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09 December 2013

French Embassy supports ERuDeF’s Reforestation Efforts

Posted in News, Views 1361

Fresh Echinops giganteus plant benefitting fromFrench Embassy grant

The French Embassy, through its fund "Appui à la Société Civile du Sud (SCS), in Cameroon has granted the Environment & Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) support to its conservation program in Magha Community Bamumbu Village, SW Cameroon. The grant is to support the Mt Bamboutos Echinops giganteus Project which aims to regenerate and valorize the production of the local plant which has pharmaceutical and essential oil properties. This funding alongside additional funding from Man & Nature will help support for the next 18 months the implementation of the first phase of the Mt Bamboutos Echinops Project. This project will focus on the economic, social, environmental and governance issues on the Lebialem side of Mt Bamboutos. The Mt Bamboutos Echinops Project is the first pilot project to test the implementation of the ABS Initiative of the Nagoya Principle in Cameroon.

Most of the people in Magha-Bamumbu are Farmers and Cattle Rearers whose yearly income stand between 340-930 euros. The community is blessed with natural plants but whose commercial values are never exploited. This support will help the production and commercialization of the Echinops giganteus and help boost the incomes of the people. Equally, the Mt Bamboutos has been facing massive deforestation and poor agricultural practices. This has led to massive degradation of the soil which caused a massive landslide in Magha-Bamumbu in 2003 claiming more than 20 lives. The Echinops project is therefore bringing in a new source of revenue through the creation of a cooperative: MoBECoS (Mount Bamboutos Echinops Co-operative Society) to permit villagers have equal benefit sharing from the exploitation of Echinops giganteus. The provision of modern bee-hives to the local population who are already involved in traditional bee-keeping will also help to boost the income of the people. The reforestation of Magha-Bamumbu will help in regenerating the soil thereby avoiding erosions and landslides. It will also contribute to protect the water catchments of the area.

09 December 2013

A Guide to Greatness

Posted in News, Views 1306

Yesterday I threw out months of work.

Work that my team and I spent countless hours on, agonizing over.

We created something that nobody in my industry had done before.

We were leading a revolution.

And before what we created really had a chance to make an impact, I'm throwing it away.

Because I came up with something better.

Something mind-blowing.

Something great.


You have to do great work.

If you want to make money, change people's lives, have a real impact... what you do has to be great.

And that often means throwing away really good ideas to chase greatness.

Even if you've invested lots of money, time, and resources into them.

If it's not great, it shouldn't be worth your time.

You know when something is great - don't settle.


Great is scary.

Doing great work is scary.

It requires a ton of effort.

It takes you to places you've never been before.

It means abandoning the safe, trusted path you've known.


Good is the enemy of great.

If something is bad, you'll change it.

The challenge is when something is "good enough."

You know it's not great but it's good enough for people.

And so you stop making changes.

You stop improving.

Good is worse than bad because it stops you from achieving great.


Being great requires change.

You don't just achieve greatness and then stop.

The Sony Walkman might have been great when it came out but it's not great anymore.

You have to keep pushing boundaries to stay great.

Challenge yourself to come up with the next great push forward.

This applies to everything.

This isn't just a business idea.

It's for every aspect of your life.

Do you want a great life or a good one?

Do you want to be in a great relationship or a good one?


Stop settling for less.

When you settle for less than great you get used to settling.

You settle for a mediocre business.

You settle for a mediocre life.

You stop chasing your dreams.

Stop settling and make your business and your life great.

Believe.


