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16 May 2013

Lebialem Senior Divisional Officer supports Tofala Sanctuary creation process

Posted in News, Views 1471

Picture: SDO poses with team after sensitisation meeting

Lebialem Senior Divisional Officer supports Tofala Sanctuary creation process

The Senior Divisional Officer for Lebialem Division alongside some top government officials recently visited some villages in the Wabane Sub-division, Lebialem Division SW Cameroon to educate the people on the need for the creation of the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary. Mr. Kuemo Simon alongside other officials of the Ministry of Forestry, on April 5, 2014, visited three villages including Folepi, Bangang and Bamumbu. These villages form a significant portion of the Proposed Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary.

Speaking during a sensitization meeting in Folepi, Mr. Kuemo Simon explained that carving out a protected area was not a punishment, but a way of preserving a Nation's rich heritage for posterity. He had the indigenes of Folepi understand that, the Cross River Gorilla is critically endangered and if not conserved, might go extinct. He therefore urged the natives to commit themselves fully for the realization of the Wildlife Sanctuary.

This proposed Sanctuary is home to about 40 critically endangered Cross River Gorillas, 150 endangered Nigeria-Cameroon Chimpanzees and a host of other endemic fauna and flora. In a bid to save the last great apes, the Cameroonian conservation organization, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), working with the Cameroon government initiated a legal process in 2010 towards making this site a full protected area. It was in line with this that the Senior Divisional Officer for Lebialem went to three villages to call on the natives to throw support for the project.

The villagers in turn pledged full commitment to support the process but called on ERuDeF and the supporters to provide them with alternative sources of livelihoods to replace farmlands which would constitute part of the Sanctuary.

It would be recalled that, according to the Cameroon 1994 forestry law, community participation in the creation of protected areas and the sustainable management of forestry and wildlife resources for local development is vital. This explains why ERuDeF and its partners went to sensitize natives of these villages, which form a portion of the proposed site, on the importance of conservation of wildlife.

This is the fourth stage of the process of creating a Sanctuary. According to the laws of the land, the creation of protected areas involves six legal steps. These include the production of a technical note, publication of a public notice, sensitization of administrative authorities and local elites, village to village sensitizations, divisional classification and compilation of documents by Regional Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife for onward transmission via Ministry of Forestry headquarter to the Prime Minister Office for final gazzetement of the area. The first three steps were completed in 2012 and 8 out of 11 villages adjacent to the proposed protected area were sensitized.

By Allen Enokenwa Tabi

07 April 2013

ERuDeF Women call for action following the killing of a Cross River Gorilla

Posted in News, Views 1398

Celebrating international women’s day

The 1st of March would forever be remembered as a tragic day for the Cameroonian conservation organization, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation, (ERuDeF). On this day, one of the critically endangered Cross River Gorilla that strayed from the Proposed Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, was killed in neighboring Pinyin in the North West Region of Cameroon. On the 8th of March, a day set aside as women's day, the women of ERuDeF used the event, not just for the march pass but also to send a strong message to government on the urgent need to protect these last great apes. The women carried placards bearing messages such as "Don't kill them, don't eat them, protect them".

In a rather pathetic mood, the wailing women waved a board carrying the picture of the dead Gorilla to the watching crowd at the Grand stand saying enough is enough! This drew widespread attention as other women taking part in the march pass came to find out about the death of this animal. The women used the opportunity to create awareness for women calling on them to be at the forefront of conservation.

The march pass also gave the women a unique opportunity to call on women to plant trees and fight climate change. The women of ERuDeF bore posters with messages such as "one woman one tree, women take the lead in the fight against climate change and the general protection of the environment". Coincidentally, these messages happened to have been on this year's fabric for March 8.

