as amphibians (particularly the goliath frog), birds and pangolins (white
bellied and giant pangolin).

Resent
publications have proven that there is a drastic drop in the encounter rate of
these species thus indicating that their population sizes are in a decrease.
This is associated to the fact that human pressure in the landscape is highly
influencing the growth of and reproduction of these animals as most of their
habitats are been destroyed for farmlands, species like parrots been hunted for
pet trade, while pangolins and goliath frogs are harvested for home consumption
and commercial purposes (ERuDeF, 2016).

Other
indirect factors indicate that threat to wildlife in this landscape is as a
result of poor law enforcement with regards to wildlife conservation, local
communities lack the capacity for sustainable wildlife protection, and they
lack the awareness concerning wildlife and nature protection.

 The
sustainable use of wildlife resources has been the priority of government since
independence. As a result, Cameroon is a signatory to relevant international,
regional and sub-regional conventions and treaties, with a clear legal and
institutional framework to guide the use of animals. These signatories include;
the Convention on Conservation of Nature and
Natural Resources, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of
Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), Convention on the Conservation of Biological
Diversity (CBD, 1992).

 In line with Cameroon government to promote
the conservation of threatened biodiversity and ecosystems, the Environment and
Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) seeks to conserve biodiversity and
protect the fragile ecosystem of the Nlonako- Muanenguba Mountain. We have
practically involved local communities in the conservation of these threaten
fauna through capacity building initiatives and awareness raising campaigns.

Discover how pastoralists are highly involved in the Mount Bamboutos Initiative

Since the onset of the Mount Bamboutos initiative in 2018, ERuDeF together with her local and international partners have been working towards getting everyone involved. One of of the ethnic groups that have been highly involved in the Mount Bamboutos Initiative project are the Bororos (pastoralists). Considered to be reserved and very highly isolated people, the Bororos have been one of the most active ethnic groups as far as the Mount Bamboutos Initiative is concerned. The Bororos are considered as settlers in the Mount Bamboutos landscape. Despite their “settler” statues, the Bororos have taken upon themselves to restore the Mount Bamboutos ecosystem.

The continuous conversion of pastoral land into agricultural land by farmers have robbed this group of people of their grazing land. They are not only losing grazing land but they have little or no water especially in the dry season for their animals to drink. The lack of water is as a result of the continuous cutting down of trees in the Mount Bamboutos.

There has been tension between Bororos and farmers as a result of the continuous conversion of pastoral land by farmers for agricultural purposes. They remain in the losing side since they are the minority.

Sali Manu is a grazer and a representative of the Bororos in Bangang village, West region of Cameroon. He owns 60 cows, 15 horses and 30 sheep. The father of 13 is very worried at the rate at which the Mount Bamboutos is being degraded. Sali, as he is fondly called says his animals haven’t  enough water to drink in the rainy season talk less of the dry season. “When I was young, I and my late father had enough land to graze our cattle on. Now the situation is different, we don’t have enough land to grace our cattle since every place is gradually being transformed to farm lands. During the dry season we are forced to walk long distances with our animals to get water. Usually we go to Santchou, some 6 kms away from Bangang village where am based”. “I will take part in every tree planting exercise on the Mount Bamboutos”, the 40-year-old grazer continues “in order to guarantee a good future for my 13 kids and preserve our long standing tradition of grazing”. Sali Manu just like many other Bororos want a participatory land use system in which everyone has a say. “I am very happy with the participatory land use planning system in which ERuDeF is in the process of developing and implementing for the entire landscape.”  Sali Manu said with a broad smile on his face.

Sali Manu carrying trees on his back and hands to planting site

Nuhu Barkido is one of the pioneers of the Mount Bamboutos Initiatve. The 25 years old and and his friend Adamu Adamu, 26 have been very active as far as the 2020 tree planting is concerned. They have all answered present in all the tree planting exercise in their Bangang village. “when I was young I used to enjoy the natural beauty of the Mount Bamboutos. Now the situation has changed, the beauty of the mountain has all gone and what one can see now are farmlands doted here and there. We don’t have enough land to graze our cattle. We are experiencing absolute water shortages. We don’t have enough water to drink talk less of our cattle Nuhu lamented.  “At times we are referred to as “strangers” irrespective of the fact that we were born and bred here in Bangang village. We are not bothered by this appellation, what bother us most is the state of the Mount Bamboutos. We are determined to reverse the presnt situation that is why am actively involved in tree planted”. Adamu added.

Adamu Adamu (left) and Nuhu Barkido (Right)

Dada Hayatou is one of the few who lived the glorious days of the Mount Bamboutos. The 77 years who is also a mother of 10 has been taken part in all tree planting exercise since the beginning of the Mount Bamboutos Initiative project despite her ill health , 2020 not being an exception. “I am one of the very few that enjoyed the rich biodiversity of this Mountain. We had enough water for our cattle since all water catchments were intact; not t now that trees around water catchments are all leveled down. Mount Bamboutos is no longer the mountain I used to know. I am dedicating the rest of my life to the Mount Bamboutos Initiative project. I wish I could live  for another 15 years to see how this wonderful project will end ” Dada Hayatou said.

Dada Hayatou (left) during tree planting in Mekoup, Bangang water catchment

Hadija Dada, 55 is also very involved in the project. She is has 30 cows 50 sheep and and 10 goats. “I have taken it upon myself to be part of every tree planting exercise in my village, Bangang. My wish is to see the Mountain come back into its glorious days”, hadija Dada said.

Hadija Dada (left) and Ahminatou (right) holding a tree during tree planting

It should be noted that the Mount Bamboutos Initiative is a project to restore 35000ha of the degraded Mount Bamboutos ecosystem through the planting of 15 million trees. The Project that was launched in 2018 will run for 15 years. Its pilot phase ends in 2021.

Discover how Acasia plant is revolutionizing agriculture in the western high plateau

Acacia catechu, a
multipurpose tree, is a leguminous species promoted by the Department of
Agriculture at ERuDeF. As part of the implementation of the Forest Gardens
Programme  in Cameroon, A. catechu seeds are germinated in forest
gardens nurseries, then the seedlings are transplanted in forest gardens by ERuDeF
technicians, who monitor them in the targeted landscapes.

In the village of Bakassa in the Haut Nkam, Western Cameroon, farmers develop their forest gardens by planting A. catechu trees as live fences. Between rows of A. catechu they plant annual crops like corn, beans etc. The choice of crops depend on the growing season and the demands of the market.

Nitcheu Jean in his Forest Garden

“Before the introduction of A. catechu in my village by ERuDeF, I used to travel long distances to get stakes for climbing crops I cultivate on my farm. Now that A. catechu trees surround my farm, I don’t go any where again. Besides A. catechu trees that surrounds  also act a live fence” Nitcheu Jean said with a broad smile on his face.

The management of A. catechu trees in the forest gardens depends on harvest time and needs space. For instance, after harvesting annual crops like corn, beans, etc., the A. catechu treesare left behind to continue growing. During the next planting season, A. catechu branches are pruned, and the leaves placed on the soil to improve organic matter, moisture and overall fertility. The dried branches serve as stakes for yams, and climbing bean. They are also used as firewood.

Miss Tchagoue Jeanne has been actively involved in the forest gardens programme  sinc 2019. "I no longer need to go to the forest to find stakes for my climbing crops, the stems of A. catechu provide us with more than enough". Tchagoue Jeanne remarked with a a lot of satisfaction.

The choice of multipurpose tree species to plant in the Forest Gardens is therefore crucial to the adoption of agroforestry techniques by rural populations. 

A. catechu trees are useful to many other farmers in Bakassa village and today they cannot be separated from them.

"I am already making  A. catechu nursery  for myself to fill in the empty spaces in my Forest Garden, because, A. catechu tree is very useful." Tchagoue Jeanne added.

Two women ( ERuDeF staff in the middle) in Bakassa village proud to use A. catechu tree in their Forest gardens.

Discover how Tchuenna Jeanne is using
acacia to cultivate climbing beans.

Climbing beans are tall vinyl plants that grow upwards
off the ground by twisting round any support that the vines can find. Prized
for their tender, fleshy pods, the two most popular types are runner beans and
French beans.

These beans are bigger in size, have more pods per
plants, resistant to disease and have a ready market in and out of Cameroon.
Climbing beans have been proven to be the best type to grow for both domestic
and commercial purposes. These are the same as the usual beans most of us know,
only that they grow by climbing onto anything that supports them.

Acacia trees when mature, the branches are cut and
used for several purposes such as wood. Tchueana Jeanne, a forest garden farmer
in Bakassa, Haut-Nkam Division, uses these branches as support to grow climbing
beans in her forest garden. Also, she uses maize to prop the climbing beans as
an intercrop. She grows climbing beans for domestic and commercial purposes. “I
make a lot of profit from the sale of these climbing beans especially when the
price of a bucket of beans rises to about FCFA12000”, Jeanne said.

According to Dr Michael Ugen, a Principal Research
Officer at National Crops Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI) at Namulonge,
when given adequate attention, climbing beans yield twice as much as “bush
beans”. Also, they bear many pods per plant than the other types. “Climbing
beans can yield 2,500 to 3,500 kilograms per hectare which is much more than
the “bush beans”. This is because, climbing beans when well supported to climb
as high as they can, bear more pods per plant which is not the case with bush
beans,” he explained.

Climbing beans also mature faster under a favorable
climate, have attractive flowers, are tasty, drop leaves when mature which
improves on soil fertility and have a larger bean size.

Jeanne Tchueana encourages other farmers by saying one
of the ways to reap big from climbing beans, is to ensure the land on which
they are to be grown is well prepared with no weeds, has good amount of water
and is fertile. Not only that. The
farmers should ensure that they have enough support for the beans because they
yield more when they have something to climb on. In the absence of sticks, they
can cut sticks from mature acacia trees and use as support for the climbing
beans to grow on.

Climbing Beans

Tchuenna Jeanne in her Forest Garden.

