Community Conservation Social Enterprise Development Initiative Launched

Cooperative Members from some communities adjacent to the proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary have been introduced to a new funding mechanism that enables them efficiently generate income to support local community initiatives and livelihoods.

The funding mechanism dubbed the Community Conservation Social Enterprise Development (CoCoSED) was introduced during a one day workshop on Conservation Finance, which took place, Wednesday September 9th, 2016 at the Southwest Regional Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife in Buea.

Organized under the theme: “Financing Local Community Integrated Conservation and Development Projects through Community Based Value Chain Development, the President and Chief Executive Officer of ERuDeF, Louis Nkembi, said the Conservation Finance programme seeks to provide funding opportunities to the local communities as a means to meet up with their different needs, hence, scaling up development in the area.

“This initiative comes to help local communities generate funding through community based financial mechanisms that will support community projects such as water, electricity and other livelihood activities without necessarily waiting on government’s intervention,” Louis Nkembi added

He opined that the mechanism will restructure the local communities to generate revenue around conservation areas. This, to him, will make community members more active andparticipative in conservation efforts while also improving their livelihoods.

“Local Communities have a number of issues to handle but they are cut short of funding. So, the Conservation finance programme which we are launching will fill this gap. It will provide the necessary funding opportunities that will be managed and controlled by the communities themselves, to enable them improve their wellbeing,” Mr Nkembi said.

Meanwhile participants, who came from different cooperatives in the Nweh and Mbo clans of the Lebialem and Kupe Muanenguba Divisions, were schooled on Value Added Chain Development, Creation and Management of Cooperative and Micro-Finance institutions, among others. The participants were urged to constitute themselves into groups to legalise Cooperatives that will pilot the activities at the initial phase. The Cooperatives will further unite and form a microfinance institution that will generate further revenue, to scale up developmental projects in the communities.

The participants, who were generally impressed by the initiative, promised to put into practice what they have learnt during the Conservation Finance Workshop.

“I am over joyed being part of this workshop. I will go back and inform all my fellow people to unite and form a strong cooperative so we can begin benefiting from ERuDeF’s largesse,” Chief Fondu Ajong of Andu village promised.

Mrs. Susan Enjei of Nkongho-Mbo on her part said ERuDeF has always been a veritable partner to her community.

“This new initiative has just come to add to the many good things the NGO has been doing for our community. We thank God for the Organisation” she added.

The workshop is in line with ERuDeF’s objective to provide alternative sources of livelihood to communities adjacent to the proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary as a way of reducing human pressure on the forest. It was organised with support from Rainforest Trust, USA.

By Yanick Fonki Ndaley

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