This is a summary of the CAMGEW 2016 annual report a complete copy of which can be seen here:
Cameroon Gender and Environment Watch (CAMGEW) reflects its holistic approach to development through the activities described in its 2016 annual report prepared by its director, Wirsiy Emmanuel Binyuy. Most of these activities are located in and around Kilum-Ijim Forest area in the NW Region of Cameroon with her office in Oku.
- Planting of indigenous trees to regenerate the important Kilum-Ijim natural forest.
- Training and practical support for bee farming to produce the local distinctive white honey.
- Marketing training and the establishment of a shop in Bamenda (capital of the region of North West) to sell the honey, its products and equipment.
- Training in organic farming methods and raising of nitrogen-fixing trees for agroforestry.
- Vocational training in dress-making, hair dressing, shoe making and repair.
- Establishing a micro-credit and savings scheme for women and training in business management, including the use of computers.
- Training for women in health and nutrition.
- Training for communities in the basic human, statutory and legal rights of women.
- Provision of counselling and advice for women who are subjected to physical and/or mental abuse.
- Environmental and computer education for children.
- Tree planting around the new centre for the treatment of disabled children which is located in Bafoussam, West Region.
The Kilum-Ijim natural forest contains several endangered species of flora and fauna, including the Bannerman’s Turaco (fauna), Newtonia camerunensis(flora) and has an important role to play in the mitigation of global warming. Despite these and the many economic benefits which can be derived directly from the forest, a large section of the original forest has been cut down to create farming land.
CAMGEW has played an important role in safeguarding the remaining forest by educating people about the environmental importance of preserving the forest and showing local people how they can gain an economic benefit from the natural products the forest provides.
CAMGEW has established nurseries to grow native tree species, including Prunus Africana, Croton Macrotachyst, Carapas Grandifolia, Pittusporum Veridiflorium, Zysigium Staundtii, Solanecio Mannii, Newtonia Camerunensis, Psydrax Dunlapii, Briellia Speciosa, Pyschotria Pendularis, Acacia, Leuceana, Mysposis, Tephrosia, Sesbania and Tree Tomatoes. Many of these have been planted in the forest by children and local community groups to regenerate sections of forest destroyed by domestic animals and fire.
Nitrogen fixing seedlings have been distributed to local farmers who are using agroforestry methods. Three nurseries have been established (Manchok, Mbockenghas and Ikal) with a capacity to raise 200,000 trees. The different species have been labelled with scientific and local names and their uses to educate the local community and school children.
In order to restrict the spread of ferns cuttings of Schefflera abysisinica and Solanecio mannii have been planted in the forest. The fern plants die once the trees grow above them.
Bee farming is an important activity in the preservation of the Kilum Ijim forest as the farmers have a vested interest in preserving the natural flora which provides nectar for the bees and preventing forest fires. CAMGEW has provided hives, training in good bee management activities and organised the farmers into cooperatives/village groups. It has also provided a shop in Bamenda to assist with marketing the honey. The training has involved 212 farmers and 85 cooperative executive members in 22 villages in 2016. CAMGEW has also provided training in the production of bee wax which is more profitable than honey. It also involves full utilization of the honey combs which might otherwise be discarded. 116 community members were trained in 2016, 21 of whom were women.
CAMGEW distributed 10 honey drainers, 100 suits, 30 buckets and provided management training including the establishment of a constitution and by-laws and the production of an instruction manual in cooperative law.
Organic farming and agroforestry training
CAMGEW distributed more than 900,000 seeds of Leucena, Tephrosia and Sesbania (for animal fodder) to over 139 farmers, including 38 women in 7 villages. These species are nitrogen fixing and can be grown together with crops including coffee, potatoes, beans, huckleberry, cabbage, yams, corn. In addition to providing nitrogen for crops, the trees provide shade and help prevent erosion on sloping ground.
CAMGEW also distributed 60Kg of bracharia seeds for obtaining fodder in the dry season when other feed is scarce. This will prevent farmers having to move their animals long distances to find pasture.
Unfortunately the CAMGEW training centre had to close down as a result of the lack of funding. However, the equipment was distributed to the trainers who then located to Elak where there was a greater customer base. Also since the CAMGEW initiative other training centres have been established in the community. Many of the trainees at the CAMGEW centre have established workshops in their own communities.
Health, human rights and nutrition training for women
CAMGEW has provided training about women rights to health services, nutrition, legal marriage and counselling as a result of physical and psychological abuse. This included education to reduce early pregnancies and nutrition to improve the health of teenage mothers and their children.
Information was also provided about sexually transmitted diseases and the benefits of legalised marriages. Information was also provided with the aim of reducing child trafficking.
Much of this work has been carried out with the young women of the Muslim Mbororo tribe who are known for high birth rates and low literacy. Most of the men keep grazing animals which are their main source of income. Counselling of the girls involved marital crises physical and psychological abuse, frustration arising from child trafficking, loneliness and stigma from unplanned teenage pregnancy.
Micro credit and savings scheme training for women
CAMGEW has been running a micro-credit scheme for women since 2015. Loans are given at an interest rate of 2% per CFA 1,000 with a 6 month repayment period. Each recipient must have undergone training provided by CAMGEW. 500 women had benefited from the scheme by December 2016.
Most women do not have enough the money required to open a bank savings account. The CAMGEW savings scheme enables women to open an account with as little as 500 CFA (about 35p). CAMGEW keeps its funds with the Manchok Credit Union. In 2015 CAMGEW trained 193 women and 153 received loans and in 2016 trained 483 women and gave loans to 390 women. Loans ranged from 30,000 to 120,000 CFA.
The nurseries established by CAMGEW have served as learning areas for children, schools and community groups in types of forest trees and their uses. Children have gained hands-on experience working in the nurseries and also gathering seeds from the forest.
Computer training for women and children
CAMGEW has provided basic computer training for women and children.
Tree planting at the GLORES treatment centre for disabled children
In 2016 CAMGEW planted 500 tree seedlings around a new centre for the treatment of severely disabled children based in Bafoussam in the West Region. These included, prunus africana, pittosporum, ornamental, palms, mangoes, plums and oranges.
Video productions about CAMGEW and its director
The following productions provide clear presentation of the comprehensive range of CAMGEW activities and how they contribute to the inter-relationship between various aspects of sustainable development:
Kilum-Ijim forest apiculture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBqEgnjsWSg
Organic coffee farming in Oku:
Short video featuring CAMGEW director, Emmanuel Wirsy
CAMGEW in other documentaries. (Emmanuel’s work is featured about 9 minutes into the video)
CAMGEW FOREST VIDEO. This video is an excellent presentation of the work of CAMGEW and illustrates the link between bee farming and the preservation of the forest. It also shows children actively involved in the both the raising and out-planting of seedlings in to the forest :
CAMGEW GENERAL ACTIVITIES VIDEO. This is a brief overview of activities of CAMGEW including its vocational training: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyM89iaLnHw&feature=youtu.be&hd=1