A project to reorganise and train village forest management committees (VFMCs) has been launched at Mamfe, inManyu Division, South West Region of Cameroon.
AJEMALEBU SELP HELP (AJESH) with the support of the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife (MINFOF) organised the workshop to commence the training of some selected VFMCs around Manyu Division.
The training was aimed at drilling the VFMCs on their functions and roles in the management of FMUs (forest management units) in accordance to the above mentioned decision No. 135/D/CAB of 26th November 1999.
The decision fixed the procedures of classification of permanent forest in Cameroon. It stipulates that the local population should be closely associated to the process and that they will have a say in the classification commission.
Hence, with regard to the “Aménagement et Suivi des forêts du Cameroun” financed by the Contract of Indebtedness and Development (C2D), and convention No. CCMI233 01 G of 28th of June 2012 signed between AgenceFrancaise de Dévélopement (AFD) and Cameroon, AJESH and MINFOF organized an official launching ceremony of the project on the theme “Capacity Building of Village Forest Management Committees” in Mamfe.
The Program for the Sustainable Management of Natural Resources for the South West Region (PSMNR-SWR) and SEFECCAM supported the launching of the workshop.
The main objectives of the workshop included: informing stakeholders involved in FMU management on the C2D PSFE2 project; preparing the minds of the various parties responsible with the setting up, reorganization and training of VFMCs; creation of an enabling environment for the implementation of the project and to effectively engage concerned stakeholders.
Among the stakeholders were the Regional Chief of Service for Promotion and Transformation of Forest Products representing South West MINFOF Regional Delegate;MINFOF Divisional Delegate for Manyu;South West Regional Chief of Service of Forestry; Chief of Forestry and Wildlife Control Post of Eyumodjock and Numba; representative of PSMNR; representative of SEFECCAM/SIENCAM; community representatives and local NGOs/CSOs.
In his welcome speech, the Divisional Delegate of MINFOF Manyu noted that the workshop was organised to respond to a worry that although VFMCs exist in Manyu, “they are not active in the management of the forest management units.They don’t have a thorough understanding of their roles,nor do they have documents related to their activities in FMU management.”
The Delegate observed that VFMC members have been very passive in executing their responsibilities and this has contributed in promoting illegality in the management of FMUs within Manyu Division.
The VFMCs were, therefore, expected to become more active and cooperate with other actors for the full success of project activities while a conducive and promising environment is created for project implementation.
Community representatives from Nguti Council Municipality present to stakeholders involve with land management in the South West Region of Cameroon their traditional Land tenure and usage Maps.
Village communities in Nguti Sub-division in the South West Region of Cameroon have presented their traditional land tenure systems and land use maps which they collectively developed.
The communities variously represented by their chiefs, traditional elites as well as youth and women’s leaders presented their traditional land tenure systems and land use maps during a four-day workshop at the Nguti Council Hall. It was also an opportunity for the communities to present the challenges they face in the use and management of these lands .
This is the first time time that communities in an entire administrative unit are supported to map their traditional land tenure usage through participatory mapping as step toward a participatory land use planning that is ongoing in the municipality.
A cross-section of government administrators as well as elected officials also attended the workshop.
The presentation of the participatory land use maps came in the wake of the project, Mapping and Forest Governance, funded by the British Department for International Development UK (DfID), and implemented in Cameroon by AJEMALIBU SELF HELP (AJESH) with the support of Forêts et Development Rurale (FODER) and the Rainforest Foundation UK (RFUK).
Dr. Tchouto Peguy, a forest expert with the Programme for Sustainable Management of Natural Resources – South West Region, reiterated that land use mapping enables communities to gather statistics concerning their land and resources.
“It provides base-line information for sustainable management of resources,” Dr. Peguy added.
The workshop who is itself an innovation was also organized to try to find solutions to the problems the villagers are facing, said Georges Thierry Handja, RFUK Mapping Coordinator.
“This project is to help the villagers present the way they organize traditionally the land between themselves and the way they use this land for their livelihood activities. It will also help them to put together all the information concerning their land and all the other allocations done by the state and how this can be fine-tuned so that the communities can continue to live in harmony. We also hope that the maps will help bring together communities and decision-makers for proper communication on the challenges and the way forward,” Handja added.