One of the women at ERuDeF, Payong Marquise who works for the restoration of degraded landscapes through tree planting, explains why women should take the lead in reforestation "women are directly involved with the environment. They are the people making use of fuel wood from the forest, they farm and they use water for house chores. Mitigating climate change does not only mean planting trees, but also managing energy and water resources in a way that helps to promote the fight against global warming. They should therefore champion the struggle for environmental protection"

By Regina Fonjia Leke

06 April 2013

Echinops giganteus project makes remarkable progress

Posted in News, Views 2215

Echinops giganteus project makes remarkable progress

Wild plant planted for the first time

The growing of plants from the wild is not uncommon, but in Cameroon, it has not really been the case. Most wild plants grow in the wild and they hardly get planted. However, interestingly enough, the plants Echinops giganteus which grows in the Mount Bamboutos area has for the first time been planted. This was on March 28, 2013, in Magha, a small village in the Lebialem Division which forms part of Mt Bamboutos.

It would be recalled that the objective of the Echinops giganteus project is to promote the plant, locally called "Ayilagwem", and to link the project with the ABS process (Access and Benefit Sharing) of the Nagoya Protocol. The aim is to ensure the conservation of the natural resources and at the same time to secure the livelihoods and economic development of the local population. The project forms part of the Mt Bamboutos Ecological Restoration Program manned by the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) and financially supported by French Conservation organization, Man and Nature.

planting of echinopsThe Echinops giganteus project would also help to sensitize the local population on environmental issues and the need to plant trees in a bid to restore degraded landscapes.The people in Magha showed great enthusiasm towards the project and the planting of Ayilagwem. The results were incredible with 4 000 seeds of Echinops giganteus planted by 10 persons in 1hour.

The next step would be to follow the growth of the seeds through agronomic trials and try to understand how to produce this plant. If the project is a success, the population of Magha would be able to create a sustainable production of the plant and sell the roots,which has fragrance potentials to local and foreign enterprises.

Manuella Hugue

Project Manager

Echinops giganteus ABS program

06 April 2013

Motorbike Riders steal show, parade to raise awareness on the importance of water on World water day

Posted in News, Views 1233

Celebrating World Water Day in Menji

The World Water Day 2013, was celebrated on 22 March under the theme "Water Cooperation, within the framework of the International Year of Water Cooperation 2013". During this Water Cooperation 2013 Campaign, which includes the Year and the Day, efforts around the world at local, national and international levels help to raise awareness on the potential and challenges for water cooperation, facilitate dialogue among actors, and promote innovative solutions for nurturing water cooperation.

This event was celebrated in Menji, the headquarter of Lebialem Division by the Delegation of Environment and Nature Protection in collaboration with Association of Women in Environment and Economic Development, Environment and Rural Development Foundation(ERuDeF) and other civil society groups.

The motor bike riders stole the show when they took to the streets with their motor bikes calling on locals to manage water efficiently. They carried placards carrying messages such as "water is life, lets together fight to protect it"

This parade was followed by the projection of a documentary in the Catholic Church hall on water crises in the North of Cameroon. This documentary demonstrated how some water sources that had high volume of water some years back had gone dry due to climate change. The consequence was that people had to move for long distances before getting water or dig holes for water to ooze out.

The documentary was watched by a cross section of the Menji population and as it went on, explanations and contributions were made to find tune solutions towards ensuring water sustainability.

Participants were cautioned on the need to protect their water sources, given that failure to do so may result to the plight of the people in the North of Cameroon befalling them in Menji.

By Enokenwa Allen Tabi

04 April 2013

The Pinyin Cross River Gorilla saga and the need for more government law enforcement efforts

Posted in News, Views 1574

Regional Chief of Service for Wildlife, Eboule Emmanuel (Right) regretting loss of Gorilla during Press briefing

The Cameroonian conservation non-profit organization, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) has called on the government to re-inforce the human resource capacity in forest adjacent communities which host Gorillas or other endangered species. The President of ERuDeF, Louis Nkembi was speaking in Buea on the 21st of March, 2 013 shortly after a Press briefing which aimed at revealing the sad circumstances leading to the killing of a Cross River Gorilla. It would be recalled here that the Gorilla was on March 1st killed by the people of Pinyin in the Santa Sub Division, NW of Cameroon after straying from the proposed Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary in the Lebialem Highlands.

