CAEPA Cameroon was founded in 2009 by a group of women seeking to improve their agricultural production systems by making them environment friendly and sustainable. They realized a link between natural resource rights, and climate and environmental justice. They also realised a connection between land degradation, poverty and violence against women and HIV/AIDS. They included fighting against violence in the programmes. Activities have expanded to address issues of natural resource rights, climate
and environmental justice, and their connection
to land degradation, poverty and violence against
women/girls and HIV/AIDS.
CAEPA — eight years in the making
Working with local communities, CAEPA has successfully protected local water catchments in Balikumbat, Bali Gashu and Bali Gansin. This involved planting flood-resistant trees and prohibiting livestock grazing in the area to ensure good ground cover and water-retention. Surface water pollutants were reduced (insecticides, fungicides and animal waste run-off), improving water quality, and resulting in the reduction of reported cases of water-borne illnesses1. CAEPA also worked with peer educators and local radio stations to share information among mobile populations (Mbororo and pastoralist communities) about HIV/AIDS and voluntary counselling and testing (VCT).
201 (80 women, 40 girls, 61 men and 20 boys) participated in VCT
from Nov. 25 – Dec. 1, 2012
Information sessions engaged participants in discussions on sexual and reproductive health and gender equity.
CAEPA Cameroon liaised with 58 farmers, pastoralists, hunters and students – to engage them in efforts to prevent the exploitation of the Tubah Upland Forest – home to endangered chimpanzee populations. CAEPA raised awareness and mobilized the community in a re-forestation project which saw 5000 native trees planted, to bridge a forest corridor between Fitsen and Kubu.
CAEPA conducted training workshops on tree identification, reforestation techniques and established a permanent tree nursery, which successfully germinated 6000 native trees from
5 different species. Community nurseries were also created in Balikumbat, Bali Gashu and Bamumkumbit.
In addition to this, CAEPA Cameroon with the support of the Minority Rights Group International worked to enhance the participation of minorities, particularly women in decision making platforms where they lobbied and advocated for the implementation of the 30% quota for women in local, regional and national governance structures (councils and parliament). CAEPA is well positioned
to work with not only community participants, but to also work effectively with all levels of government.
CAEPA conducted information sessions on agroforestry for smallholder
farmers, and integrated trees, including fruit trees into farming systems
to mitigating climate change, and improve soil quality.
6502 trees of 4 species have been planted covering
40 hectares of degraded land
Environmental clubs were organized at 12 schools; planting 1000 new trees; and 10 tree nurseries/villages were established in Balikumbat.
20 women-oriented farming groups received improved farming
equipment, which resulted in the increased production of maize
from a previous 1.5 to 2.5 tonnes per hectare
Through the Women’s Sustainable Development Fund, CAEPA engaged up to 1044 women and 650 girls in agro-forestry learning and practice; trained 80 women on using improved clay stoves; and engaged them in micro-credit schemes to support women with small businesses. This work resulted in greater livelihood security and market diversification. Working with pastoralist communities in Balikumbat, CAEPA mapped out transhumance routes and zones and carried out restitution with communities, resulting in reduced farmer-grazer conflict.
40 women living with HIV were trained on market gardening. Participants acquired knowledge on compost production, and establishing and maintaining a garden with a focus on pest management. One central nursery was created with a variety of vegetables (celery, parsley, cabbages, leeks, kotmanjo and tomatoes).Seeds were distributed and the women were assisted in creating their home gardens.
Women are now harvesting enough vegetables to feed their household
and some for sale
With the income generated, they are contributing to their children’s education, and investing their earned income in other ways. 40 women farming group leaders were trained on modern bee keeping techniques.
5 Apiaries with 10 hives each, were created in Balikumbat, Bafanji, Baligashu, Bamumkumbit and Baligansin
These were monitored and managed by the women trainees. Reports show that about 60% of hives have been colonised. 150 litres of honey at the end of the project. Money from the sale of the honey was lent out to other group members and also used to engage in other income generation activities.
39 women common initiative group leaders were trained for 2 days
on group dynamics, book keeping and financial management
The women groups are now effective since they have democratically elected leaders; the leaders accountable to the groups. They have a very active secretariat that keeps records of all group transactions. The Balikumbat Mixed Farmers Cooperative started a scholarship scheme for single mothers and school dropout girls who want to continue their education or learn a trade.
Presently, 10 young girls, 3 single mothers, and 4 school dropouts have
been sent back to school. 3 pregnant young girls have been sent to learn
tailoring and interior design
CAEPA Cameroon carried out a survey and awareness raising activities
focusing on early and forced marriages in the North West region. Following
the survey, a pilot program was put in place to give assistance to survivors
seeking redress on rights violations. This contributed to promoting the rule
of law, ensuring the respect of social justice, equal opportunities, and
enhancing the citizenship of women and girls of the Bali Chamba communities of North West Region.
1 In 2011 there were approximately 50 people admitted for water-borne diseases at the Balikumbat District Hospital. However, by the end of 2012 this reduced to only 21 people:15 admitted for diarrhoea; 10 suffering from dysentery; and 6 from Typhoid.