By Patience Monjoa

09 December 2013

UK Based Volunteer Shares his thrilling 10-day-experience in Tofala Rainforest

Posted in News, Views 1471

Mario Kreixxig

My name is Mario Kreixxig and I am a 41 year old Civil Servant from East Sussex (UK). Having spent 10 exciting days on a field trip to the proposed Tofala Hill Sanctuary in the South West Region of Cameroon, I would say it was educating, exciting, challenging and often just plain fun. I feel quite privileged for having had access to remote communities and areas of rain forest that would have been quite impossible for any independent traveller to visit. Not to mention the knowledge I gained in respect of ERuDeF's conservation efforts and community projects or the good-humoured nature of the people of this country. Staff and ordinary people always went out of their way to accommodate the needs of the volunteers and made me feel welcome at all times. I am struck by the way people deal with their day-to-day challenges with courage and a good portion of humour. People are maybe more supportive of their families here than in many other countries and I found it remarkable that family ties last until after death. For anybody who has never tried the local cuisine, it's fresh, diverse and very delicious. The only exception as far as my tender taste buds are concerned would be Eru – a kind of vine ground into a mash. I'm sure that most Cameroonians would protest at this because it seems a tremendously popular dish and is still worth checking out!

The experience of living and working in the rain forest was truly wonderful. Who would have thought that walking at approximately 1km/hr would result in muscle pains and sweat-soaked shirts? I was also surprised by the few direct observations of wildlife I had. I was not lucky enough to watch any great apes but there were many signs such as nests and feeding signs to confirm the proximity of the Cross-River Gorilla. In fact, I came close to the elusive gorilla on at least two occasions. The first close encounter was near the edge of a plantain farm in the forest. Our guide spotted two apes and another volunteer managed to see part of the animal. By the time the rest of us reached the site, the animals had left silently only betraying their presence by the movement of the undergrowth as they retreated back into the thick forest. Another time, we witnessed the sound of a plantain tree being brought down by a gorilla. Despite our best efforts, we did not get to see the animal but , nevertheless, the experience brought a spark of excitement to the team. Naturally, I felt a little disappointment that I have been unable to see the Cross-River Gorilla yet again but a cool bath in the waterfall outside our base camp helped to overcome the frustration. Our Bio Monitor, Bedwin, deserves my full admiration for not just being the most knowledgeable expert of primates and the most dedicated environmentalist that I know but also for remaining cheerful at the challenging task of feeding 4 hungry men and a lady on a diet based primarily on seemingly never-ending variations of pasta, beans, potatoes and rice. One of the many unforgettable moments for me was reaching the top of a hill and looking down on some of the most magnificent and awe-inspiring landscape I have ever seen. Seeing this alone was worth giving up all the creature comforts of home.

Of all the places I had the pleasure of visiting in Cameroon, I think I enjoyed the village of Besali the most. The place is surrounded by beautiful hills, the people are very welcoming and observing the daily village life offers plenty of entertainment. A memorable moment for me was attending a community meeting at Besali and taking part in the discussions between ERuDeF staff and local women. It was interesting to see for myself how difficult it is for parties to agree even small steps towards more sustainable ways of working. I can now really appreciate the hard work of the conservation officers in bringing about those changes. Another highlight was visiting the local school and helping with conservation education to the next generation. I was impressed by the way the lesson was presented to a class of about 100 children. It was fun and I hope the message of conservation will continue to be taught for many more years to come.

All in all I had a fantastic time in Cameroon. I am very grateful for all the staff at ERuDeF for making this experience so enjoyable and above all I would like to thank them for their personal sacrifices and idealism in preserving the natural resources of this beautiful country.

09 December 2013

Trees for the Future Cameroon plants over 1.5 million trees in 2013 Counting

Posted in News, Views 1243

Farmers weeding a tree nursery

US Charity Trees for the Future through its Cameroon program has successfully planted over 1.5 million multipurpose agroforestry species including; Acacia angustissima, Leucaena leucocephala, Calliandra calothyrsus, Moringa oleifera, Neem, Prunus africana, Date palms, Podocarpus sp in four regions of Cameroon including the Southwest, Northwest, Littoral and West regions as of September 2013. Current trends show that by the end of the year, over 2 million trees would have been planted.

