Inhabitants in areas where some community forests were selected for the first phase of the Dryad Project in Southwest Cameroon now believe they can exploit the full potentials of their community forests through sustainable management and exploitation of forest resources for the benefit of the community.
This was concluded during a sensitization campaign carried out recently on the Dryad Project by Implementing Organization, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF).
The sensitization exercise took place in Akwen-Aborkem and Tinto in Manyu , Mbacof, Nlorma and Repa in Kupe- Manenguba and the Christain Philantropic Farms and Mission in Ndain; all Community Forests in the South West Region.
During this campaign, community members disclosed that they have over the years, lost interest in the community forest venture. This was because, while many could not exploit the full potentials of their community forests due to lack of finances and technical know-how, others were duped by some investors in relation with covetous elites.
This lost interest has however been rejuvenated with the coming of the Dryad project.
“The Dryad Project is an eye opener for us! We have concentrated our efforts on the exploitation of timber, neglecting other non –timber forest products (NTFPs). This project has now made us to understand NTFPs are equally very valuable,” said Chief Forbi Samuel of Ekenke in Kupe- Manenguba.
Meanwhile, communities are praying to God so they can be beneficiaries of the Dryad project.
“I see Dryad as a project that will help in the sustainable exploitation and management of our community forest which is still virgin and rich. In fact, we will henceforth go down on our knees and pray God locate Akwen and Aborkem Community Forest to benefit from such an opportunity” said Mr Cletus Eno, the Forest Management Officer for the Akwen community forest. The Akwen Community Forest boss said such an approach is what they have anticipated since the creation of the forest in 2004.
In response, the Dryad Project Focal Person for ERuDeF, Sheron Endah, said the selection will depend on the viability of enterprises selected by the community.
Dryad is a system created to provide training, technical assistance and financial support, to sustainable Community Forestry Enterprises through a network of locally-based Implementing Organizations.
By Sheron Endah