The project that will be completed in 2017 is expected to evolve a large scale land use map for land use planning and natural resource management for sustainable development.
“Initially, I personally did not understand what land use mapping and forest governance was all about, but gradually I have been able to understand it and I think it will be to the advantage of my municipality as we now know how to go about land use planning,” said Tong George Enoh, Mayor of Nguti Council.
Among the challenges that the land use participatory maps helped to uncover is that much of Nguti is occupied by one protected area or the other, leaving a meager portion of the sub-division for the use of the population.
Chief Ewoh Prosper Mayarh, chief of the Banyu clan who participated very actively in developing the traditional land tenure and usage maps for his village, said whatever scanty portion of land that is left for the inhabitants is further reduced by harsh topography; rocky and hilly areas, wetlands, poor infrastructural development, an increasing population, indiscriminate sale of land due to poverty, ignorance of the local population of the value of land, ignorance of traditional land tenure laws and national laws, exploitation of natural resources by economic operators and overlapping land uses, among others.
The villagers, after open discussion, recommended, among others, the discontinuation of the creation of protected areas and agro industries; and some of their boundaries reevaluated.
As far as exploitation of natural resources is concerned, the villagers recommended that the local communities should be properly consulted before the creation of a concession or before exploitation begin. In addition, the communities should be informed early enough before consultation meetings and all internal and external elites as well as stakeholders to be involved. They also suggested that monitoring committees to follow up of agreed development projects should include locals.
To curb land disputes, the villagers recommended that proper studies be carried out at all levels (village, clan, sub-divisions…) on land boundaries and all communities are support on the importance of handing down traditional knowledge of land boundaries to the younger generation
The communities of Mbonge Marumba in Mbonge Sub-division, Meme Division, Njandou in Bangem Sub-division, and Babensi I in Nguti Sub-division both in Kupe-Muanenguba Division; all located in the South West Region of Cameroon, now have reason to cheer. By Staff Reporter
The communities can now comfortably wave good-bye to land grabbing, exploitation of forests and forest resources with the exclusion of indigenes and defend their rights to land, as well as promote effective forest governance and land management within their areas.
In the month of September 2016, representatives of the various villages validated their participatory community customary land tenure and usage maps collectively developed under the project test phase “Development of a Community Mapping Protocol in Cameroon”.
This project is funded by the International Land and Forest Tenure Facility (The Tenure Facility) under the auspices of the Ministry of Economic and Planning (MINEPAT) through Rainbow Environment Consult Sarl (Rainbow) and implemented in the South West Region of Cameroon by AJEMALEBU Self Help (AJESH).
In addition to facilitating the development of participatory land tenure and resource usage maps, AJESH trained at least eight local cartographers in each of the three villages on how to use GPS to collect georeference data, data collection, analysis and the production of land use maps.
The 14 families that make up Mbonge Marumba validated their participatory land tenure and usage map on September 28, 2016 in Mbonge Marumba village. Those of Babensi I and Njandou validated their own participatory land tenure and usage maps on October 2 and 9, 2016, respectively.
A supervisory commission from Yaounde headed by Chief Tanyi Robinson, the Traditional Ruler of Tinto Mboh of Manyu Division and Secretary General of the Pan-African Council of Traditional and Native Authorities and Assistant SG of South West Chief’s Conference in Cameroon, facilitated the validation processes, especially in the villages of Mbonge Marumba and Babensi I.
The supervisory commission was composed of experts from the Department of Surveys at the Ministry of State Property, Surveys and Land Tenure (MINDCAF) and the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Regional Development (MINEPAT), and the contracting firm, Rainbow,
Yemele Edouard, Senior Survey Engineer, represented MINDCAF while Nsegbe Patrice, Head of Cartography Unit represented MINEPAT.
To validate the maps, the village representatives and the community cartographers trained by AJESH during the mapping process presented to the entire community and the supervisors the criteria used to select the trained cartographers, how they collected and treated relevant data. They equally described the four-step process they used to come out with the maps.
The cartographers also demonstrated the process of mapping as well as how to interpret the maps.
The villagers of Mbonge Marumba headed by their traditional ruler, Chief Daniel Mukambe, cross-checked and confirmed place names, spellings and locations.
Misori Ule Joseph, Chairman of the Mbonge Marumba Traditional Council, affirmed that the selection criteria of the cartographers were based on youthfulness, energy, availability, level of education, knowledge of the area and indigenous origin.
The community map will assist the villagers to understand their areas and resources as well as protect their customary lands. The maps will also act as their defence against any intrusion or unlawful expropriation.
“Now we know the topography of our community, resources and we can negotiate for development activities,” said Masseh Nicodemus, one of the eight local cartographers trained by AJESH and who participated in the land use mapping project.
Meanwhile, Chief Tanyi told the representatives of the various villages concerned that land use planning is a nationwide program that covers the entire Cameroon to help solve conflicts arising from land use allocation.
He said Mbonge Sub-division was lucky to have been selected by AJESH alongside the other two villages in Bangem and Nguti to commence the process in the South West Region.
“In that case, we don’t want our map to suffer any contestation. This land use map is your identity; your lawyer,” Chief Tanyi said to the village representatives. He advised them not to doubt the map and to make effective and positive use for the benefit of their community.
Mbonge, Nguti Council Municipality Communities Trained on Mindset Transformation to Boost Community Development
By Staff Reporter
To boost passion and commitment for village level development, AJEMALEBU SLEF HELP (AJESH) has offered mindset transformation training to a cross-section of representatives from some communities of Nguti and Mbonge Council municipalities in the South West Region of Cameroon.
This training came as a continuation of a training that AJESH Executive President (CEO) Harrison Nnoko Ngaaje, received in Korea at the Canaan Global Leadership Center under the program: Cameroon Rural Development Course organized and financed by KOICA (Korean International Cooperation Agency).
Nnoko Ngaaje started the transfer of Mindset Transformational knowledge with AJESH staff during a restitution workshop he organized at their office in Kumba and later extended to the communities in Nguti, Mbonge Council municipalities.
The training was aimed at changing the old thinking mindset which makes work and life ineffective and inefficient, consequently stalling any form of development.
The goal of the training is to “cultivate leaders who will WORK, SERVE and SACRIFICE FIRST; in developing a pioneering spirit that will lead to building a modern village which is self-sustainable and self-reliant and to train leaders who will change from ‘barren soil to fertile soil’”.
“We want to create the mindset that the village leaders and their subjects need to get out of their dilemmas; to make them feel confident in themselves and stop dodging away from their potentials,” said AJESH CEO, who led the training.
Participants were implored to develop a pioneering spirit – to be positive and active – to have a sense of purpose, sense of responsibility and mission.
The team leader cautioned them against poor thinking which only produces negative progress, and instead encouraged the villagers to cultivate great thinking which creates the foundation for good results, increases potential.
“Good thinking produces more good thinking if you make it a habit,” Nnoko said.
According to Nnoko, a new mindset will enhance the working skills of the communities and their leaders for more effective problem solving and conflict management.
“It will help the villagers to obtain mental clarity and focus, get them enthusiastic about life and its possibilities so that they can set and achieve any development goals they may set,” Nnoko added.
“We must Work, Serve and Sacrifice to develop our villages. Our villages should become self-sustaining and self-reliant through their leaders, but for us to achieve our development projects, we must change our mindset first,” Nnoko said.
At the end of the training, Nnoko advised the chiefs to draw action plans and learn how to plan for their communities and to reflect what they want to achieve.
“They should equally have one, two and even ten-year development plans,” said Nnoko.
For their part, the participants promised to sacrifice and use the training to realize their dreams for their villages.
“If we practise what we have learnt, we will make our municipality more beautiful,” said Ewoh Prosper, Chief of Njuinyue in Nguti Council municipality.
In Mbonge Marumba in Meme as in Nguti, Nnoko drilled the villagers on the significance of transforming their mindsets in order to stimulate development.
“We are more than grateful for this wonderful lesson we have received from AJESH on mindset transformation. It is mandatory on us to practise all that we have learnt to permit us transform our village Mbonge Marumba. We will make sure our municipality becomes an area to reckon with,” said Misori Ule Joseph, Chairman of Mbonge Marumba Traditional Council in Mbonge Council municipality.
Nnoko reiterated that, “The best way to change another person begins with yourself. This does not apply to leaders only but everyone else has to responsibility to serve others; think positively, act positively and your society will grow positively. Communities can only grow if people change their mentality. Each individual must be creative, must have a dream for, ‘Achievers are Dreamers.’”