Over 800 people drawn from communities bordering the proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary (Lebang, Essoh-Attah and Njoagwi) have benfitted from a training on microcredit development and the creation/management of petit businesses. The training which took place in August, at the respective villages was given to the people by a team from ERuDeF headed by the Manager of Economic and Livelihood projects, Forbe Hodu.
The people in these villages received intensive training on livelihood development in the areas of beekeeping and livstock rearing (pigs). They were also drilled on how to start up and manage small businesses.
The objecive of this training is to equip and empower these local people to engage in income generating activities with a long term goal of reducing their dependence on the Mak-betchou forest and consequently reducing pressure on key protected wildlife species including the endanagered Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzees.This training is a follow up of earlier economic and livelihood projects carried out in the area including the installation and operation of a modern palm oil mill in Essoh-Attah.
The participants expressed satisfaction after the training confessing that it will help them explore new business avenues “we have depended on the forest for a very long time and neglected other lucrative ventures such as petit trading. With this training, I will be able to develop new business ideas and this will help me support my family’. A villager in Essoh-Attah said.
On March, 14, 2014 the government of Cameroon through the SW Regional Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife,with technical support of ERuDeF launched the creation process of the proposed Mak-betchou Wildlife Sanctuary. Two months ago, government Forestry officials and a team from ERuDeF sat to draw a Technical Note for the proposed sanctuary.
Thanks to the continuous efforts and sensitization workshops organised by ERuDeF, communities adjacent to the proposed Sanctuary have already begun reaping some benefits from the sanctuary, one of which is the training on microcredit and managing small businesses.