Louis Nkembi explained that the killing of the Gorilla was bad omen for the conservation world, given that it indicated that the fight against poaching, ignorance and people who do not yet understand the value of wildlife is still very far from being achieved. He went forth to say the Gorilla came from the Proposed Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary hosting about 40 of these Gorillas. "The death of this Gorilla therefore means the population has decreased by one. The loss of just one of the great apes means a lot to the Cross River Gorilla population which numbers just about 300 of them in the wild". Louis Nkembi added.

The presence of this Silver-back was reported by a local teacher who was going to her farm very early in the morning on March 1st 2013 at about 4Km away from the village. It is alleged over 45 cartridges were used as well as several blows with clubs and stones on the Gorilla, leaving the Gorilla in a pool of his own blood.

The death of this Silver-back remains a very big loss not just to ERuDeF, but to the conservation world at large, given that this ape is Africa's rarest and most threatened primate and one of the world's 25 most threatened wildlife species. Only about 300 of them live in the world between the Nigeria-Cameroon border Region.

In 2004, a new sub population of the Cross River Gorillas was discovered by ERuDeF's scientists in the now proposed Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary. Since 2010, the Government of Cameroon through the technical assistance of ERuDeF and its partners has been working to complete the creation of this very important Sanctuary, which is home to about 40 Cross River Gorillas and over 150 Nigeria-Cameroon Chimpanzees and a range of other endangered species of fauna and flora.

Only a very small number of Cross River Gorillas have been sighted in Tofala. The most recent was on the 24th February, 2013 by the Divisional Officer for Wabane Sub Division, Innoncent Moni in Besali forest on his way to Menji. The presence of this killed Gorilla about 33km away from Tofala is a good proof to explain the fact that the Tofala Gorillas are not isolated and still maintain a genetic gene flow with the other Gorilla sub populations in the Takamanda forest area, as few Gorilla sightings have been recorded between Tofala and Takamanda forests.

The killing of this Silver-back in Pinyin provides a more glaring proof about the plight o f this elusive wildlife species, that there is no hope for them out of formal protected areas. The migration of this killed silver back is also a testimony of the intense human pressure that the Gorillas in the Tofala forests are facing. This pressure includes very high forest conversion to farms and poaching.

Louis Nkembi therefore used the Press briefing to call on the government to increase the amount of support given to anti poaching units in areas hosting these rare species. This he explains as most of such areas are enclaved and have limited government presence. He therefore urged the Ministry of Forestry and wildlife to deploy more officials to these areas to reduce poaching and other activities that might lead to the loss of the habitat.

By Regina Fonjia Leke

04 April 2013

African Conservation Foundation strengthens ties with ERuDeF

Posted in News, Views 1427

Develops tourism potentials for conservation and sustainable development

Arend De Haas adressing cultural groups on intergrating culture and conservation

The African Conservation Foundation has consolidated the professional relationship with the Cameroon conservation organization, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation and established plans with the organization towards making Cameroon a tourist destination. The Executive Director of ACF, Arend De Haas was in Cameroon to improve on the International Volunteering Program which recruits volunteers worldwide to partake in the Cross River Gorilla expedition in the Lebialem Highlands. The team spent time in Bechati participating in the Wildlife Advocacy week which brought hundreds of students and pupils together declaring to be next generation conservation watchdogs. Time was also spent with ERuDeF's biomonitoring team in the Proposed Tofala Wildlife Hill sanctuary on a Cross River Gorilla expedition. During this time, an ecotourism scoping study was conducted as well.

Speaking shortly before his departure, Mr. Arend expressed satisfaction for the work in conservation ERuDeF is doing. ACF will continue to work in close collaboration with ERuDeF towards developing tourism potentials. To this effect, he championed the organization of a cultural dance in Buea, which aimed at integrating conservation and culture.

