Tag Archives: ERuDeF

ERuDeF Receives Best Environmental NGO Award

The Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) has been crowned best environmental NGO for 2017. The leading conservation NGO received the award, Saturday February 17 2018, during the Guardian Post’s Annual Award. It took place at the Musango Beach Resort-Limbe.

To the organisers, ERuDeF was awarded for championing environmental protection advocacy in and beyond Cameroon. The NGO has carved its niche in biodiversity conservation, with facilitating the creation of a protected area, and many advocacy campaigns that have reshaped the conservation discuss in Cameroon.

Shancho Ndimuh

According to The Guardian Post’s Publisher, Christian Ngah Mbipgo, the award is a token of encouragement to those, who have excelled in their respective fields of life thereby contributing to nation building and peace crusading.

Corroborating Mr. Ngah, the Chairman of the Award Committee Peterkins Manyong, said the choice of the laureates was not by luck or favour.

“They were voted by Cameroonians who identified the great work they have been doing. Such award is therefore an encouragement for others to work much harder. It is to inspire others by recognizing those who have done great work and have been recognised by their communities,” he clarified.

Though unexpected, the award was received with lots of joy by the President and the Chief Executive Officer of ERuDeF.

“It was a great surprise to me when a journalist from The Guardian Post Newspaper came to my office and informed me that ERuDeF has been nominated for this award. It’s really exciting to know that someone somewhere is seeing the great work we are doing in conserving biodiversity and protecting fragile environments in Cameroon. I am indeed grateful to The Guardian Post and to God for this award,” he added.

Mr. Nkembi, expressed profound gratitude to his staff and partners, for the great work and support that has earn the organisation such an award. He said the award is also coming as an encouragement to the organisation to continue to improve quality of lives by putting smiles on peoples’ faces through the implementation of integrated conservation and development programmes focused on species conservation.

ERuDeF is Cameroon’s leading conservation non-profit organisation created in 1999, with the mission of conserving  and protecting fragile environments through research, education and community engagement.

Some 19 years down the lane, ERuDeF prides itself as the first ever national NGO to have facilitated the creation of a protected area in Cameroon, the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, with others underway.

The organisation is also credited, among others, for facilitating the launching of Cameroon’s pilot Access (ABS) and Benefit Sharing Initiative, which culminated in the signing of the first-ever Mutual Agreement Terms (MAT) in the Central African sub-region.

Tofala-Mone East Corridor Creation; Gov’t Creates Community Forest in Upper Bayang

The Government of Cameroon through her technical Ministry, the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife (MINFOF), has created a community forest in   the Upper Bayang Sub-division-Manyu Division, Southwest Cameroon, dubbed the BANCK Community Forest. A convention officially creating his Community Forest, was signed last January 3, 2018 by the Minister of Forestry and Wildlife, Ngole Philip Ngwese.

Shancho Ndimuh

This provisional agreement officially gives legal protection to some 4874 hectares within the Bakumba, Ayukaba, Numba, Chinda, and Kendem villages of the Upper Bayang Subdivision.

The two-year convention equally allows these communities to exploit the forest under the strict supervision of MINFOF officials while a simple management plan is being developed. The signing of this document also permits the concerned communities to start executing the management operations outlined in the convention to raise funds, prepare and submit a simple management plan for the final convention.

This move, according to the President/CEO of ERuDeF, Louis Nkembi, is a great stride in the organisation’s drive towards ensuring the long term conservation of the biodiversity of this unique tropical rainforest through a community and municipal collaborative management approach. He disclosed that the creation of the BANCK community forest is just the first step in his strive to genetically connect some close to 200 Cross River Gorillas sub population and a few thousands of Nigeria Cameroon Chimpanzees, a hundred African Elephants, unkown population of Drills and Buffaloes amongst others within the landscape between the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary and Takamanda National Park in the South West Region, to the wider Kagwene Gorilla Sanctuary in the North West Region through community forestry.

The realisation of such a long term project according to the ERuDeF President/CEO, will be a milestone in ecotourism development in Cameroon. This to him, will go a long way to induce the socio-economic development of the area and new community forestry businesses will also be developed.

Steps Leading to BANCK CF Creation

Prior to the signing of the convention, an application for the creation of the Community Forest was deposited at the Divisional Delegation of MINFOF by the local community, requesting the allocation of 4874 hectares for a community forest. The documents were evaluated and transmitted to the Regional Delegation, who forwarded it to the Ministry. At this level, coordinates for the proposed community forest, endorsed by the National Institute of Cartography, were inserted into the official information system of the Ministry. This was to ensure that the portion of forest requested by the community does not overlap with other titles already issued by the Ministry.

Haven successfully gone through this stage, the Unit in Charge of Community Forestry at MINFOF prepared the Convention and transmitted to the local community, which was signed by a legal entity (President of the CIG) confirming that the coordinates were in line with what they asked for. After the signing, the convention was then dispatched to the Minister for final signature.

