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09 September 2014

ERuDeF Trains Over 800 People On Microcredit Dev’t and Managing Small Businesses

Posted in News, Views 1042

Partial view of trainer and trainees on Microcredit dev't & small business management in Mak-Betchou.

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.

Ignatius NJOM

09 September 2014

Meme Agroforestry Farmer’s Network To Be Trained In Agribusiness

Posted in News, Views 1158

Meme Agroforestry farmers network acquiring lessons on bare root transplanting.

In an effort to help farmers stand on their own and be an autonomous body, the Cameroon Program of US Charity, Trees for the Future will be training farmers belonging to the Meme Agroforestry Farmers' Network on how to develop agribusiness. The training will be given to them in November 2014 by Lauren Jessup, a US Peace Corps working for the charity in Cameroon.

The Meme Agroforestry Farmer's Network comprises of over 10 farmer's common initiative groups in Meme Division, South West Cameroon with the common goal of incorporating trees into their farmlands.

With the technical support of Trees for the Future, farmers belonging to this network have been practising agroforestry for over 5 years. Using the leaves of some tree species such as Caliandra and Acacia, they have been able to improve the quality of their soil and at the same time increased yields.

The farmers expressed desire to take farming to another level by engaging in agri –business development. This new vision is in line with the Government of Cameroon policy of 'Second Generation Agriculture'

The first big project they intend to engage in is the chilli pepper project which involves the transformation, processing and large scale marketting of fresh peper.

With such innovation, this network which was reorganised early 2014 with a new exco could be said to be waxing stronger than ever before.

After the elections, the network has picked up tremendously and now meets every forth night with at least one training session every meeting.

In their plan of action for this 3rd quater, they have ear marked trainings on the growing and processing of Moringa, composting, grafting, marcotting, aquaculture amongst others.

According to the President of the network Mr. Eseme, the revival is due to a number of factors. In a discussion with the TREES Cameroon representative, he revealed that the new exco was more vibrant given that women and youths were adequately represented. 'Truth be told, the women have been very instrumental in bringing the network back to life'. The youth wing is also very vibrant'', he said. 'They have come up with a good project proposal for the production and sale of chilli pepper and the exco will convene in mid October to review strategies to raise money for the project''. He continued. 'We are also thinking of setting aside targets in terms of the number of trees to be transplanted by each CIG given that tree planting is our primary activity''.

Simply put, he recommended good governance, internal competition and steadfastness for any network that seeks to grow.

Limbi Blessing T

08 September 2014

ERuDeF Transplants 12000 Seedlings For Magha-Bamumbu Community Forest

Posted in News, Views 1545

Remembering Wabane Landslide Victims Through Tree Planting

Tree seedlings

The Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) has supported the raising of12000 young seedlings of Prunus africana and croton macrostardryus in Magha-Bamumbu, Lebialem Division, SW Cameroon.

These seedlings will be planted out in an-8hectare surface area mapped out community forest of Magha-Bamumbu.

The planting of trees in this area is part of ERuDeF's long-term reforestation program which seeks to restore degraded landscapes and make the environment less fragile. The area chosen for reforestation in Magha suffered a devastating landslide in 2003 which led to the death of over 20 persons, loss of property and considerable income.

Planting trees in this area is therefore intended to repair the land and also prevent such a terrible incident from repeating itself.

The planting of the tree seedlings in 2015 has been scheduled to coincide with the 11th anniversary of the Magha landslide disaster so that community members will have a chance to commemorate the anniversary of these victims by planting these trees in the same area where the landslide occurred.

Supported by the French Embassy in Cameroon and the Lea nature Foundation, this project in the longterm will equally satisfy the income health needs of the people of this community as they would be able to sell the Prunus africana. This project which envisages the planting of 30.000 trees also comes to reinforce the valorisation of the Echinops giganteus project which is already on going in the same area.

Communal management of forests is a way of generating income from timber and non-timber forest products as forms of goods while in other hand regulating ecosystem services, downstream settlements benefits from watershed conservation, carbon sequestration and aesthetic values as in forms of services . It has been considered one of the most promising options of combining forest conservation with rural development and community empowerment and poverty reduction objectives. Reason why ERuDeF came up with the initiative to develop a community forest so as to solve the problem of deforestation as well as the landscape degradation in Mt Bamboutos area.

Kenmene Lea Alida

14 August 2014

FFI’s Support to Tofala is long-term – Alison Mollon

Posted in News, Views 1678

Alison poses with Tofala women

The West Africa Program Manager for UK Charity, Fauna and Flora International (FFI), Alison Mollon, has said her organization's support towards the proposed Tofala Hills Wildlife Sanctuary and other projects of the Cameroon NGO Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) is long-term. She was speaking on Sunday, August 3rd 2014, during a meeting to officially welcome her back, after visiting some project sites of the NGO. The aim of her visit was to have a one on one discussion with the villagers around the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary; to understand their needs so as to be able to seek funding for alternative livelihood projects for the villagers.

During her visit to Cameroon, Ms. Mollon visited some three villages around the proposed sanctuary including; Nkong, Bechati and Besali. Here, villagers expressed need for training and equipment in some livelihood activities like livestock farming (fish ponds, poultry, piggery and rearing of goats), food processing or transformation, petit trading, Craft work, palm oil production and oil mills, corn mill, Cassava mill, a cracking machine to process palm kennel, bread fabrication and a bakery, vehicles to transport economic goods to and from markets, production of basic necessities like, soap and body oil, etc. They also asked for improved palm and cocoa seeds, fertilizers, pesticides as well as social amenities like roads, classrooms, electricity, and internet connection amongst others.

After listening to the villagers; hunters, women and youths groups, Alison Mollon promised to do her best in digging up funding for these livelihood projects, but clarified that FFI is a conservation organization, hence it might be difficult for her to get funding for social amenities like schools, hospitals, roads, electricity and the like. She however pledged to link the people with organizations interested in funding social amenities while encouraging the villagers, especially the Fons, to keep the Cameroon government abreast with such needs, since according to her, it is the government's responsibility to ensure the socio- economic well being of the people.

Reacting to growing misconceptions in some of the villagers in Bechati that FFI and ERuDeF were out to take their land, which was their only source of livelihood, Alison explained to the people that they are only out to support them, create and improve on alternative livelihood activities, since it is government decision to make the Tofala Hills a protected area, given the presence of some threatened wildlife species like gorillas, chimpanzees and elephants. Alison also expressed disappointment after visiting the oil mill ERuDeF donated to Besali village in 2012, given the poor level of maintenance. She exhorted the villagers to install a strong and capable management committee that would ensure the sustainability of their present and future donations. She cautioned the villagers to understand that sponsors would be discouraged to help them if they don't show prove of positive reception.

Prior to her trip to the Tofala forest area, the FFI West Africa Program Manger met with the Divisional Delegates of Forestry and Wildlife and of the Environment, Nature Protection and Sustainable Development Lebialem, Mboui Jacques and Kanyimi Ihimbru Charles, respectively. The delegates both articulated appreciation saying that Alison's visit is indication of better days ahead, especially now that the Tofala file is already at the Prime Ministry of the Republic, pending signature. They also disclosed some of the problems they, as government officials have been facing since the commencement of the Tofala project. The problems included how to convince villagers that the forest they depend so much on for farming and hunting, will soon become a government protected area, and the fact that villagers expect compensation of some kind before they leave the forest. They however revealed that thanks to frequent sensitization meetings held with the villagers, a majority of them now understand and are cooperating. The two delegates pledged their support in ensuring the sustainable management of the Sanctuary, once it is gazetted. After the discussions, Ms. Mollon paid a courtesy visit to the Senior Divisional Officer for Lebialem, Seid Idrissou who was also visibly happy to have her around.

Speaking shortly after her tour, Ms. Alison Mollon said it was clear to her that ERuDeF staff have developed a good relationship with the various communities where they have worked and this is enabling the work to continue in the field. 'ERuDeF is a professional organization. I am especially impressed with the number of different projects going on across a wide scope of conservation interventions', said Alison. She was however concerned about the fact that the villagers and some government officials insist on getting some form of motivation before meeting with ERuDeF and funding partners like FFI. 'Although field teams often say they may give motivation (such as purchase of alcohol) from their own funds and not project funds, the message received by communities is the same. As there is now expectation amongst villagers that they will receive something, this will be a difficult habit to break. However it will be easier now than in the future and will have to be done at some point. In fact the longer the giving of motivation goes on, the higher the risk for ERuDeF as the difficulty of communities will become stronger; the longer the practice continues' Alison Mollon cautioned.

ERuDeF has been working in partnership with FFI over the past five years and this partnership, according to Miss Mollon won't be ending any time soon. 'Taking over from the former West Africa Program Manager, Daniel Pouakoyou, I think the partnership can yield much higher collaboration given that there are areas where it would be more beneficial to harmonize efforts like the case of Tofala. As someone also new to FFI, I am still learning where FFI can support ERuDeF beyond applied conservation in the field. However I am aware we have a strong Conservation Capacity and Development team who could be very beneficial to ERuDeF in the future and this is something I would like to develop' Alison disclosed . The last part of her visit was in Yaounde, for talks with the Director of Wildlife and Protected areas and the Minister of Forestry and Wildlife.

By Immaculate Mkong

14 August 2014

Mt Cameroon Enriched With 10.000 More Threatened Trees

Posted in News, Views 1482

Government Official hands trees to Woteva Chief for planting in the forest.

Just a few weeks after 10.000 threatened trees were planted in the Bakingili Community Forest in the Mt Cameroon area, 10000 more of the threatened trees have been planted out in another community forest in the area. Recently, Foresters working for the Program Conservation of Threatened Trees at ERuDeF in collaboration with local government authority and local communities planted these trees in the Woteva Community Forest created in 1994.

ERuDeF in collaboration with the Forestry Ministry has been working to replace some globally threatened species for some time now. For 3 years, the seedlings have been raised in nurseries and planting them out in the wild is to help restore huge populations of the trees lost to illegal logging. Some of the species planted out included the threatened Microbelinia bisulcata, prunus Africana, mahogany etc.

Speaking shortly after the planting exercise, the Chief of Woteva who doubles as Forest Manager, Chief Bernard Lieti Woloko said "I am very excited to have planted these trees and I wish such a program to continue because it is gearing towards regeneration and for the future generation. At this moment that the negative effects of climate change have become so glaring, the trees will help curb the effects" Chief Woloko said.

Another community member who also planted the trees, Simon Eseye said he feels happy because the trees planted are going to help restore the population of some species which have become so rare. "Before, we used to have Prunus Africana all over. But due to unsustainable harvest, they have become hard to find. We depend on such trees for our health, when we must have finished harvesting everything, what are we going to leave behind for our children" he bemoaned. He said after planting these trees, he feels consoled that he is leaving something behind for his children "I know these trees take long to grow, but I am consoled that when my children and grand children grow up, they will have something I left behind".

Another community member who is a Forestry Technician, Ndumbe Stephen said planting the trees is a good lesson learned for conservation. "The trees will not just help protect our environment, but will also act as habitat for wildlife thus protecting them". Ndumbe said. He equally explained that the trees planted are a legacy of the present generation "I am above sixty. I am not planting these trees for myself. It is a legacy of my generation for the next generation.

Speaking during the planting exercise in the forest, the Project Coordinate Asa'a Lemawah, said planting the trees back into the wild is a dream come true. "We started by nursing seeds of these threatened trees and for three years now we have been raising the seedlings, but to actually plant them back into the wild is a real achievement and I am so proud of it. This is because when the trees grow up, they will help boost the population once more" Ms. Asa'a used the opportunity to thank UK Charity Fauna and Flora International (FFI) and the Global Tree Campaign that has been supporting ERuDeF financially and technically towards the realization of this dream.

By Regina Leke

14 August 2014

Creation of Proposed Mak-Betchou Sanctuary Lashes Out Livelihood And Economic Benefits To Communities

Posted in News, Views 1325

Beneficiary of a livelihood donation in Mak-Betchou

Communities around the proposed Mak betchou Chimpanzee Sanctuary have been reaping some livelihood and economic benefits since the creation process started.

Since the kick off of the creation process, some locals who were formerly involved in hunting have been recruited as biomonitors to collect data on wildlife species and others work in the capacity of field guides. Other developmental ventures have included the donation of a palm oil mill to facilitate the process of palm oil production and step up quality. Community members have also gained skills in microcredit and self-financing and other alternative livelihood and income generating projects, agro-forestry etc

Most of the people targeted to benefit from this largesse are hunters, trappers, farmers and youths who solely depend on the forest for a living. This is because their activities have a direct impact on the biodiversity thus building their skills and capacity is intended to divert their attention from the forest. It is equally hoped that the beneficiaries will pass on to friends, children and generations who will use them to improve on their livelihood.

Beyond the provision of livestock (piglets) and beehives, ERuDeF's alternative income and livelihood programs include; sensitization, identification, training, support and workshops to ensure long term sustainable solutions to economic challenges and to put to zero the hunting and killing of protected wildlife in the Mak-Betchou wildlife sanctuary.

The result is educated, sensitized and trained community members that are more equipped to lift themselves out of poverty and forest related activities.

After building community members knowledge on alternative income generating activities in the areas of livelihood donations, Microcredit development, a saving and loan scheme (BCT) for self financing and long term sustainability, the people are now acting as ambassadors for the future generation.

It is hoped that over time, the impact will result in activities that will bring about growth in annual household incomes resulting to an increase household savings that will intend lead to improvement in the standards of living, health, welfare of families and the entire community.

Reacting to the training and livelihood support, a villager in Andu, one of the villages bordering the proposed sanctuary said "I received pigs from ERuDeF and I have been able to sell the young ones to put food on the table"

It is hoped that at the end of the program, all the village adjacent communities will completely divert from total dependence on the forest to engage in an income generating activity. The overall impact is that it will lead to increase population of protected and threatened wildlife species, self-sufficiency, sustainability, cost effectiveness and an increase in their standard of living and that of their family members and of course the community at large.

By Hodu Forbe

14 August 2014

ERuDeF Donates Books To Tofala Schools

Posted in News, Views 1560

Book donation at Catholic School Nkong

Over 68 textbooks currently used in the Cameroon's syllabus have been distributed to two schools in communities in Wabane Sub Dvision in the Lebialem Division, adjacent to the proposed Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary. The donation is part of the largesse of ERuDeF's newly created Environmental Education Fund.

This donation ceremony which took place on recently in the premises of G.S. Malengha – Bechati and C.S. Nkong all in Wabane was graced by the presence of 8 eco-tourists from La Maison du Monde in France in the presence of the school administration, the PTA representatives, Local chiefs, school pupils and a team from ERuDeF.

Addressing the schools and communities on this occasion, ERuDeF's Manager for Education for Sustainable Development, Akeh Nug pointed out that in line with ERuDeF's ultimate goal of conservation and environmental protection, the organisation donated books cutting across all subjects done at primary school level for the use of both teachers and pupils to facilitate the understanding of general concepts and issues about conservation. She encouraged them to study hard for a better tomorrow off the forest, better understanding of conservation and environmental values. She urged them to take care of the books and use the books to build a sustainable community.

Speaking at the event, ERuDeF's Regional Manager for Lebialem, Forbe Hodu advised the pupils to use education with the books as their walking sticks to take giant steps up the development ladder. He encouraged the pupils to make education their priority in order to grow up to become professionals indifferent walks of life including engineering, medicine, journalism, management and law rather than just fit into their parents' shoes as peasant farmers, hunters and trappers which would subsequently increase the pressure on natural resources and consequently put the lives of the biological population in the forest at risk.

The spokes person for the group of eco-tourists from La Maison du Partie, Jennifer, re-iterated the importance of school education and urged the pupils to grab the opportunity and forge ahead. She also lauded ERuDeF's efforts in educating, training and sensitizing school children and the local communities, and promised that they would be more supportive to this kind of developmental initiatives.

On their part, the school authorities, local administration and chiefs, PTA representatives present at the different schools lauded this initiative of ERuDeF noting that the donation will go a long way towards supporting community development. They further confirmed that conservation brings development and hope for their communities and promised to support the NGO in preserving the lives of the threatened species in their forest.

The schools also promised to take appropriate care of the books making them available to both students and teachers who in turn could not hide their joy and appraisal.

By Akeh Nug

14 August 2014

Agroforestry Breathes New Life Into Degraded Soils

Posted in News, Views 1383

farmer in healthy maize far

Some 80 percent of Cameroonians depend on destructive agricultural practices for the bulk of their food. The poor farming methods (shifting cultivation, clearing and burning) often kill soil organisms and subsequently reduce their fertility and capacity to produce healthy crops. Farming matters became challenging when human population increased and the amount of land available to shifting cultivators reduced in size, and loggers, industries and urbanization drove them out.

There is however hope; agroforestry, which combines crop production with sustainable forest management, promises abundant life for both farmers and the urban people in Cameroon.

During the past few years, farmers have been experimenting in the production of food crops, trees and shrubs and domestic animals on the same piece of land with the financial and technical support of US Charity Trees for the Future.

In 2013, Ngwementoh Justina of Mbacha village in Bambui, North West Region, built up a compost pit using acacia leaves and used the resultant manure to fertilize her crops of maize, beans and pepper.

"The production was greatly improved," she said.

Ngwementoh has now planted acacia trees on her backyard farm and is hoping for a bountiful harvest next season and thereafter.

Meanwhile, another farmer Peters Tabah, said follow-up plus useful literature and exchange visits thanks to the concerted efforts of Trees for the Future has paid off.

"We have benefited enormously from agroforestry farming; we feed our pigs with acacia leaves and they do very well; they are bigger and healthier. Mulching with agroforestry trees also has improved our cocoyams," Tabah said.

He added, "Despite the successes we have recorded, people are resistant to change and want to stick to old methods of farming which is why regular training, follow-up, literature and exchange visits to share experiences should be emphasised."

He thanked the US charity Trees for the Future for introducing them to agroforestry some years back saying the technology has changed their lives.

Azore Opio

14 August 2014

Over 7000 Trees Planted To Rebuild Lebialem Landscapes

Posted in News, Views 1271

Education Coordinator lecturing students

Some 2388 seeds of Leucaena, 2895 seeds of Acacia, and about 2021 seeds of Prunus Africana making a total of over 7000 tree seeds have been planted in six schools in the chief town of Lebialem division, Menji as part of efforts to rebuild the environment which has suffered land degradation in recent times. The trees planted in schools will be transplanted to water catchment sites, farm sides, school campus and hill sides in the next school year. This activity was carried out recently by the Education for Sustainable Development team at the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF).

Menji is the head quarters of the Lebialem division, in the South west region of Cameroon. The town is surrounded by forest areas, and as a result is rich in biodiversity. The people are mostly farmers who cultivate crops like cocoyam, cassava, plantains, etc for local consumption, and as well as the growing of cocoa for commercial purpose. The people also hunt and trap for wildlife species for local consumption.

Activities such as slash and burn for agriculture and the fact that farmers cut down trees for virgin farm sides, as well as the introduction of chemical fertilizers has left the environment vulnerable.

It was therefore in a bid to restore some degraded landscapes that ERuDeF team introduced the establishment of trees nurseries in some schools in Menji with the goal of transplanting them in areas like water catchment sites, farm sides, school campus, hill sides, etc

The schools included; Government Bilingual High School (GBHS) Fontem, GTHS Fontem, CS Menji, CS Fontem, SNPS Menji, and Seat of Wisdom Fontem College. Apart from just sowing these seeds, the students were also drilled on the importance of reforestation. The students were told that the main role played by the agroforestry species such as Leucaena and Acacia is the improvement of soil fertility through leaf-fall or through the storing of nitrogen fixing organism in their roots. The team also explained the medicinal value of Prunus africana including its possibility to cure cancer and its use as timber, as well as providing habitat for some wildlife species like birds, squirrels, etc.

The team also took advantage of this tree planting program to educate the pupils, students and teachers concerning the role play by trees in the environment and the problem facing trees in the area.

Emmanuel Ndip

15 July 2014

Farmers Plant 1000 Trees To Protect Water Catchment

Posted in News, Views 1660

A new farming group in Moungo Division, Littoral Region Cameroon has planted 1000 Acacia trees along their water catchment to protect and increase the supply of water. The new group; Group de Plantation Soptowa (GPST) planted these trees recently in Melong II. Supported by US Charity Trees for the Future, this move is intended to provide water for some over 500 inhabitants living in this neighborhood.

The people in Melong II joined the tree planting program in 2014, when the Coordinator supported by the Technician for Littoral met them, introduced and explained the whole concept of agroforestry to them. During the workshop on nursery establishment, the importance of agroforestry and tree planting were well explained to this group with emphasis on alley cropping and protection of water sheds.

After planting over 4000 trees in their farms, they were advised by the Agroforestry Coordinator to also plant these trees around their water catchments in a bid to maintain the water table. The people who readily embraced the idea of protecting water then went on to plant 1000 trees along their water catchment.

After this activity, the people expressed joy to the Cameroon Program of Trees for the Future for giving them a solution to the precarious water situation in their community. One of the Farmers, Tagni Pierre said this would be an opportunity for them to have continuous flow of water especially in the spring where they fetch drinking water. "We are always suffering from water shortage given that the corporations in charge of supplying our community water always fail to ensure consistent flow. Sometimes we go for weeks with no water to bathe, wash our clothes and drink. We are hopeful that with these trees this water catchment will provide us with constant water." He explained

He continued by saying that when the technology must have produced good results, they would extend to new sites.

By Payong Tionou Marquise

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