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05 August 2013

ERuDeF Institute of Biodiversity Hosts Cameroon Chapter of AfroMont

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Mt. Bamboutos, one of the degraded mountains to benefit from the AfroMont Initiative

The Executive Bureau of the African Mountains Research Initiative (AfroMont), Cameroon have held the first meeting in Buea to draw up a plan on how to manage Cameroon's Mountains most of which are under serious degradation. The AfroMont Cameroon resolved to commence their research with three Mountains in Cameroon namely Mt Bamboutos, Mt. Cameroon and Mt Oku. The meeting took place on July 27, 2013 at the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF)'s Institute of Biodiversity and Non-profit Studies in Buea, SW Cameroon.

Speaking during the meeting, the President of Afro Mont Cameroon, Dr. Jean-Emmet Nodem, Sociologist and Lecturer at the University of Dschang, said the choice of these three mountains is because some amount of research has already begun on them. "We are going to examine what has been done and what is going on. This has already begun in the University of Buea where four research activities on the mountains have been conducted" Nodem explained. He equally said that the choice of these mountains is because degradation is rapidly going on and people are already suffering because of this. "Scarcity of water and the destruction of the water table in an important watershed like Bamboutos compel us to do something to make available fresh water sources" He added.

The first AfroMont Conference for West and Central Africa held in January 2013 in Dschang, Cameroon and according to Dr. Nodem, following this summit, it was imperative that the Cameroon chapter takes off.

AfroMont is an initiative of the African Mountain Research Initiative based at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. It works for the management of African mountains. This management is at the level of culture, economy, management of water and soils. Other activities of AfroMont include following up what has been laid down by the mother organization in South Africa especially aspects like good governance of mountains and in the case of Cameroon, Mt Bamboutos and Mt Oku.

Concerning the use of research material already done by students in the Universities, the President said AfroMont will operate differently from Universities. 'First, we will see what has been done, organize seminars to indicate what has been done, what is yet to be done and the recommendations suggested by students will be used and made available to other stakeholders who need to use them"

Talking about the expansion of the Group, Mr. Nodem said "membership is going to obviously going to expand. We cannot have an organization which is limited just to founders, so we are going to open up AfroMont Cameroon to Researchers, to Associations, NGOs and even Students who will be willing to work with us"

The Secretary of the group, Louis Nkembi, President CEO of the Environment and Rural Development Foundation(ERuDeF) noted that many good initiatives have begun but have never moved forward. He hoped that this initiative will leave the discussion table and become a fully implemented field project. He cited money as being one of the major factors that cause projects to collapse, the delay of funding, and mismanagement of funds. He therefore cautioned that for such a project to succeed, people who were ready to stake their all in it must come forth. Other members of the team like M. Tepoule Joseph GIS expert and Lecturer at the University of Buea insisted that excellence should be the watchword for the realization of activities. Equally in attendance were Ms Foutchum Georgette and Ms Seemndze.

Meetings will hold at least four times a year and this will move from Buea through Dschang to Bamenda. Members will have to initially put in their own funds to set the ball rolling. They will then work together to write projects and get funding for research to be conducted on these mountains.

The AfroMont Cameroon Executive includes amongst others Dr. Jean-Emett Nodem ( University of Dschang) President, Dr. Fonge Beatrice (University of Buea), Vice President, Louis Nkembi (ERuDeF) Secretary, Tekam Michel (ADEID), Treasurer and Joseph Tepoule( University of Buea), Editor.

By Ita Nawom