The initiation of the community forest creation process, according to ERuDeF’s Director of Forestry, Deh Nji, was a culmination of information and awareness meeting; participatory mapping; putting in place of a management committee in the form of Common Initiative Group (CIG); and the organisation of consultation meetings. “It’s only after these activities with the communities that they proceeded to compiling and submitting the application files for a community forest to MINFOF,” he added. The ERuDeF Forestry Director how ever noted that the organisation is equally facilitating the creation of 3 other community forests in line with the Tofala-Mone East Corridor Rainforest Community Conservation Project.

What Next?

After the signing of this two year provisional management agreement, the Coordinator Tofala-Mone East Corridor Rainforest Community Conservation Project, Floribert Assongacap Assongna, said the next step will be to conduct multi-resource inventory of the area. After such an inventory, according to him, a simple management plan will be prepared and submitted to MINFOF for the final management agreement (convention). He hinted that the implementation of the simple management plan will only come after validation and approval of the final agreement by MINFOF.

Meanwhile efforts are underway to create three other community forests and update of the management plan of the FMU11002. The realisation of this will result in the protection of over 45,000ha of pristine forest between the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary and the Mone Forest Reserve. This will contribute towards the long term protection of the over 630,000 ha in the Lebialem Highlands Conservation Complex.

Impact Created so Far

Two years after the launching of the Tofala-Mone East Corridor Rainforest Community Conservation Project, communities are able to take independent action in the management of their community forest. This is thanks to sensitisation and training on resource mapping using various modern technologies by ERuDeF.

Also, 4874 hectares of forested land hitherto being sold for cash crop production have been rescued for conservation. Wildlife habitat has equally been secured and will lead to increase inbreeding and species population in the long run, especially when the corridor creation process will be completed.

Meanwhile there has been a great improvement in land use planning in the form of agricultural development, forest resources management and the prevention of landslides caused by deforestation. The project has also strengthened communities in their campaigns and lobbying against palm oil plantations. In addition, the project has positive effects in stimulating community cohesion because it gathers people to share information and concerns and come up with new solutions that benefit all members of the community.

The creation of the BANCK Community Forest has been successful thanks to support from international partners like the New England Biolabs Foundation, and the African Conservation Foundation, and general supervision from the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife.

Cameroon Agroforestry Farmers’ Network Created

Some 15 Agroforestry Farmers’ Networks Coordinators from across four regions of Cameroon, have come together under one umbrella, to create a National Network. They unanimously agreed on creating the network, during the just ended annual review and planning meeting for Agroforestry Coordinators held in Buea, February 9 2018.

 Melvis Takang Ma-Ebai

They approved to call the network, the Cameroon Agroforestry Farmers Network (CAFaN).

They welcomed the initiative of transforming their networks into business oriented institutions, indicating that it will bring about innovations that will augment their growth.

“I am very happy with ERuDeF for this brilliant initiative of taking us from networks to a cooperative and also showing us the necessary steps to successfully attain this goal. It is a kind of growth which all farmers need at this time. I believe as a network, we will be able to empower each other and make a better and brighter future as farmers,” said Pa Kum Nicolas, Agroforestry Farmers’ Network Coordinator from Menchum Division, Northwest Region.

Following elections conducted, Makia Henry (Agroforestry Farmers’ Network Coordinator from Meme Division, Southwest Region) emerged as President, Jean Bosco (Agroforestry Farmers’ Network Coordinator from Bamboutos Division, West Region) as Vice President, Divine Ghakanyuy (Agroforestry Farmers’ Network Coordinator from Bui Division, Northwest Region) as Secretary, Youmsi Justine (Agroforestry Farmers’ Network Coordinator from Moungo Division, Littoral Region)  as Financial Secretary, Gehmu Denise (Agroforestry Farmers’ Network Coordinator from Ngoketunjia Division, Northwest Region) as Treasurer, and Ayuk Rudolph (Agroforestry Farmers’ Network Coordinator from Fako Division, Southwest Division) as Publicity Secretary. Payong Prudence voted as an Adviser. Meanwhile, Louis Nkembi will serve as a Technical Partner, through ERuDeF.

According to the President-elect, building a solid foundation through collaboration from all and sundry, will be his first targets.

“I will first of all want to thank my fellow farmers sitting here for trusting me to handle such a huge task. And I want to say I will not fail them. Being President of the Cameroon Agroforestry Farmers’ Network (CAFaN) is indeed a challenging task but I am confident that with collaboration from my team and all the cooperatives which will be formed at the divisional levels, in years to come, this national network will be a reference to many farmers,” President Makia Henry said.

On his part, the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), Louis Nkembi, advised the farmers to be steadfast and assiduous to building a remarkable national network. He pledged the support of ERuDeF in playing the technical role, in giving CAFaN a formidable foundation.

According to Louis Nkembi, it is aimed at bringing all farmers on board the much anticipated opportunity for growth which has now come knocking with great signs of better and improved living standards for all farmers.

All CAFaN members were further charged with the responsibility of reorganising the networks at the Divisional levels.

