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05 March 2014

St Monica University matriculates second batch of students

Posted in News, Views 1322

In an event that brought together a cream of persons from the academia including the clergy, the St. Monica University has matriculated the first batch of students. This took place at the Liongo Campus on January 25, 2014.

Giving a discourse on behalf of the president, Tsafack Fidelis indicated that the St Monica University is the only one in the area bringing American style of study nearer the Cameroonian population. It is again, he said, the only university that really practices the much talked about BMP system where there is flexibility and ease of movement within fields. Quoting from a speech made by the president on another occasion, he said the students of SMU 'learn with support' and 'graduate with confidence'.

Fr. Andrew Solih Ngah, one of the regents of the university, in a motivational speech drew from his own experience and experiences of his peers to present to students the advantages they have to study in such a place as St Monica. Studying under street lamps and burning the midnight candle was practical for them not metaphorical. He encouraged students to work hard to merit their certificates. Some vices which could deter them from this goal he highlighted were: local heroism, procrastination, sloth etc. He called on students to see where they are as green because he who is inside the fence sees the other side as green forgetting that once outside the fence the other side will now look greener.

A major highlight of the day was the taking of the matriculation oath. With hands raised, the students swore to stand for excellence, truth, moral rectitude and for the integrity of the individual and society. Following the values of the university which seeks to transform the lives of its students and the society through teaching and developing new knowledge through research, the students took the oath.

By Ita Nawom

05 March 2014

ERuDeF Sets Up Mount Bamboutos Echinops Co-operative Society

Posted in News, Views 1207

The Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) through the Echinops giganteus project has set up a management structure in Magha community-Bamumbu Village Southwest Region. The co-operative known as "Mount Bamboutos Echinops Co-operative Society" and abbreviated as MoBECoS will assist in the marketing of echinops and other environmental products.

The constitutive meeting of the co-operative was held in the Chief's Palace last December in the presence of 27 founding members. The idea of creating a co-operative is to create a complete channel in which the Echinops roots will be commercialized in a sustainable way. This falls under the formalization of ABS commitment with the local community.

During the constitutive meeting, the status of the co-operative, earlier prepared was read and adopted by the founding members of the co-operative. The meeting continued with the signing of the status of the co-operative by board members and other administrative procedures were done to kick start the cooperative. Founding members of MoBECoS discussed on the strategies to form their shared capital.

The news of a cooperative brought joy to the people of Magha. The chief and the rest of the community present in the constitutive meeting were so happy and they pledged that, their community would be committed and fully involved in the Echinops giganteus project implementation and management.

By Lea Kenmene

05 March 2014

ERuDeF gets four new workers on board

Posted in News, Views 1234

Following the announcement for the recruitment of volunteers into ERuDeF in early January 2014, the organization has welcome four new recruits. These are Njom Ignatius, the new Microcredit and Livelihoods, Akwofue Julius as a Driver, Taku Mirabel and Achare Gladys are respectively the Agroforestry Development Assistant and Microcredit Development Assistant. The latter two will undergo a 12 month training at the ERuDeF Institute of Biodiversity and Non-profit Studies(EIBiNS) in professional development, fundraising, NGO and project management.

The induction of the newly recruits took place at the ERuDeF main office in Buea on February 7, 2014. Presiding at the induction ceremony, the Director of Administration and Human Resources, Ms Ita Nawom, urged the newly recruit to join the rest of the team in their mission of conservation. She presented the newly recruit to the rest of the staff and explained their specific areas of concern. Each of the staff did individual presentation, explaining in detail what skills they possess to use for the growth of the organization. Following their individual presentations, it was clear that the newly recruits were very enthusiastic ready to contribute enormously towards the growth of the organization. One of them said "I'm happy to have joined this team; I believe that together we are going to raise the micro finance component to the top, said Njom Ignatius. On his part, the new driver, Akwofue Julius lauded the degree of collaboration amongst ERuDeF staff. He wished the organization and it staff many more years and pledge to be collaborative.

In a chat with the newly recruited Microcredit and Livelihood Development Assistant Achare Gladys, she said "I find it very interesting to take up this new responsibility not just because it is in line with my field of studies but also given that I intend to make a career in development and finance. With a B.Sc in Economics and given that I am rounding off my Masters Program in Financial Management, Planning and Development, I think I am just a square peg in a square hole". The 25-years old said she would do her best to develop strategies that will foster the MCLD Program in ERuDeF which will also go a long way in enhancing the growth of the organization.

