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Cameroon: African Wildlife Foundation promotes sustainable livelihoods in Faro

With the introduction of projects such as beekeeping, tree planting and water conservation unit, the organization aims at bringing more…

With the introduction of projects such as beekeeping, tree planting and water conservation unit, the organization aims at bringing more life in the community.

 

Every day, communities living in arid and semi-arid areas all over the world wake up to the same set of challenges: how to eke out a living from their harsh environments and how to improve conditions for better access to water. The people in Tchamba in Northern Cameroon, domiciled in the periphery of the Faro National Park, are no different

The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) has been a key factor in the conservation and sustainable development of Faro. The organization has been working hard to ensure that wildlife and wild lands thrive in the landscape, while also improving livelihoods for the community.

With the funds received from the European Union (EU), through the Central Africa Regional Committee program known as the programme pour la preservation des Ecosystemes Fragiles d’Afrique Central, (ECOFAC 6), AWF has been able to carry out a number of activities in Faro which has gone a long way to improve the management of the park and introduced sustainable livelihoods which have improved the living conditions of the local inhabitants.

The first project is beekeeping which was introduced in February 2019. With AWF support, farmers choose a suitable site and install beehives. They harvest honey every three months. 12 families are benefitting from it so far.

Bee farmers in Faro(c) copyright

The income gained from bee farming is invested in other activities and businesses given that the production cycle is quite short. With earnings from beekeeping, I am able to pay school fees for my children. We thank AWF for introducing the activity,” says Moussa Abdoulaye, a prominent beekeeper in Tchamba, He also indicates that the activity is not only beneficial to the bee keepers but to the community at large. Instead of traveling for very long distances to buy honey as was the case before, the the local community just needs to reach out to them and purchase their honey. Moussa therefore encourages his peers to join him in the lucrative trade.

Another project which AWF has successfully implemented in Faro is that of afforestation at Government High School Tchamba. The tree planting project was launched in 2020 in the presence of the Senior Divisional Officer (S.D.O) and other government dignitaries. According to the school Principal Mr Kenmoe Claude, the tree planting is accompanied by awareness building about the importance of trees in creating a healthy environment.

“For some time now, our institution has been included in the preservation of environment, biodiversity and animals. We took time to explain the importance of trees to the students, we made them understand that he who uses a cutlass on a tree is not different from the person who uses a cutlass on a human. We have told them that planting trees will help them and the future generation,” He said.

The tree planting activity is carried out in collaboration with both teachers and students. The students do the planting while the teachers do the supervision and follow-up. Various species of trees are being planted around the school campus. In order to reinforce this action, AWF has offered financial assistance to the school administration which is used to reward the students who take good care of their trees. The principal adds that this has pushed some of the student to go an extra mile.

We give awards to the students with the best trees and this has gone a long way to make them pay more attention on the activity. Some of them even come over during holidays to water their trees,” says Mr Claude.

Nazeumkena Pascaline is one such dedicated student. She is in lower sixth form and has been nurturing her tree for the past 6 months “I first dig a whole, put some tree leaves, add soil and then plant my tree. I water the tree constantly. I have been doing this for the past six months. Since we are in the desert zone, there’s a need to plant trees so that the environment can be fresh,” she says

Principal GHS Tchamba, Faro and lower sixth student at evaluation of ECOFAC 6 activities by AWF involving tree planting (c) copyright

Since Faro is an arid landscape, cattle herders are often faced with the problem of water shortages. This increases the rate of transhumance, pushing most of them to invade the protected area. Through the ECOFAC 6 program, AWF has created a water conservation unit in Tchamba where cows and other animals can quench their thirst. The site has been serving the community for over the past 2 years.

Water conservation unit (c) copyright

Dr Youkouda Koeranga, Lamido (paramount ruler) of Tchamba is full of praise for the work that AWF has done on the landscape.

AWF has raised our awareness on certain issues concerning conservation that we didn’t know before. This has really motivated us over the years and we have been collaborating to make sure everything goes well. Together, we are tackling the challenge of transhumance, water shortages and drought and desertification facing the community,” he said. He adds that he has attended several seminars with AWF, including one in Ndjamena, Chad, which took place in 2019, where he was invited to talk about the implementation and effectiveness of AWF’s actions on the ground.

For Dr Koeranga, the introduction of new activities around the park such as tree planting, bee farming and water conservation has greatly diversified the livelihoods of his community, brought about development above all generated much-needed income to the beneficiaries.

Adamou Aboubakar, AWF’s community development officer and project manager for Faro says that the organisation helps communities to identify socioeconomic problems and present them at the stakeholders’ forums. It is from here that solutions are collaboratively designed and adopted.

“With support from the EU, we are working together with the community and Cameroon government to find solutions to the most pressing issues brought about by climate change and biodiversity loss in the landscape.  We train beneficiaries, carry out awareness campaigns and offer financial support to run climate resilience activities,” he said.

 

 

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