This revelation was uncovered in November, following an evaluation trip by the Trees for the Future team in Cameroon of trees transplanted in farmer's fields. Farmers especially the new ones were very motivated in implementing the priority technologies including alley cropping and live fencing. The collective interest of the new and old farmers is one of the main factors that led to over 1.5million trees so far transplanted in the South West, North West, West and Littoral Regions by over 250 Farmer's groups. However, while the old farmers are already benefiting from the trees by mulching the leaves into the soil and getting greater output, the new farmers are anxious to start using the leaves of these plants as natural fertilizer in order to boost their output after the third year.

This is an important step towards developing the local economy of nations especially emerging nations like Cameroon. Improving agricultural practices and increasing food security through increase productivity has always been the top priority of the nation. Over the years, Trees for the Future through their agroforestry activities has been working towards achieving this goal.

The presence of this program has continued to improve on the living standards of the people in communities in the South West, North West, West and Littoral Regions of Cameroon who have confessed of having witnessed an increase in food production since Trees for the Future introduced them to agroforestry.

By Payong Prudence

09 December 2013

Cross River Gorillas spotted in the proposed Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary

Posted in News, Views 1014

Cross River Gorilla

It was on October 26, 2013 at about 11:55 am that a team of Biologists from the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) and a Volunteer from Germany spotted a Cross River Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla diehli) in the proposed Tofala Hill Sanctuary hitting a tree trunk in reaction to the chanting of chimpanzees which were just nearby. This event happened when the team was conducting regular bio-monitoring of great apes and other large mammals in the proposed sanctuary. During this period it was noticed that there has been an increased in the number of gorilla nest encountered as compared to previous months.

118 gorilla signs were recorded with feeding signs as the majority (61.9%). One direct sighting of a gorilla was made which is a rare case in this area. Most of the signs encountered were in altitudes of between 500-800m above sea level. 58.5% of gorilla signs were encountered in very steep slope, 54.2% in closed canopy and 53.8% in open visibility. 84.6% nests constructed were ground nest.

The significant increase in the number of gorilla nests is a sign of success of the conservation effort being put in place by ERuDeF. However there is still a major concern, for example clearing of large forest areas for farmland in the mid-eastern part of the proposed sanctuary. The speedy upgrading of the status of the proposed THWS remain the best and the most prompt decision to save the rich and unique biodiversity of this area.

Through its International Volunteering Program, ERuDeF receives international conservation Volunteers who spend two-eight weeks supporting in raising awareness and biomonitoring of the gorillas. This Program is a collaborative program between the African Conservation Foundation, African Impact and ERuDeF.

By Enokenwa Allen Tabi

09 December 2013

Over 1500 Farmers reap benefits from Trees for the Future Program in Cameroon

Posted in News, Views 1003

Healthy Corn stems harvested from a farm practising agroforestry

Over 1500 farmers belonging to some 250 farm families in the Western Highlands of Cameroon have benefited from the Trees for the Future Cameroon Program in 2013. They have continued to tell stories of how their lives have improved since the Trees for the Future Cameroon Program introduced them to the use of multipurpose trees for soil health improvement. The Farmers were speaking recently during an evaluation trip by the Trees for the Future Cameroon Program in November. Mr. Gemoh Denis, a rice farmer in Ndop, NW region could boast of making his greatest harvest of maize in a farm where he practices the alley cropping technology. He confirmed harvesting over 50kg of maize in a piece of land that was considered barren some years back. Further, he said a cup of some of the maize he harvested produced 0.5kg when threshed. He also affirmed that the maize tasted better than those he planted in the rice field without using the leguminous trees.

Mr Ayong Thomas, another farmer in Kugwe, Momo division, NW region shares a similar story. "When I came in contact with Trees for the Future in 2011, I went back to my community and immediately established a farm following the alley cropping technology. Today I can boast of selling pineapples harvested from my farm for over FCFA 50,000. This is money I used in paying my children's school fees. This year I have expanded my farm and planted 4000 trees and I will continue to plant and encourage others in my community.' Said Thomas.

A great proportion of the Cameroonian population are engaged in agriculture yet their production continues to stagnate and this has resulted to most of them living below the poverty line of US$1 per day. This low production can be attributed to the primitive agricultural practices these farmers engage in. Most farmers in this region still practice slash and burn agriculture and shifting cultivation which are both unsustainable. Lack of finances and limited extension services are equally contributing factors to this drop in production. The coming of the US Charity, Trees for the Future to Cameroon and the introduction of the planting of multipurpose trees for soil health improvement 6 years ago ushered a new impetus in the way farmers carry out their activities. Through the introduction of improved agroforestry and sustainable practices, the lives of thousands of small holder farmers have greatly improved.

In 2013, the program continued to grow not only in numbers and impact. A total of 4500000 seeds of agroforestry species including; Acacia angustissima, Leucaena leucocephala, Calliandra calothyrsus, Moringa oleifera, Neem, Prunus africana, Date palms, Podocarpus sp were sourced and distributed to these farmers. After a series of workshops on seed pre-treatment, nursery construction and management in March and April, over 102 nurseries were established and about 3000000 seeds raised.

 

Neba Kingsley

09 December 2013

Classes for 2013/2014 Academic Year New kick off at the ERuDeF Institute

Posted in News, Views 1251

The newly recruited trainees into different programs at the ERuDeF Institute of Biodiversity and Non-profit Studies (IBiNS) have successfully kicked off classes for the 2013/2014 academic year. An orientation session which held on November 4, 2013 officially flung the doors of the Institute open for the new academic year. Opening the orientation session, the Proprietor of the Institute, Louis Nkembi welcomed and lauded the trainees for having chosen to venture into a field of environmental studies. He assured them that they have made the right decision to contribute to saving nature. In a presentation, the Acting Director of Administration for the Institute, Ms. Seemndze, schooled the incoming trainees on the general code of conduct of the Institute. Among other things, she insisted on academic honesty, personal integrity, punctuality, the appropriate use of the institute's equipment including books, computers and other electronics. For this academic year, the two major and umbrella disciplines being run at the Institute for the academic year include, the Integrated Conservation Management and Non-profit Studies and Fundraising. Trainees will specialize either in Biodiversity Conservation, Agroforestry and NGO Studies and Fundraising.

The highpoint of the day was experience sharing between the incoming trainees and the lecturers. Some lecturers shared their experiences through school and what had motivated them to specialize in certain fields. One of the Lecturers, Ms. Mojoko congratulated the students for making a choice that will leave them with gainful skills that will permit them to be self-employed after school. On their part, the trainees were excited about the fact that though they had been discouraged by friends that they could not get into certain fields or professions due to their subject specializations in High school, the Institute has provided them with an opportunity to fulfill their dreams with their proposed broad based educational system.

One of the trainees Betana explained that he was motivated to come to IBiNS because of the bitter lessons he learnt from a frustrated relative who could not get a job after obtaining a regular university law degree. "That was what pushed me to opt for a specialized course, a course which can earn me employment even if everything else fails" Betana went on. Classes immediately began that same afternoon after the orientation session.

 

Ita Nawom

09 December 2013

IBiNS Trainees reassured job opportunities at ERuDeF upon graduation

Posted in News, Views 1069

Barely few months to the end of the training program for the first batch of the ERuDeF Institute of Biodiversity and Non-profit Studies, IBiNS, ERuDeF President/CEO has reaffirmed his commitment to absorb the first batch of trainees into the organization.

Louis Nkembi was speaking during an evaluation meeting, which took place recently at IBiNS campus bringing together both staff and trainees of the Institute. He said only those who have fully met the training requirement will be absorbed. The President/CEO, who promised to absorb a significant proportion of the trainees during the matriculation ceremony of January 2013, maintained that ERuDeF will absorb all outgoing trainees depending on the availability of resources and their professional commitment to the organisation. This according to him, stemmed from the motivation that IBiNS was created as an institution to train graduates, who will serve the professional needs of ERuDeF as well as other organizations working in environmental and development fields. The trainees on their part lauded the choices of programs offered at IBiNS and expressed gratitude to ERuDeF for supporting them both academically and financially. Speaking during the meeting, the Director of Administration and Human Resource, Ita Nawom, appreciated the spirit of understanding and cooperation that has been going on between the trainees and the staff most especially during challenging moments. Meanwhile the trainees were called upon to submit individual internship proposals to the Program Coordinator for a two-month intensive professional training at any local organization of their choice.