By Payong Marquise

05 March 2014

ERuDeF Commemorates 42nd edition of World Wetland Day

Posted in News, Views 1137

Participants pose after conference

The Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) joined her counterparts on February 2, 2014 to commemorate the 42nd edition of the World Wetland day under the theme "Wetlands and Agriculture: Partners for Growth".

In the South West Region, the occasion was organized by the Environmental Science Students Association, ESSA of the University of Buea. The occasion was heavily attended by students of the Departments of Environmental Science, Botany and Plant Physiology and Zoology. Also in attendance were some exco members of the Faculty of Science Students Association, FSSA-UB.

The occasion started with a presentation on the brief history of the world wetland day by the Chief of Service for Environmental and Social Management Plan at the South West Regional Delegation of Environment, Fonweban Hans Njoka. Mr. Hans named some Ramsar sites in the South West Region to paint a picture of the pressure on wetlands especially in Cameroon.

The Acting Manager in charge of Forest Resources and Conservation, Ms Limbi Blessing who represented ERuDeF cautioned participants on the wise use of wetlands. She pointed out the need to integrate conservation and development, that is changing the focus of wetland management from protection to wise use. She pointed out that the major constraint in Cameroon is the lack of knowledge by government planners, managers of natural resources and local communities of the diverse benefits wetlands provide and how they can be utilized for agriculture in a sustainable manner. She went further to recommend partnership and education as the way forward. "The government alone cannot save our wetlands, so we all have to join hands'' she said. She pointed out that wetland farmers in Cameroon are not aware that it is a complex and fragile system and the major processes that keep it must be maintained lest it collapses.

The event also saw a presentation of a poem from one of the students, a quiz and a dance. Other participants from ERuDeF included , the Publicity Officer in charge of special Projects, Ndimuh Bertrand and Coordinator of IBiNS, Ngueping Samuel.

It is worth noting that 2014 is the UN International Year of Family Farming – so the Ramsar Convention chose Wetlands & Agriculture as the World Wetlands Day theme for 2014. Wetlands are so often intimately linked with agriculture, thus the slogan Wetlands and Agriculture: Partners for Growth, places a focus on the need for the wetland and agricultural sectors to work together for the best shared outcomes.

In Cameroon just like in other parts of the world, wetlands have often been seen as a barrier to agriculture, and they continue to be drained and reclaimed to make farming land available. But the essential role of wetlands in support of agriculture is becoming clearer and clearer, and there are successful agricultural practices which support healthy wetlands.

05 March 2014

48th Edition of Cameroon’s National Youth Day, What Place does the Environment Occupy?

Posted in News, Views 946

IBiNS Students march pass

 The day dawned fair and clear. It was yet another eleventh day of February. What is so special about this day, I would often wonder. History tells me that on this day, the UN conducted a plebiscite in Cameroon and the then Western Cameroon opted to join French Cameroon. I go down memory lane and remember my primary school days. I remember when we would practice endlessly how to march in front of the Divisional Officer. The only government official we were privileged to see at the time. I remember the traditional dances, the choral music competition and the sporting events that took place during this season. All of these make me smile at those very beautiful and youthful moments even when you had to trek long distances to the celebration ground. I equally remember that the few francs we had saved to use for that day could get us some sugar cane and 'makara'.

What I do not remember is whether there was any explanation to why the day had been baptized 'Youth Day'. I equally do not remember whether there was ever anything in all these celebrations that linked youths to the environment or the conservation of it. Young as my mind was then, if there was, I should have remembered or was it because there were no such phenomena as global warming or climate change?

The Youth Day celebrations for 2014 were different. The usual march pass was done beginning with those of Basic Education through Secondary to Vocational and then Higher Education. The difference actually came when the ERuDeF Institute of Biodiversity and Non-profit Studies took their turn. These pacesetters in conservation carried with them picture messages of conservation. Birds, gorillas, chimpanzees, degraded landscapes and more appealed more to the senses of the crowd to not only send children to be trained as conservationists but to practice sustainable ways of living at peace with the environment.

Even when the journalist announcing the schools referred to it as 'IBIS', I only said, it was a good thing to be mistakenly likened to a successful venture, IBiS being a consortium of successful hotel businesses in and around the world. With pride the first and second Batch of IBiNS set the pace even in marching forward to a bright future for conservation!

By Ita Nawom

05 February 2014

ERuDeF Board institutes Annual Thanks Giving Day

Posted in News, Views 1428

Board members pose after meeting

Board Members of the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) have resolved to set aside a day in a year to give back to the community.

The Board members reached this decision on Saturday, February 1, 2014, during the Annual General Meeting that held at the ERuDeF Institute of Biodiversity and Non-profit Studies.

Speaking about this innovation, the Chair of the Board of Trustees of ERuDeF, Akemnda Eric said "The Annual Give Back is a very accepted initiative. If at the end of the year we are able to run the organization successfully, it is all by the grace of God. We should be able to say thank you to God and extend a hand of charity to the under privileged of the society. At the same time ERuDeF as a charitable NGO should be able to show signs of charity especially given the aims of the charity are directed towards attaining ERuDeF's objectives".

Earlier on in the meeting, Board members examined the organizational and financial reports for 2013 and drew up a plan of action for 2014. The President/CEO, Louis Nkembi presented a list of programs and projects which the organization carried out for 2013. One of the programs was the Great Apes Program. Louis Nkembi gave an account on the creation process of the proposed Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary. He was proud to announce to the board that thanks to ERuDeF's persistent efforts, the file for the sanctuary is at the Prime Minister's office. He equally gave an account of the other programs that were carried out in 2013 including the Livelihood and Economic Development Program, Education for Sustainable Development, Forest and Climate Change Program and the International Volunteering Program. Louis Nkembi also updated the board about the launch of a new project- The Green Vision Newspaper which seeks to bridge the existing gap in environmental communication. The board members lauded the initiative and said the newspaper was a veritable tool in fighting ignorance on conservation amongst Cameroonians.

The constitution was later reviewed and members made several inputs to make the constitution dynamic. Finally, the new constitution was unanimously adopted by all the Board members.

Speaking after the meeting, the Board Chair, Akemnda Eric said "2013 went successfully from the examination of annual reports presented at the annual meeting. Everything went on well. We looked at the organizational and financial reports for 2013 and from the presentations I can say all went well and as the Board Chair I am very satisfied that ERuDeF is on the right path".

Another board member Dr. Zinkeng Matina equally lauded the management of ERuDeF for having remained focused in the vision of conserving wildlife and protecting fragile environments.

The other board members present at the meeting lauded the CEO's efforts in making ERuDeF one of the leading NGOs in Cameroon and for contributing enormously towards protecting Cameroon's rich environment.

Speaking about the 2014 plan of action, the CEO of ERuDeF, Louis Nkembi said "I think ERuDeF will be much better in 2014. We have restructured ERuDeF with respect to the constitution and correcting some of the pitfalls in the previous constitution. This will give ERuDeF new dynamics and make the organization a better conservation watchdog"

Louis Nkembi called on all the stakeholders to put hands on deck to make sure ERuDeF maintains the lead in the world of conservation NGOs. He extended words of gratitude to the entire Board and also to the staff of ERuDeF for their efforts in 2013 and wished for the best in 2014.

 

By Regina Leke

 

05 February 2014

Trees for the Future Cameroon staff wins TVE green competition 2013

Posted in News, Views 1454

Limbi Blessing Tata

Ms Limbi Blessing Tata, a Botanist working for the Cameroon Program of US Charity, Trees for the Future, has won the 2013 Television Trust for the Environment (TVE) award.

She won the award following her melo-documentary drama titled "Bring Back Ibo Coco". The locally produced film highlights the negative effects of chemical fertilizers, bush burning, and the use of other chemicals on the soil. It goes ahead to attribute the disappearance of Colocasia esculenta (locally called ibo coco) from South West Cameroon to environmental degradation.

Bring Back Ibo Coco, a one-minute acted in Pidgin with English sub-titling was produced by a team of young talents "with a concern for the future of our planet." It was entered into the Biodiversity International Award for Agriculture and Forest Biodiversity category.

Bring Back Ibo Coco competed with an Irish film Bee Friendly. At the end of voting on 19th December 2013, Bring Back Ibo Coco emerged victorious with a total of 2600 views on YouTube against 1600 views for its Irish (UK) rival. Other winners come from Bolivia, Colombia, Mauritius, Nepal, Peru and Slovakia.

Bring Back Ibo Coco was conceived and presented by Limbi Blessing Tata, a Botanist working with ERuDeF and also a pioneer batch of the Institute of Biodiversity and Non-profit Studies IBiNS, Buea. It was produced and directed by John Bunyui Njabi, a teacher, Musician and Environmental crusader at G.B.H.S. Muea, Buea.