Pencil Case Project overjoys school girls

“I can’t believe it! I wasn’t drawing with the intentions of winning anything, I just decided to draw because I just like drawing and believed my art work is not worthy of winning anything. I am shocked! My life has changed from today, I can’t even express my joy. I’ve never heard of the Cross River Gorilla Project before, but today, my friends, family and whole community will hear of them.  I want to thank them immensely for this wonderful support, they have touched our hearts. This money will help me so much, especially as we are about writing our GCE exams.” Says Anyim Precious, first prize winner of the Pencil Case Project.                    

.                    

The Pencil Case Project which is an initiative of the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) Buea – Cameroon in collaboration with the Cross River Gorilla Project UK and implemented by the ERuDeF Centre for the Advancement of Women’s Initiatives (CAWI), left some girl children of the Bilingual Grammar School, Molyko, overjoyed and overwhelmed.  Some were in tears of joy, some jumped, and some danced after winning cash Prices.

Forty- Six
Pencil cases consisting of pencils, pens, rulers, erasers, sharpeners, colors,
highlighter amongst others were not only used to design an inspirational Rain
forest in an art competition but were benefited by the contestants to further
their art work.

Speaking
during the competition, the Director of CAWI, Mbowoh Lucia Nkembi urged the
young girls to develop self-esteem and to be focused in their education with a
career vision. She hoped the Pencil Cases will help them to produce excellent and
wonderful drawings in the forth coming General Certificate of Education
Examination thereby guarantee their successes. This years’ participation was
limited to examination classes particularly Form Five because the other classes
were still at home due to the Corona virus Pandemic. The Prize Award Ceremony
is expected in the weeks ahead to reward excellence.

According to Ewei Nadesh, the winner of the second prize, most of them didn’t know the importance of the Pencil Case Project. “I and my friends were reluctant to participate, we felt we would be wasting our time, but when the Director of CAWI came to our class and told us she was here to empower women, and of course with a bag of beautiful Pencil Cases, we became very eager to participate. I also told my friends, I like drawing trees and animals and coloring, and even if I didn’t win, I’ll have a pencil case which I’ll take home and use with my junior ones at home.”

Manchum
olga didn’t win a prize, but she was overjoyed, as she cheered her friends who
made it to the first ten. “Even though I didn’t win anything, I have a free
pencil case in my bag, I can’t wait for next year so that can I participate in
the competition again, and I believe I will be in the first ten. I know I
didn’t win this year because I didn’t complete my art work and my drawings were
upside down. I have learned a lot and I am very happy. I want to thanks ERuDeF,
the Gross River Gorilla Project, CAWI and all those who made this project a
success.”

Subsequently, a team from CAWI shall monitor the use of these items and to access the impact on conservation and the academic performance of the students.

The 2020
edition was supported by the University of Newcastle-UK.

The initiative seeks to empower and promote a future generation of conservation leaders with focus on girls from the Lebialem Highlands through the work of arts (wildlife painting).

ERuDeF Sensitizes communities for the Creation of two Community Forest between Deng Deng National Park and Belabo Council Forest

ERuDeF recently recorded great success in its mission to save the Western Lowland Gorillas and Impact Lives, a village to village sensitization was successfully carried out. The sensitization which started on July 13 to July 23, 2020, was aimed at enlightening the entire population of the 11 villages around the two community forests to be created. The population were schooled on the importance of creating the community forests and the steps involved in their creation. The project was welcomed by the population with a lot of enthusiasm and expectation from ERuDeF and her Partner, World Land Trust to bring the project to realization and maximum benefit of all the communities involved.

This sensitization campaign was carried out by a team composed of the representative of the Divisional Delegate of Forestry and Wildlife for Lom and Djerem, the representative of the Chief of Post for Deng Deng, the representative of the Chief of Post of Belabo, a Forestry Officer and a Social Anthropologist. This process will build community spirit amongst the villagers as they are highly individualistic in nature and will bring about development to their various communities. This will therefore help to reduce pressure exerted on protected areas.

This activity was composed of a team of five persons as follows: the representative of the Divisional Delegate of forestry and Wildlife of Lom and Djerem, the representative of the chief of Post of Deng Deng, the representative of the chief of Post of Belabo, a Forestry Officer and a Social Anthropologist. This Project will build community spirit amongst the villagers as they are highly individualistic in nature and will bring about development to their various communities. This will therefore help to reduce pressure exerted on the protected areas.

The people expressed a lot of joy, knowing that ERuDeF is not a Timber exploitation organization and will not be carrying out any money making activities in the process of creating the earmarked community forests unlike other organizations. This spurred the village population to give the go ahead to the project as they are ready to give in their full support to see that the project succeeds

The Deng Deng – Belabo conservation corridor project was launched on June 11, 2020. The main goal of this project is to preserve good quality forest habitats between two already existing protected areas (Deng Deng National Park and Belabo Council Forest) for the maintenance and/or enhancement of suitable conditions for the movement of endangered species and prevent occurrences of inbreeding.  This project will strengthen the management of the Deng- Deng National Park by effectively managing the two community forests created through a simple management plan that will be developed in full consultation with the local communities and the local ministries as well as other stakeholders.