Members of Nkongho-Mbeng Farmers and Alou-Tofala Farmers cooperatives have begun benefiting from the services of the Biodiversity Community Trust (BCT). Biodiversity Community Trust is a micro-finance scheme of the Environment and Rural Development Foundation aimed at reconciling poverty with biodiversity conservation. This scheme that has been operating since 2010, was introduced to communities adjacent to the Proposed Bangwa-Mbo Wildlife Sanctuary in 2017. With the putting in place of this micro-credit fund, cooperative members had access to loans, which they used to boost agricultural activities as well as set up micro businesses
One year down the lane, the business of members have experience tremendous growth. Savings by members have also become more regular, with livelihood improved. “I thank ERuDeF for introducing BCT in our community. At first I was unable to have access to microloan that will help me set up a business that will improve on my livelihoods and that of my family. But with the introduction of BCT in Mbetta our people are now able to save their money as well as obtain loan to carry out their respective economic activities.” Said Sixtus Elumba, member of the Nkongho-Mbeng Cooperative.
He noted that they (cooperative members), have set aside every Sunday for loan and savings. This according to Mr. Elumba, is to ensure sustainability as well as raise income for the smooth running of BCT in the Cooperative.
BCT is part of the Community Conservation Social Enterprise Development (CoCoSED) Initiative implemented with Financial Support from Rainforest Trust USA.
By: Njang Quddus