 

Bertrand N. Shancho

09 December 2013

15 More Communities Express Interest in ERuDeF’s Mt Cameroon Threatened Trees Project

Posted in News, Views 1054

Survey being conducted

Some 15 more villages around the Mount Cameroon area have expressed their desire to be part of the ERuDeF project for the conservation of threatened trees within the Mt Cameroon area.

They expressed their intention in November, 2013, during a two week survey on predominant tree species and their uses in some 15 villages around the Mt Cameroon area conducted by the Project Coordinator, Ms Asa'a Lemawah. The aim of the survey was to enhance the conservation status of these threatened trees within the area by establishing nurseries to propagate them.

These 15 villages include:Woteva,Bokwaongo,Etome,Bibunde,Sanje,Kotto1,Kuke Kumbu, Mundongo, Ewondo, Bakingili, Likombe, Mapanja,Bomana,Bova 1 and Bova Bomboko

All 15 communities pledged to collaborate with ERuDeF for the establishment of tree nurseries and the subsequent transplanting of the trees in the buffer zones of the National Park and their farm lands for a better tomorrow.

"It is a privilege to have trees restored into our communities and the buffer zones of the National Park...they were dominant/very useful trees within my village-Mundongo, but due to indiscriminate felling, it is very difficult to find them again in this village except further away from the village (in the forest). We have trees like what we call Masonia, Iroko ,Zingana Mahogany,opepe,Cam wood, prunus, Akom, bush mango and azobe" Chief Menge Samuel of Mundongo village said. The people of these15 communities also identified some trees in their respective areas and some of their local uses.

The Conservation of threatened Trees in the Mt Cameroon area is a project of the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) funded by the UK Charity Fauna & Flora International. The five-year project, which started in August 2011 and is being carried out by ERuDeF in collaboration with the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife entered phase two on September, 2013 with over 10,000 new seedlings envisaged in secured areas in the Mt. Cameroon area. This second phase will run from September 2013 to August 2016.


By Asa'a Lemawah and Adeline Tengem

09 December 2013

ERuDeF Reinforces Capacities of Village Palm Oil Management Committees

Posted in News, Views 1164

Installation of Bechati Palm oil mill

The Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) supported by French Charity Man & Nature has organized a series of workshops with the aim of building the capacities of village based palm oil management committees in the Lebialem Highlands, to ensure sustainable management of the biodiversity of the landscape, while improving on the wellbeing of the population, through sustainable production of quality palm oil. During the workshop, which rounded off on November 4, 2013, emphasis was laid on green production that respects the norms of environmental safety. New local strategies were adopted for improved waste management emanating from the processing of palm oil. The entire population of the four communities hosting palm oil mills including Besali, Bechatti, Essoh-attah and Nkong used this occasion to promise ERuDeF and the conservation world that they would do all it takes to secure a safe haven for the flagship species including the critically endangered Cross River Gorillas, the Nigeria-Cameroon Chimpanzees, living in the adjacent forests. One of the Villagers Mr. Mofor of the Essoh-Attah village said they are ready to collaborate with ERuDeF to make the protection of these animals a reality, not just a dream.

These workshops came on the backdrop to finalize the installation of the fourth oil mill based in Bechati. The population came out massively to put the last big push to the installation process on November 16, 2013. Just to note that this new semi-industrial mill is one of the strategies of ERuDeF and its Partners to ensure a more effective conservation efforts, by supporting alternative livelihoods. In an interview with the Fon of Bechati, he said, the his village will make maximum use of the mill to ensure that it does not deviate from its original mission of improving local livelihoods for the conservation of the rich biodiversity of that part of the Lebialem Highlands.

By Forbe Hodu

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