It was also disclosed that Farmers within the CAFaN, will be opportune to operate as an independent business entity through the creation of their Union of Agroforestry Famers Cooperative of Cameroon.

CAFaN also aims at bringing all famers on board he much anticipated opportunity for growth which has now come knocking, with great signs of better and improved living standards for all farmers through their involvement in fair and bio-trade.

Their plan of action for the first year is legalising CAFaN, reorganising Divisional networks, coordinating divisional members to create their respective cooperatives, and increasing the visibility of CAFaN at national and international levels.

Cooperative agreements will be sough with the government of Cameroon through technical departments like the Ministry of the Environment, Protection of Nature and Sustainable Developments (MINEPDED), Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Developments (MINADER), and the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife (MINFOF).

At the International levels, CAFaN will strengthen ties with the International Trees Foundation (ITF), World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), the Ecosystem Based Adaptation for Food Security Assembly (EBAFOSA), amongst others.

The President of CAFaN thanked the genuine support received from Trees for the Future USA, leading up to the creation of the national network.

Discover Mt Bamboutos: Cameroon’s Key Watershed with High Diversity Undergoing Depletion

Mount Bamboutos, which is part of the Cameroon Highlands Forest, represents a key watershed, supplying at least one third of water feeding the major hydro-power system in Cameroon at Edea. The Mountain, which is the third highest peak in West Africa (2,740 metres high), after Mount Cameroon 4,095 metres high) and Mount Oku (3,100 metres high) respectively, gives rise to several rivers and lakes across the country including the Mbam tributaries and Mifi tributaries. River Noun, which is the main source of the Bamendjin Dam and Lake Bambalang;  River Manyu that drains into the Cross River, and Menoua that drains into Nkam and Wouri rivers, all stem from this mountain.

 

Designated by the Cameroon Government in 2009 as a proposed Integral Ecological Reserve, Mt Bamboutos constitutes part of the Cameroon Mountains Endemic Bird Area having a high degree of endemism and biodiversity. Some very important biodiversity species restricted to this ecosystem include but limited to the primate Preuss’ Guenon (Cercopithecus preussi), Coopers Mountain Squirrel (Paraxerus cooperi), the Banded wattle-eye, (Platysteira laticincta) and Bannerman’s Turaco, (Tauraco bannermani) as well as green monkeys. Other species include the endangered Cross River gorillas (Gorilla gorilla diehli) and the Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzees (Pan troglotes ellioti).

This ecosystem also plays host to viable populations of species from many taxa, especially insects, plants, reptiles and amphibians, small mammals and many bird species most of which have not received any scientific studies. 

Besides its biodiversity uniqueness, this mountain remains the only ecosystem in the country cutting across three administrative Regions including West, South West and North West, involving over 20 villages with a population of 20,000 to 30,000 people.

 

Most of these people depend on the mountain and its biodiversity content for their livelihood; they practice Slash-and-burn and clear the forest to make way for farmland leading to high rates of deforestation, destruction of water catchments, disappearance of fuel wood and loss in soil fertility.

For instance, the Mt Bamboutos that used to host a substantial population of Prunus africana, has in under 20 years lost the totality of this population due to a very high unsustainable exploitation of the plant by both industrial companies and individuals.

The after math of these myopic anthropogenic activities was a landslide in 2003, which killed 20 persons displacing over 3000 and destroying livestock, farmlands and other valuable possessions.

Since 2003, there has been a number of interventions by both the Cameroon Government via its Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife, and national NGOs including the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) ARCREST, KFA and others to save the biodiversity and ecosystem of this mountain.

For instance since 2007, MINFOF has in line with her National Reforestation Programme, supported the reforestation of the Bamboutos flank of the mountain through her Regional Delegation.

Meanwhile, ERuDeF has since the early 2000s been carrying out various reforestation, conservation and natural resources management projects in this area. The organisation in the early 2000s carried out a survey on the plants, birds and wildlife of Mount Bamboutos. In 2005, ERuDeF with support from the International Tree Foundation, reforested the Fomenji-Magha flank of the mountain with over 1.000 trees. This was followed by another tree planting programme in 2013 by the organisation with support from Mane Foundation and Lea Nature, which has seen the planting of over 25.000 trees still along the Fomenji-Magha flank of the mountain.

With support from the UNDP GEF Small Grants Programme, Mane Foundation, Man & Nature and the French Embassy, ERuDeF has since 2012 been executing a pilot programme on the implementation of the Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Initiative in Cameroon under the auspices of the Ministry of Environment, Protection of Nature and Sustainable Development (MINEPDED).

On her part, ACREST with the support of IUCN is supporting a small scale reforestation scheme on a section of the mountain from the Bamboutos Division.

Since 2003, no major conservation development programme has been ongoing but for the conservation of the Cross River gorillas and the Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzees carried out by ERuDeF in the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, created in 2014.

The efforts of the government and these NGOs are laudable but not aggressive enough to induce the rapid conservation and restoration needs of this emblematic mountain.

By Bertrand Shancho Ndimuh