Cameroon Gender and Environment Watch (CAMGEW)
CAMGEW works to see social and environmental justice put at the centre of development. It works with all age groups. It works to see that the social welfare of children in Cameroon is improved, especially the girls who in many communities are deprived of opportunities to grow up to be future leaders.
It sees it necessary also to work to improve the lives of children in many rural and urban areas who lack the means to go to school and to meet their needs. It does this by trying to meet their basic needs, instilling in them the spirit of positive thinking and encouraging them to strive for excellence.
It seeks also to build the capacity of women especially those in the rural areas where most women are poor farmers. These women lack the agricultural skills and inputs to increase farm yields. They also lack crop storage techniques and facilities. This means they are unable to gain an income sufficient to meet their basic needs and pay for the education of their children. They need to be empowered to be economic and social leaders. Many of them are bread winners of their families. CAMGEW also works to provide women and children with basic needs like water, food, education, energy and shelter.
It works with children, youths and the old to create environmental awareness. and works with children through environmental education to instil in them the spirit to grow up to live in harmony with nature. It educates children about ecology e.g. rivers and lakes; marine ecosystems like the Atlantic ocean; land ecosystems like natural forests, botanical gardens, Zoos; pollution and waste management; gardening and tree nurseries.
It fights poaching, the bushmeat trade, illegal wildlife trade, deforestation, bushfires and climate change by trying to bring about a positive behavioural change in people involved in activities that are environmentally unfriendly. To bring this change CAMGEW carries out sensitisation, lobbying and advocacy at various levels of the society (policy makers, private sector, civil society and grass root populations).
CAMGEW encourages organic farming by improving on soil fertility with organic matter and encourages household organic waste sorting for use in farms to increase crop yields and also as a means of managing household waste. Agroforestry is another way CAMGEW promotes ecofarming. This was a traditional method used to improve the soil. It promotes integrated organic farming, horticulture (flower, vegetable and fruit farming) and apiculture (bee farming).
To discourage the use of plastic papers which are known to be non-biodegradable and to reduce the aesthetics of our environment, CAMGEW promotes the use of bags and baskets made from locally available materials like bamboo, jute, rattan etc that are biodegradable. These bags and baskets have been used in the past when plastics were not yet common. CAMGEW is building a campaign to see how biodegradable materials could be used for packaging instead of plastics.
The availability and affordability of modern energy is paramount to every development. Many rural areas lack this energy because they are far away from the national grid and also because they cannot afford it. Another, problem faced by Cameroon is the shortage of power due to dependency on one energy source – hydropower that is always affected by droughts brought by the changing climatic.
It promotes decentralised and diverse energy systems like small hyro, solar, wind and biogas systems exploited from the available natural energy sources like river fall, sun, wind and animal waste or plant matter respectively. It also engages in a campaign to reduce dependency on environmentally unfriendly energy sources like fossil fuels.
It takes part in fighting climate change from four key perspectives – mitigation, adaptation, finance and technology as identified in the global Climate Change Conference that took place in Bali, Indonesia in December 2007. During the Bali conference, the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki moon said “no one-rich or poor-can remain immune from the dangers of climate change”.
To achieve all of above, CAMGEW uses media, gatherings, posters, newsletters and organised events like workshops. It therefore, sees creativity and innovations as a way forward to solve the global problems that plague humanity.
These innovations and creative ideas therefore need to be replicated and/or scaled-up to tackle global challenges. It believes that through partnership, networking, research and volunteerism this shared vision for long-term cooperative action among the people of the world to improve on lives and promote sustainable development, can be achieved.
A video showing activities at its vocational training centre in Oku can be seen here: