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14 July 2014

ERuDeF’s Projects Marvel 8 French Ecotourists

Posted in News, Views 1545

Ecotourists posed with some ERuDeF Staff After the trip

Some 8 ecotourists from a French Sustainable Development Non-profit Organization, Maisons Du Monde, who recently embarked on a 12 day nature/cultural discovery tour to Cameroon, have been amazed by the magnitude of projects, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation, ERuDeF, is carrying out in the Tofala area.

After visiting ERuDeF project sites in Tofala and actively involving in project promotional activities like local wildlife postcards production with students and pupils of school environmental clubs in Bechati, planting of some agroforestry trees species to conserve the major source of portable water in Bechati, donation of books to school libraries of some Tofala forest adjacent communities, biomonitoring apes/monitoring camera traps to acquire data that will help in establishing trends of wildlife species in the area, participating in local soap production and visiting the Besali Oil Mill, these ecotourists could not hide their feelings;

"I am really impressed by the good work ERuDeF is doing in this area to help conserve the rainforest and its biodiversity. We watched the project documentaries and have also gone through the different projects. Their effort is commendable" said Stephanie Cutourier, one of the ecotourists

ERuDeF's conservation action in the Tofala rainforest is another area that thrilled the French ecotourists. "Apart from the nests, feeding signs, dung etc of chimpanzees and gorillas, which we recorded during biomonitring, we saw heart chimpanzees and saw how they were shaking trees so many metres away from us, while some of us were lucky to see a monkey. We also monitored some camera traps that ERuDeF biomonitors set up in the rainforest and were excited when we saw many primates like Chimpanzees, bush cats, monkeys etc but this excitement lessened when all of a sudden we saw two hunters with guns in the trap" Jennifer Pichard, the Coordinator of the team said. This according to Pichard, is an indication that "ERuDeF action is more than never necessary to protect the primates".

Barreau Sophie, just like Perrin Virginie, was very elated by ERuDeF conservation education and tree planting effort. "I think ERuDeF is doing a lot to sensitize the younger once on the importance of conservation. We were very happy working with the children to produce poscrads....the song the school children also sang to welcome us to their schools for the book donation was a nice one too" they confessed.

The presence of these ecotourists in the Tofala area was greeted with lots of ecstasy by administrative authorities

At the divisional headquarter in Mnji, The Senior Divisional Officer of Lebialem, Kouemo Simon , welcome the French ecotourists seeing their visit as a way of bringing his division to the lime light both nationally and internationally. He said the visit of the French ecotourists will make the local population understand that government's reasons to gazette the Proposed Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary is to make the division an ecotourism destination. "The Tofala forest has some species of monkeys, gorillas, chimpanzees that are endemic to the area and lovers of nature or researchers on any wildlife be it plants or animals will not be disappointed visiting this area and If we can have more and more ecotourists coming into this area, it will be a very great thing for the local population because ecotourism has very high job potentials" the SDO added

In the Bechati village, these ecotourists were welcome traditional and cultural manifestations where they danced alongside the villagers. The traditional ruler of Bechati also welcomed them into his village counting the visit as a blessing to him and his community. "We are proud of the forest and very much happy when people like you leave your country to come and research in our forests. This means that the forest has started yielding dividend to my community". He said.

From the Tofala area, these ecotourists visited the Center for the Blind, and an artifact centre in Dschang where they bought African souvenirs for family and love once. Other areas visited in Cameroon included the Ekon-ekam water fall in Melong, the Tsaben beach in Limbe the, and Limbe Wildlife Centre.

At the end of the trip, ERuDeF IVP Logistic Coordinator thanked the ecotourists for their contribution in enhancing the goal of the organization and for choosing Cameroon and ERuDeF as a destination for their working holiday. He hoped that the visit will serve as the beginning of a long term relationship with Maisons Du Monds adding that the door of the organization is opened to anyone of them wanting to visit Cameroon again.

By Bertrand Shancho Ndimuh

14 July 2014

Over 40 Tofala Women gain Skills In Soap Making

Posted in News, Views 1380

Women learn how to produce soap locally

The TOFALA Women Association that was reorganized in December 2013 has now gone fully operational in its operation and the association is helping the women to improve on income generating activities. Just after receiving support of a cassava grinding mill by the Non-profit Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), the women have embarked yet again on another local income generating activity, that of local soap making with the use of local resources such as kernel oil, palm oil, and other industrial products such as foaming agent.

In a workshop organized by ERuDeF in June, 2014 in Menji, the different women shared their experiences on the combination of local materials for the production of the local soap, savon. The participants at this workshop confessed that the training would help boost the quality and quantity of soap production. "Some women used to put more caustic soda and that makes the soap to have negative effect on the palms of the users. But with this training, I am sure the quality of soap produced will surely improve' The President of the Association, Akwanga Voluntary said.

The workshop was also an occasion for many who have never known how to make powder detergent to acquire the skills based on application and combination of local resources around them. The two-day workshop that brought together over 43 women built capacities of these women who took the new skills to their respective communities. It is hoped that the training will permit them generate more income on regular basis that would help increase their savings with the Forest protection Fund scheme already operational in the TOFALA area.

Eventhough the main raw material for the production of powder detergent locally known as OMO is widely available (palm kernel), its "effective availability" is hampered due to the lack of equipment to help extract the kernel oil from the bi-product of the Man and Nature and the Transpetrol Foundation supported palm oil projects in the TOFALA communities. Supporting this extraction could move the initiative of the women into an industrial operation capable of creating more jobs and empowering the women in a sustainable way.

It would also be recalled that the overall goal of building the capacities of these women is empower them economically and divert their attention from the rich Tofala forest filled with endangered wildlife including the critically endangered cross River Gorilla.

Forbe Hodu

14 July 2014

Another Elephant Found Dead in Mak-betchou Forest

Posted in News, Views 1580

examining dead elephants

Barely four months since an elephant was found dead in the Mak-Betchou forest, Lebialem Division, SW Cameroon, another carcass of forest elephant has been found in the same forest 12km away from where the other one was found with tusks removed. The news about the dead elephant was brought by one of ERuDeF's biomonitor, Njingu James.

Njingu James stumbled on the carcass of the elephant on June 210, 2014 with the ivory and tusk removed beside a small stream when he was conducting his regular bio-monitoring. He explains that from every indication, the elephant carcass was 10 weeks old. Njingu equally explained that part of the elephant meat was also smoked and carried away as local driers were found at that spot. After speaking to some hunters, Njingu gathered that the elephant poachers were a group of 3 hunters living in a neigbouring village- the Esso Attah. He gathered that after the elephant was killed and tusk/ivories removed, villagers were invited to carry the meat to the village.

Contrary to popular belief that only the ivory and the tusk of elephants were important for the elephant poachers, ERuDeF staff who investigated the killing of the elephants discovered that the bones were being used for varied purposes. The staff could not get enough reasons what the people need the bones for but most of the bones had been carried away by the time they got to the scene of the event. It is equally not clear why the traditional rulers will keep these poachers in their communities but there seem to be a mutual benefit plan put in place as the ERuDeF staff gathered.

Forest elephants are totally protected species and the Cameroon law prohibits killing except for self defense. In an effort to guarantee the safety of these animals, ERuDeF early this year launched the creation process for the proposed Mak-Betchou Sanctuary and early June, 2014, the NGO held a session with officials of the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife to draw a Technical note for this sanctuary. It is hoped that once this sanctuary becomes totally protected by the Cameroon government, animals will no longer be killed randomly.

By Asoh Bedwin

14 July 2014

ERuDeF Donates Modern Beehives To Magha Natives

Posted in News, Views 1544

Bee equipment donated

With financial support from the French Embassy in Cameroon, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation(ERuDeF) has donated 150 modern bee hives to some Some 20 Farmers in Magha-Bamumbu village, Wabane Sub-Division. The donation came after a two-day training workshop on beekeeping given to them by a Specialist, Ngealeke Francis. The workshop, organized by ERuDeF took place recently and the move is aimed at improving the living standards of the inhabitants of this area through livestock activities while promoting the sustainable management of the environment. The initiative to offer both financial and technical support to this community is in view of technically assisting identified interested farmers that are resident in the area, to establish and produce quality honey both for household consumption and marketing, thus improving the livelihood of the people.

During this workshop, different problems related to beekeeping were identified and the participants were drilled on how to overcome the problems. They were taught on the different beekeeping practices and nourished with modern techniques of bee farming.

On the first day of the training the trainer, Ngealeke Francis enlightened the 20 participants on the value of bee farming and they were taught about the difference between artisanal and modern beekeeping practices, constraints identified in relation to beekeeping, and solutions envisaged. The farmers were also made to understand the utilization and maintenance of bee farming equipment and were taught about the criteria for apiary site selection and installation techniques of beehives. The trainer also taught the farmers measures that can be implemented to improve the colonization of beehives.

The trainer utilized a participatory, approach during the training and the participants asked different questions in areas where they had doubts and their worries were answered by the trainer. The session ended with the donation of explanatory notes and distribution of the bee keeping equipments

On the second day of the training a field demonstration on the installation of bee hives was done and some samples of bee hives were installed in the presence of all the participants, in sites selected in accordance with the modalities and techniques elaborated during the first part of the workshop.

At the end of the workshop, 150 bee hives and other equipments necessary in bee farming were donated to some selected participants who expressed joy "I am very satisfied with the training and the donation of these bee equipment. This will really help us boost honey production in Magha and also help boost our income" One of the participants said.

Lea Kenmene

14 July 2014

ERuDeF Rescues Red River Hog Piglets (Bush pig) From Traffickers

Posted in News, Views 1337

ERuDeF's Biologist holds one of piglets rescued

The Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) in collaboration with the Divisional Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife have rescued 3 piglets of Red River Hog (Bush pig) Potamochoerus porcus from Wildlife Traffickers. The piglets were seized on June 11, 2014, from Nkemngoh Michael a resident of Menji, headquarter of Lebialem Division, SW Cameroon. The operation was led by the Divisional Delegate of Forestry and Wildlife, Mboui Jacques in collaboration with the forces of Law and Order and ERuDeF's Enokenwa Allen Tabi. The piglets have been taken to the Limbe Wildlife Center for rehabilitation.

The trafficker, Nkemngoh is said to have bought the piglets from hunters who caught the piglets in the proposed Mak-Betchou Chimpanzee Sanctuary and his aim was to sell these piglets to ERuDeF for about 70.000 FCFA($140) or more. When staff of ERuDeF asked him to hand the animals for free, explaining the consequences of keeping or selling an animal that is protected by the laws of the country, he refused. His refusal pushed ERuDeF staff to inform the Divisional Delegate and the Forces of Law and Order who later arrested him.

A week before this incident, 2 baby civets were brought to the ERuDeF field office at Menji by a man from Atongue village who claimed he found the animals around his house. These animals were taken to the Limbe Wildlife Center by ERuDeF in collaboration with the Divisional Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife for Lebialem.

It would be recalled that the Red River Hog species falls under the class B animals which are totally protected by the Cameroon Forestry, Wildlife and Fishery Law N° 94/01 of 20 January 1994. The law states that this animal should not be killed and their capture or detention requires a special authorization from the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife.

The red river hog (Potamochoerus porcus), also known as the bush pig is a wild member of the pig family living in Africa. It is rarely seen away from rainforests, and generally prefers areas near rivers or swamps. Red river hogs eat grasses, berries, roots, insects, molluscs, small vertebrates and carrion. They typically live in herds of six to 20 members led by a dominant boar, with sows rearing three to six piglets at a time.

Enokenwa Allen Tabi

14 July 2014

10, 000 Threatened Tress Planted Out In Community Forests

Posted in News, Views 1339

Trees being offloaded from ERuDeF vehicle for planting

Foresters working for the project dubbed Conservation of threatened trees at Mt Cameroon area at ERuDeF have planted out 10.000 threatened trees species in two community forest in the Mt Cameroon area, Woteva and Bankingili with the support of the community members. The species which include Microberlinia bisulcata (Zingana), Entandrophragma angolenses (Mahogany), Prunus africana (Pygeum) and Afrostyllax lepidophyllus (Country Onion) were planted out recently with over 5,000 threatened trees planted in each community forest. The goal is to enhance the conservation and restoration of threatened trees within the Mt Cameroon area.

This initiative is a long term commitment of communities around the Mt Cameroon area and is being supported by the UK Charity Fauna and Flora International (FFI) and the Global Tree Campaign. The initiative aims to increase the capacity of local stakeholders within the Mt Cameroon area, where these community forests are located. The overall vision is to conserve and restore the lost populations of these threatened tree species in the Mt Cameroon community forest, whose population have reduced drastically over the last decade due to illegal exploitation.

The threatened trees species were initially sown at the SW Regional Delegation of Forestry premises in 2011 when the project kicked off. Over 20.000 seed were sown registering a high survival rate of close to 20.000. In collaboration with government services of Forestry, ERuDeF has nurtured the seeds up to maturity with some measuring up to 1metre.

Given that these community forests' Simple Management Plans emphasize reforestation and regeneration, vast areas of land previously occupied by forests which have been turned into farmland were seen as a priority for regeneration. Using the taungya system, trees were planted alongside crops especially in the farmlands in the limits of the community forest. The trees it is hoped would eventually take over the area after some years as the farm owners simultaneously cater for the trees alongside their crops.

When the ERuDeF team arrived in Bakingili with seedlings of threatened trees ready to be planted, the community received them with a lot of enthusiasm and excitement and expressed gratitude to ERuDeF and her partner-FFI and the Global Trees Campaign.

The Forest Management Officer of the Forest of Bakingili, Elive Thomas also expressed joy in his words "We are very happy with the gesture from ERuDeF to plant these trees at the Bakingili community forest, not just because today it has become imperative to plant trees, but these trees are special because they are threatened. It is a very timely gesture given that the community forest is barely naked area with nothing to show for as trees. We will commit the community members especially those who are exploiters to plant the trees, so that they are most conscious of the implications of cutting down trees and help stop others from accessing the forest to cut trees." He said.

During the planting exercise in Woteva, the Chief of the village, Woloko Bernard lauded the initiative and craved the indulgence of the community to embrace this opportunity firmly. "We feel privileged to have gained such a favour to be given trees to plant in our forest and farms. These trees may not be for our immediate benefit but for the children and grandchildren".

The trees planted in these forests would go a long way to increase the value of these forests given that pressure for timber and other products in the Mt Cameron National Park will be reduced in a long term as well. Communities' knowledge and attitudes on conserving threatened trees has been improved as most of them now understand the relevance of the species. Given that the communities better understand the value of these trees, they serve well as guards to stop illegal exploiters from adjacent communities to their forests.

In a bid to seal the collaboration between ERuDeF and these communities, MoUs were signed with the communities pledging to take good care of the trees.

By Asa'a Lemawah

14 July 2014

ERuDeF Bids Farewell To Man and Nature Representative

Posted in News, Views 1382

Manuella poses with ERuDeF family

The Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) has officially bid farewell to the Representative of her French partner Man and Nature, Manuella Hugue. The farewell ceremony took place on Friday, June 27 in Buea in the presence of ERuDeF's President/CEO Louis Nkembi and staff from the head office in Buea and Field office, in Menji Fontem.

Ms. Hugue who travels back to her home country France has spent 20 months in Cameroon working as Coordinator for one of ERuDeF's project on the valorization of a local plant-Echinops giganteus in Magha on Mt Bamboutos. She was equally very instrumental in the implementation of Access Benefit Sharing in Cameroon which led to the signing of an MoU between a French enterprise and Cameroon's Minister of Environment, Hele Pierre.

Speaking during her send-off ceremony, the President/CEO Louis Nkembi lauded Ms. Hugue for being the perfect example of a hard worker "Throughout her stay in Cameroon, she proved to be very determined. She went in for what she deemed would advance the course of conservation in Cameroon and she stood by it until it was finished". Mr. Nkembi used the opportunity to urge staff of ERuDeF to emulate such example and remain committed to their different responsibilities and help preserve Cameroon's rich biodiversity.

Speaking at the ceremony, Manuella Hugue said 'Working in Cameroon and with ERuDeF was my first experience as a job and it was quite challenging. But I learnt a lot and I gained a lot of experience especially with the support from ERuDeF staff. It was such a wonderful experience."

The French born who fell in love with the Cameroon dish 'ndolle' explained that having spent 20 months in Cameron, she grew tremendously working with ERuDeF and her biggest success was the fact that Echinops giganteus project became a pilot case for ABS in Cameroon. "Thanks to support from partners such as ERuDeF, Man and Nature, ABS Initiative and GIZ, the project Echinops giganteus, became a pilot case for Cameroon. Through a bottom-up system we were able to highlight and help legislation in the implementation of the ABS principle in Cameroon and now Cameroon is ahead of other countries in Central Africa in terms of ABS implementation" She said.

The Ehinops giganteus project is the first ABS project in Cameroon and the success of this project according to Ms. Hugues is due to the fact that all the stakeholders worked together at the same level. The project highlighted the local population and local NGO and brought government on the talking table in the implementation of ABS.

However, Ms. Hugue said much still remains to be done especially on the part of the government to facilitate the full implementation of ABS in Cameroon. She bemoaned the slow and expensive nature working with government services and urged the Cameroon government particularly the Ministry of Environment to speed up work and be more involved so that Cameroon can maintain the leadership position it already enjoys in ABS in the sub-region.

The 26-year-old equally urged ERuDeF who is currently the only NGO working on ABS in Cameroon to forge ahead by doing sensitization on ABS. "ERuDeF needs to communicate and show to the public that they are the leaders in ABS. They need to make the public know that if they need some help on ABS, then they need to contact ERuDeF.

The Echinops giganteus project is designed to valorize the production of the local plant Echinops giganteus. Commonly called Ayiagalem, the plant is found in Mt Bamboutos and prior to research which proved the roots of the plant has pharmaceutical and essential oil properties, the balls produced by the plant were used as playing balls by kids in Magha-Bamumbu, Lebialem Division. Mothers equally used some parts of the plant to prepare the local meal 'achu'. The Access Benefit Sharing (ABS) is a principle of the 2010 UN Nagoya Protocol which insists that there should be a mutual benefit sharing from natural resources between the community and any enterprise willing to exploit the resource.

By Regina Fonjia Leke

14 July 2014

Mbetta Natives Introduced to Conservation Education

Posted in News, Views 1408

Students in Mbetta learn about conservation

The people of Mbetta, Kupe Muanenguba Division, Southwest region of Cameroon have for the first time received lessons on conservation from members of the Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Program, Akeh Nug and Emmanuel Ndip at ERuDeF. The team visited this area whose forest is reported to be filled with some endangered wildlife species on May 28, 2014 and the goal was to educate the schools and the community on the need to protect these endangered species and the role the can play to achieve this mission

 

Mbetta, the head quarter of the Mbo clan has a population of less than 500 inhabitants and is home to both endemic endangered wildlife species including; duikers, elephants, red river hog, chimpanzees, porcupines, buffaloes and a host of other small mammals and endangered birds like Bannerman's Toracco.

The main economic activities here is agriculture; cocoa farming, palm oil production, small scale fishing, palm wine production for local consumption, hunting and trapping. About 95% of the people depend heavily on the forest for their livelihood. Each year vast portions of the forest are being destroyed for farm extension and the wildlife population has also suffered due to intense illegal hunting and loss of habitat.

In an effort to help conserve this area, the ESD team during this visit, explained to the people about the different population of wildlife found in their area and why they need to protect them. They explained that current threats facing wildlife are mostly related to harmful human activities and that benefits could accrue for the community if they participate in the conservation of their natural resources.

During school education pupils were introduced to the general concept of the environment. Interestingly enough, some pupils proved to have some knowledge of conservation as well as knowledge of some wildlife species found in their area.

The Administration of the different schools visited were impressed with the coming of the ESD team in their school. "I think introducing conservation education in schools is the best way to achieve the goal of conservation given that the youths are the leaders of tomorrow" the Head Master of GS Fonven said. "My area is rich in biodiversity, but needs help on how to harness this natural resource for posterity and given ERuDeF's experience, I think they are a square peg in a square hole" said the Chief of Mbetta.

A total of over 150 pupils in GS Fonven benefited from this unique conservation lesson and at the end of the visit, the Chief of Mbetta concluded by saying they are ready to collaborate with ERuDeF in preserving their heritage.