The African Conservation Foundation it would be recalled is a UK registered charity working towards the protection and conservation of Africa's endangered wildlife and their habitats. Founded in 1999, ACF fills a unique niche by creating an Africa-wide network for information exchange and capacity building of conservation efforts in the region. ACF helps links African conservation initiatives groups and NGOs with the aim of strengthening their capacities, building partnerships and promoting effective communication and co-ordination of conservation efforts.

By Mahah Vladimire

04 April 2013

Giant palm oil factory inaugurated in the Mak/Betchou forest area

Posted in News, Views 1331

Giant palm oil factory inaugurated in the Mak/Betchou forest area
A palm oil producing factory with the capacity of producing up to two tons of palm oil a day has been installed in Essoh Attah village. The palm oil mill was installed on March 1 by the Environment and Rural Development Foundation,(ERuDeF) in a ceremony that brought together traditional authorities and communities around the proposed Mak/Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary, and the staff of ERuDeF. Speaking during this ceremony, an Abebue Village notable, Mr. Daniel Morfow, representing the traditional ruler of Abebue, His Royal Highness Chief Fobesong, thanked ERuDeF and her partner organizations for choosing his community out of many other communities to install the oil mill. He wished they could be given trucks to aid in the transportation of palm nuts to the factory and palm oil to the market pledging to support ERuDeF in conserving threatened wildlife species and protecting the forest (the Mak/Betchou forest). On his part, the traditional ruler of Essoh Attah village, HRM, Fon Foreke, overwhelmed with joy, implored the people to extend palm plantations and limit their rate of invading the forest. “This oil mill has come to help us produce palm oil in large scale, sell, send our children to school and improve our standard of living. So we must take advantage of this, collaborate with ERuDeF and divert our attention from hunting wildlife to concentrating our palms” he reiterated. The traditional ruler further expressed his gratitude to ERuDeF and partners for “thinking about the people of this forest area” pleading that subsidiary industries be created to convert the end products of the oil mill to other marketable products like soap and kernel oil. Being the first of its kind in this forest area, village palm oil producers could not help but thank ERuDeF and its partners especially given the laborious, energy and time consuming nature of the traditional method of palm oil they used before now . “We want to say a big thank you to ERuDeF for this Palm oil mill. Our lifestyles can never be the same. We would no longer waste time in boiling, pounding, and washing palm nuts to produce oil again. ” Nketa Pauline, a village Palm oil producer testified (in Pidgin English). Another village palm oil producer, Pa Nkemdong Boniface, while praising ERuDeF for this novelty, recalled the inconveniences of the old traditional system of palm oil production. “The traditional system used to cause us chest and waste pain because it was very stressful and cumbersome. I am sure that with this new system, our health system will be improved upon….in fact chest and waste pains will be issues of the past” he added. The traditional ruler of Alasoeh Village, His Royal Highness Chief Fualasoeh, on his part, expressed his desire for ERuDeF to also establish a branch of their micro-finance institution, the Biodiversity Community Trust, in Mak/betchou. He said given that the oil mill will increase income, the micro finance institution is necessary for saving. Reacting to these, the CEO of ERuDeF, Louis Nkembi appreciated the people for their collaboration this far adding that the oil mill has come to support the project for the conservation of great apes in the Mak/Betchou forest areas like Chimpanzees and gorillas. Louis Nkembi told the local population that the palm oil factory has come to assist in reducing the pressure they exert on the habitat of wildlife, and to generate more jobs to people who live and depend on forest resources. He equally advised the people of this forest area to sustainably manage the mill. “This project is not for personal ends but to support communities and the conservation of natural resources in the area so that the income coming from the mill will generate more projects for people from this area.” Mr. Louis reminded. According to the ERuDeF Project Coordinator, Mr. Forbe Hudo, the project which stands at the tune of 12 million francs can bring about up to 60 percent increase in palm oil production if used cautiously. The installation of this oil mill it would be noted brings the total of oil mills to four including the one in Bechati pending installation within the Lebialem Highlands conservation complex. By Betrand N. Shancho

04 April 2013

Water is life and key to sustainable development, use it diligently-stakeholders cautioned!