Speaking about the award, Ms Limbi said it was such an honour for her to be the winner of this prestigious award. "I received the news of my award with a lot of joy. To think that out of over 500 film entries from 75 countries my film won, makes me so proud and helps me to understand that as young Cameroonians, we have a lot to offer the world". The 30-year old used the opportunity to call on Researchers to put hands on deck to bring back the much cherished staple, ibo coco.

The TVE biomovies 2013 competition in its fourth successful edition invited aspiring and established film-makers worldwide to submit film proposals in either Arabic, French, Russian, Spanish or English.

On Friday October 25th, after a record 565 film proposals from 75 countries that entered the competition, 14 finalists' films were selected to go into production and to go live on YouTube for a two months voting period to find the ultimate 2013 winners by 19th December 2013.

Finalists came, from Bolivia, Cameroon, Canada, Colombia, France, Mauritius, Nepal, Peru, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, the USA and the UK. It was up to the global public to choose the winning films. With every view on YouTube notching up one vote, the winners were to be the most watched films on the TVE biomovies website: with one victor to be chosen in each of the seven categories.

UNEP, the UN Environment Programme screened all 14 films on 11th November 2013 at the last UN Climate Conference (COP 19) in Warsaw, Poland.

 

By Regina Fonjia Leke

04 February 2014

Forest Garden Approach will help increase food security-Ben Addlestone

Posted in News, Views 1549

Forest Garden under construction

The Cameroon Desk Program Coordinator for Trees for the Future in USA, Ben Addlestone has said the introduction and consolidation of the forest garden approach amongst farmers in Cameroon is a veritable way to increase food security. Mr. Addlestone was speaking in Buea, SW Cameroon at the Trees for the Future office on January 17, 2014, after a two weeks visit to farms practicing agroforestry in the West, Southwest and Northwest regions of the Country.

"The forest garden is not a very new technique. We want to use the alley cropping system that we are already doing to improve soil fertility, but include other species of trees such as fruit trees, medicinal and animals to increase the diversity of the farms so that if one crop is affected, they can feed or sell the other. This will definitely increase food security and farmers' opportunity to boost their income. It will equally increase sustainable land use, by increasing the diversity of trees, it will help land to be used more sustainably" Mr Addlestone said.

Speaking about the objective of his trip, Mr. Addlestone said one of the main objectives was to monitor the progress of Trees for the Future Cameroon. "I came to assess how farmers are inculcating agroforestry system of farming and also to assess how the new technique of forest garden can be applied to Cameroon. Most of the farms I saw were very good and most of the farmers were already practicing forest garden in one way or the other. I think to bring that to the next level where farmers can really generate income from the technology, will be a very easy thing to do" Mr. Addlestone said.

Mr. Addlestone accompanied by the Cameroon Country Director, Louis Nkembi and the Program Assistant, Neba Kingsly, visited dozens of farms across Cameroon and spoke with different farmers practicing agroforestry. According to Mr. Addlestone, the experience this year was better than last year. " First, this year was longer than last year and we saw a lot of farms and we travelled in a lot of different directions and I think that the experience was better than last year because we saw some incredible farmers practicing real improved agroforestry techniques and we saw a huge spectrum of topographies, rural conditions and farmers"

Commenting on the trend of the Cameroon Program, Mr. Addlestone said "I went to all the new farms this year and equally the old farms and putting all together I think the project is a step in the right direction with new farmers saying if they commit to it, in three years time, they will see real benefits"

Mr. Addlestone hopes that as the year goes by, the Cameroon Program will keep growing and impacting as many lives as possible. "We just intend to keep growing, seeing what the community needs in terms of agroforestry and being able to give the community"

He thanked all the staff of Trees for the Future Cameroon for a job well done and also extended words of gratitude to the management of the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF)for their support to Trees for the Future Cameroon. "I was so glad to be here and I look forward to coming back next year" He added.


By Regina Fonjia Leke

04 February 2014

Allen Tabi Emerges ERuDeF’s Best Staff for 2013

Posted in News, Views 1305

Allen Tabi

The Officer in charge of Protected Area Development at the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), has won the coveted prize for the best staff of the year.

Mr. Enokenwa Allen Tabi was elected, January 6, 2014 during the ERuDeF's 2014 planning meeting, which took place at the ERuDeF Head Office, Buea under the auspices of ERuDeF's President/CEO, Louis Nkembi. The meeting was attended by staff from the branch office in Menji and the Head Office in Buea with Tabi winning an overwhelming majority of 18 out of 24 votes for 2013 best staff.