Mbeta is a forest adjacent community of the proposed Mak-Betchou Chimpanzee Sanctuary.

Emmanuel Ndip

14 July 2014

11 Schools Gain Skills in Conservation Arts

Posted in News, Views 1310

student painting

Some eleven primary and secondary schools drawn from Mmouckmbie, Lebialem Division, SW Cameroon have picked up skills in conservation arts in a workshop organized by the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF). The workshop brought pupils and students from 5 secondary and 6 primary schools in Nwangong, Mmouckmbie and Mmouck Fossimondi with an overall attendance of 24 students and teachers who converged at G.S. Atsombie in Mmouckmbie recently.

Organised by ERuDeF's Education for Sustainable Development team, the workshop was aimed at diversifying strategies in environmental education. By engaging the pupils and students in nature arts and craft the objective was to deepen their bond with nature, develop skills, encourage and strengthen creativity in the students/pupils with subsequent change in attitudes towards a better environmental and conservation practices. Both students and their teachers engaged in arts activity including painting of different wildlife species as well as different landscapes/forests harboring these animals.

The overall goal of this activity is to support wildlife and habitat conservation, biodiversity, sustainability and environmental education through art that celebrates natural heritage. The schools who took part included, G.S Ndu-Nwangong, GBSS Emolah-Nwangong, G.S. Mmouckmbie, G.S. Atsombie, G.T.C. Mmouckbie, G.S.S. Mmouckbie, G.S. Fossimondi, G.S. Mbelenka , G.B.S.S. Mbelenka, G.S Awut and G.H.S. Mmouck

At the end of the workshop, participants felt closer to nature and confessed of feeling more indebted to protecting their biodiversity. They agreed that while the bond between them and these wildlife species has grown stronger, their art skills have equally been developed. "I am really happy to have been a part of this workshop. I have come to understand different wildlife species and their habitats through painting. I will use this knowledge to continue to teach my students so that they can understand conservation better" A teacher said.

It would be recalled that conservation arts and crafts is a recent approach in Environmental Education which has been adopted around the world to create a sense of consciousness in the young towards environmental protection. It uses art as an educational tool in bringing the environmental message to children and the local communities.

By Akeh Nug

14 July 2014

ERuDeF Sets Up New 35000 Capacity NTFP Nursery at Mmockbie

Posted in News, Views 1185

Children filling polybags for the establishment of an NTFP nursery at Mmockbie

In a bid to support the farming population of Mmockbie, a forest adjacent community to the proposed Tofala Wildlife Hill Sanctuary, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) has set up a 35000 capacity nursery to raise and distribute seedlings of some Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs). Some of the seedlings include Cola sp (atara), Garcinia kola (bitter kola), Citrus sinensis (sweet orange), Persea avocado (pear) and (Plums). The objective of setting up this NTFP nursery is to help reduce the people's dependence on the forest thus provide a safe place for the different endangered wildlife species in this forest including the critically endangered cross river gorilla.

The NGO has also supported the planting of environmentally friendly trees around all the water catchments in this community which has been suffering from acute water shortages due to exposed catchments. In April this year 3000 seedlings of Acacia angutissima and Calliandra calyoptus were transplanted into the main water catchment of this community and a 10.000 capacity nursery has been set up to continue to support the water catchments.

The establishment of this new 35000 NTFP nursery has been received with a lot of joy. According to Chief Fominot, the Chairman of the Council of Chiefs of the village, this is a laudable initiative. "The produce from these trees will greatly aid the members of this community, 95% of whom are farmers. It will generate income for their families and also ensure household food security''. He said. In the days ahead, the farmers of this community will be trained on methods vegetative propagation of tree species thanks to a giant Non-mist propagator that has also been set up. They will also be schooled on how and why to raise and incorporate nitrogenous trees species into their farms so as to increase soil fertility and hence farm produce.

It would be recalled that two of such nurseries have been set up in Folepi and Nkong, all villages bordering the proposed sanctuary. Additionally, in Nkong demonstration sites have also been set up that incorporate nitrogenous trees into farmer's fields.

By Limbi Blessing Tata

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