Posted in News, Views 1273

Celebrating World water day

Maha presentation"Water holds the key to sustainable development. We need it for health, food security and economic progress. Yet, each year brings new pressures. One in three people already live in a country with moderate to high water stress, and by 2030 nearly half the global population could be facing water scarcity, with demand exceeding supply by 40 per cent". So reads the message of the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon on the 2013 edition of world water day on the 22nd of March, 2013.

Celebrated under the theme Water Cooperation, the World Water Day 2013 was dedicated to highlight the joint efforts necessary to ensuring a fair share for people and planet.

Amidst serious water pressure in the country, World Water Day was celebrated in Cameroon with a call for a collaborative action towards ensuring the availability of potable water for every Cameroonian.

In the South West Region, governmental and non-governmental organizations involved in the water sector took part in a round table discussion, to commemorate the day, at the Regional Delegation for water and energy resources in Limbe.

Chairing the ceremony, the Southwest Regional Delegate for Water and Energy Resources, Celestine Anyam stressed that water is a common resource and urged everyone to use it more diligently and waste less so all get a fair share. He equally called on stakeholders to work with water management committees to be able to empower local people manage their water themselves to ensure sustainability. Mr. Anyam urged local people to plant water friendly trees along water catchments to curb water crisis.

The event saw its highpoint when a representative from the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), Ms Mahah Vladimire presented a paper on some of the possible long run effects of the absence of water. The presentation took the form of a letter in which a man takes himself to five decades ahead where life seemed impossible due to lack of water. "I experience major kidney problems, because I drink very little water. I think that I don't have much more time to live. Today, I am 57 and the oldest person living in this society. When I was born,there were lots of trees in the parks, houses had beautiful gardens, and I could enjoy long baths and stay in the shower for one whole hour. Today, rivers, dams, lagoons, and under-ground water are all either irremediably polluted or completely dried up. There are no more seasons. Climatic changes such as the greenhouse effect and the polluting activities we indulged in during the twentieth century took care of that. Here, though, there are no more trees because it hardly ever rains. And whenever it does rain, it is acid rain that comes down. We were warned about the need to take care of our environment, but nobody bothered"

After listening to this presentation, satakeholders attending the round table discussion were so touched and pledged to put all hands on deck to to fight water crisis in Cameroon.

water catchment helping to curb water crisis in Mile 4 LimbeThis was quickly followed by a visit to one of the water catchments in Mile 4, a small community in Limbe. Here, some locals expressed how beneficial the catchment has been to them for domestic use. "We have less problem now thanks to this catchment. I now have water to cook and wash clothes" Sarah Lisoka explained.


By Regina Fonjia Leke


04 April 2013

ERuDeF names five new directors

Posted in News, Views 1426

The President/CEO of the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), Louis Nkembi has officially announced the appointment of new directors to manage the affairs of the programs at ERuDeF starting from April 2013. Mr. Louis made the announcement over the week-end


MS Seemndze ItaMs. Seemndze Ita, was appointed as the pioneer Director of Administration and Human Resources. Ita Nawom holds a B.Sc in Management and an M.Sc in Translation. She worked for a pharmaceutical firm as a Management Relations Officer, the Editor of the Catholic Newsletter and later joined ERuDeF as the Communication Assistant.



Ms Ursula NkengMs Ursula Nkeng was appointed as the pioneer Interim Director of Finance and Budgets. She holds a B.Sc in Banking and Finance from the University of Buea. She worked for a Microfinance Institution as the Head of the Finance Operations before joining ERuDeF in 2008 as Assistant Accountant. She has since then worked her way to the new position.