The Director in charge of Economic Operations, Forbe Hodu emerged second best staff while Ms Asa'a Lemawah, Coordinator of ERuDeF's Threatened Trees Project won the third position. Meanwhile, Mr. Fabian Asong was unanimously voted as ERuDeF best driver for 2013.

Allen Tabi received a cash prize of 100.000 frs cfa as motivation for a job well done while Forbe Hodu who grabbed the second position received 75.000 and Asa'a Lemawah went home with 50.000 frs cfa.

The selection process for best staff started in December 2013 with the nomination of some 10 outstanding staff and a driver. Three of the staff with the highest nominations including Enokenwa Allen Tabi, Forbe Hodu and Ms Asa'a Lemawah were selected and voted during the General Assembly.

Speaking about his victory, the laureate said the award came as a surprise "Even though I contributed enormously towards the enhancement of the organization's overall mission and accomplished all my planned tasks for the year, I had no idea that I will be the best staff of the year. To be sincere, I nominated other staff for this award. It is sometimes difficult to evaluate yourself. However, I was nominated by some staff and I won the best staff of the year. In any case, I feel happy to receive the award. It is a motivating factor in my career" Allen said.

Mr Tabi equally said that he could not take all the glory for the award. "If you ask me, I would say that all the staff of ERuDeF merited this award, because all of us always work together to achieve the common goal for the organization"

He attributed his success to hard work, duty consciousness and humility; encouraging other staff to be devoted and be hard working for "hard work is the key to success"

Enokenwa Allen Tabi holds a B.Sc in Animal Biology and a Masters Degree in Ecology and Wildlife Management from the University of Dschang. He was recruited into ERuDeF in 2011 as a Biologist and today serves as the Officer in Charge of Protected Area Development in the organization.


By Ndimuh Bertrand Shancho

04 February 2014

TREES Cameroon bids farewell to Peace Corps Volunteer.

Posted in News, Views 1543

Matthew (center) poses with colleaques

Staff of the Cameroon Program for US charity Trees for the Future and the Environment & Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) have said farewell to US Peace Corps Matthew Piscopo. The send off ceremony took place on Wednesday January 8, 2014 in Buea. Matthew Piscopo's stay in Cameroon was supposed to end in March 2014, but his departure became a bit sudden given that he had a pertinent family issue back in the United States.

Matthew came to Trees for the Future Cameroon also known as TREES Cameroon in January 2013. According to his contract, he was to spend the next one year with the organization. He however decided to extend his stay for three months to handle some unfinished work. On his arrival, Matthew was assigned to promote agroforestry and sustainable farming amongst rural populations. He coordinated agroforestry activities in Fako Division, SW Cameroon. He identified and introduced agroforestry technology of farming to three new farming groups in Mile 16 Bolifamba, Soppo Likoko and Batoke and equally worked with the old farming groups around Fako. He liaised with schools such as the Borstal Youth Correctional Facility where he trained teachers and students on the different agroforestry practices, focusing on alley cropping and live fencing. Matthew Piscopo before his departure worked with 6 communities and distributed 10.5kg of seeds to these communities. He established over seven nurseries with farmers and schools and a total of 270182 trees were transplanted. Matthew also organized 17 workshops and trained 35 people. He had a good relationship with the people he worked with and some Farmers in Mile 16 have testified they will miss him "He was so jovial. He taught us how to set up our tree nurseries and helped us to transplant them. We have learnt a lot from him and we will miss him" A Farmer said.

Apart from working with farmers and schools to consolidate the agroforestry system, Matthew was equally very resourceful in different services of the organization. He worked closely with the communication team to beef up their capacity in online communication. He equally assisted in training some staff on the Geographical Information System (GIS).

Speaking during his send off gathering in Buea, Matthew extended his heart felt gratitude to the entire TREES Cameroon team for their constant collaboration and tolerance. "I learned a lot from each and every one of us and I will carry these memories all my life". He thanked the entire staff for their hospitality.

Speaking on behalf of the Country Director of TREES Cameroon, the Director of Administration and Human Resource Ita Nawom extended words of gratitude. "We would never forget you. I am sure each and every one of us here has learned something from you. You were a smart and energetic man who always likes to share knowledge at any giving time. Thank you very much".

The Director of Budget and Finance, Ursela Nkeng equally thanked Matthew for his collaboration and support. She handed him a gift on behalf of ERuDeF and TREES Cameroon. Matthew was very happy with the gift.


By Payong Marquise

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