18 local civil society organizations in the North West and South West regions have been awarded an initial grant worth 180 million CFA Francs (300.000 dollars), from the United Nations Development Programme and the government of Japan, to strengthen early recovery in the two regions. The projects also aims at supporting economic recovery and promote social cohesion in crisis affected communities. It is for this reason that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between UNDP and the CSOs on the 31st of July 2019, at Hotel LA Falaise, Douala.
Out of 60 project proposals received, 18 projects with focus on a better environment and adopting a gender-based approach were selected and approved by an inclusive steering committee which met in June 2019. 13 projects will be implemented in the North West Region while 4 will be carried out in the South West region. Several projects will address livelihood issues, community dialogue and economic recovery while one project will promote social cohesion through sports in both regions.
In a welcome address, the Resident Representative Of the United Nations Development Programme, Cameroon, Jean-Luc Stalon, noted humanitarian needs in the North west and South West regions of Cameroon are increasing due to the ongoing crisis. A situation that has displaced thousands of persons and left many people in despair. “Community violence is escalating and as well as abduction of civilians, the destruction of infrastructure, homes and livelihoods are affecting people in the two regions”.
Cameroon is today struggling to free itself from the suffocating grip of both internal and external security and humanitarian challenges caused by incursions if violent extremist groups in the North, political upheavals in neighboring Central African Republic and the crisis in the Northwest and Southwest regions.
UNDP aims at providing protection and assistance to people in need and that vulnerability of crisis affected populations is reduced. Reasons why Jean-Luc Stalon says he expects positive results and impacts of these early recovery projects in communities by contributing to the smooth transition from humanitarian to recovery reconstruction and development.
On the part of the Ambassador of Japan, his Excellency Tsutomu Osawa, in order to achieve the stabilization and the economic development of Cameroon, it is essential to improve the living condition of vulnerable people, especially women and the young and to give them livelihoods which will enable them to establish a resilient and sustainable society. “The projects cover the many different fields – food security, local business, social cohesion, employment, farming and fishing. I believe these activities will shape the better future of this country”.
Talking to Maikem’s Diary, Gisella Berinyuy, assistant project coordinator for Shumas, says the organization has been into development and humanitarian activities in the two Anglophone regions but will be getting into early recovery and livelihood. “We are carrying out projects in the health sector, food security amongst others. Implementing these projects during this crisis period has been challenging. Gaining access to some communities is an obstacle we have faced couple of times but thanks to our visibility in the field, we have been able to negotiate our path in the communities”.
To Chongsi Ayeah Joseph, Executive Director of the Centre for Human Rights and Peace Advocacy, his project aims at promoting the rule of law and protect human rights. “we will begin by training stakeholders, traditional authorities and traditional councillors to be able to make decisions on community cases that will be human rights base and legally accepted. We will reinforce their capacity so they can work with the community and bring the people together”.
Early Recovery (ER) is an approach that addresses recovery needs that arise during the humanitarian phase of an emergency; using humanitarian mechanisms that align with development principles. It enables people to use the benefits of humanitarian action to seize development opportunities, build resilience, and establish a sustainable process of recovery from crisis.
Away from the MoU, the CSOs engaged in a two days capacity building workshop on sensitive conflict reporting and accountability so as to enable them implement their projects successfully in the two regions.
Maikem Emmanuela Manzie