Mr.Hodu Forbe



Mr. Forbe Hodu, was named as the Pioneer Director for Economic Operations and perspectives. He holds an M.Sc in Economics from the University of Buea. Before joining ERuDeF, he lectured in the University of Buea. In 2012, he was appointed as the Program Manager for livelihoods and Economic Development at ERuDeF.



Ms Asa LemawahMs Asa'a Lemawah, was appointed as the Interim Program Officer, taking over from Barry Atem admitted for further studies. Ms Asa'a holds a B.Sc in Forestry and Agriculture from the University of Benin, Nigeria in 2004. From 2004 to 2008, she volunteered for a NW based NGO, SIRDEP as an Environmental Officer. From 2008 to 2010, she was the Head of the Human Resource Management Unit in the same NGO. She joined ERuDeF as the Project coordinator for the Mt Cameroon Endangered Trees Conservation Project.



Dr. Okolle Justin was appointed as the pioneer Interim Director of ERuDeF's Institute of Biodiversity and Non-Profit Studies (IBiNS). He holds a PhD from the University of Malaysia in Plants Science in 2010. Before joining ERuDeF, he served as a researcher with Cameroon's Institute for Agricultural Research for Development (IRAD), Ekona. Dr. Ekolle is also a part time lecturer in the University of Buea, faculty of Agriculture and Vertinary Sciences.

04 April 2013

ERuDeF staff pledge support to Boss in conservation strive

Posted in News, Views 1504

ERuDeF staff pledge support to Boss in conservation strive

"In your strive to be at the forefront of conserving Cameroon's rich biodiversity, we the staff of ERuDeF, promise to stand behind you and give you all the support you need". These were the words of the staff of the Environment and Rural Development Foundation as they offered 2013 New Year wishes to the President/CEO of ERuDeF, Louis Nkembi.

Presenting a gift which carried the faces of all the staff with a thank you message, the Social Coordinator of the Organization, Ms Payong Marquise on behalf of the entire staff said " we want to thank you for being not just a Boss, but a father and a friend. We acknowledge your struggle in conserving wildlife and protecting fragile environments. On this very special day when we bid farewell to 2012, we want to promise that in 2013 we would work more closely in ensuring that our goals of conservation are achieved"

The President on his part could not hide his joy in his word "I feel very happy today. I would like to thank you all for acknowledging the efforts in ensuring we protect our rich yet fragile environment. At this moment, I call on everyone to put hands on deck to keep the flag of ERuDeF flying"

The event was also an opportunity for a volunteer from the UK, Daniels John who had spent one month on a Cross River Gorilla expedition, to express himself. Mr. Daniels said he was very happy being in Cameroon. "My coming to Cameroon was a surprise birthday package from my family. The one-month expedition I had in the forest was one of my best experiences". Mr. Daniel congratulated ERuDeF's President for a good job and urged him to continue in that light.

The ceremony was also an opportunity for the CEO to hand meritorious award to some of the outstanding staff of the organization for 2012. Ms Asa'a Lemawah, a forester working on the ERuDeF's project of Mt Cameroon threatened trees was handed a prize of FCFA 100.000($200) for being the overall best staff for 2012. Ms Asa'a Lemawah thanked the staff for having voted her during the end of year meeting and pledged that she would not rest on her laurels, rather, the award spurs her to work harder. The second laureate was the Chief Accountant Ursula Nkeng, whom the staff voted for her meticulousness in accounting operations. Ms Nkeng was given the sum of FCFA 75.000 ($150). The head of ERuDeF's forest and climate change unit, Neba Kingsley grabbed the third position, going home with FCFA 25.000 ($50).

It would be recalled that the offering of New Year wishes is a tradition in the organization that started two years ago. It is a time of saying "thank you" to the president and equally acknowledging the contribution of the staff and strategizing actions for the next year to obtain the best results.

The day ended with drinking and merry making as staff said "good-bye" to 2012 and wished the very best for 2013.

By Regina F. Leke

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