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Support for decentralization and local development

The goal is to reinforce the organizational skills of the rural civil society (farming communities) and indigenous pygmy minorities to allow them to better defend their rights and interests and to cultivate a spirit of self-reliance in them.

Some background information

The fight against poverty is one of the biggest problems in Cameroun today. One of the means used to eradicate poverty is to promote decentralization to facilitate local development.

With the aim of ensuring the operationalization of the decentralization process, some instruments have been set up by the government, specifically (Participatory Community Development Program (PNDP), Community Development Support Program (PADC), National Governance Program (PNG) and Decentralization and Local Development Support Program,( PADDL). The preparation of local representatives to handle this new structure shall be performed progressively.

Moreover, development players have undertaken actions which have allowed a large portion of rural populations to learn their rights. Some of them have created actions to defend their interests. In addition, the emergence of numerous development committees has been observed and farmers have become aware of the role they can play in the decentralization process. However, these populations remain vulnerable to manipulations and external abuse, and the strategic interests of women are still greatly ignored in the local development process.

In the areas where indigenous pygmy and Bantous minorities cohabit, the marginalization phenomenon of pygmies inhibits their participation in the socio-economic life of their areas, and prevents them from equitably enjoying the benefits of decentralization.

However, recognition and integration of minorities in national politics can be seen, through the creation of specific development programs for the Pygmies, and taking into account Pygmies’ recommendations for drafting the DSRP II. Moreover, for the past twelve years, actions to reduce the marginalization of pygmy populations have been carried out by INADES Formation Cameroun in collaboration with other organizations supporting the indigenous pygmy minorities within the Research - Collective Pygmy Actions,( RACOPY) network.

This progressive integration leads to an awareness of those concerned. But their commitment to defending their rights remains still very weak. And the entities which could play this role are still not sufficiently strong and representative.

Intervention area and target population

The project covers the following areas:

  • The South, the East and the Centre in the axes of Yokadouma / Moloundou, Abong Mbang / Lomié / Ngoila, Sangmélima / Djoum / Mintom, Dimako / Batouri and Sa’a/Obala/Edzendouan,
  • The L’Océan department, mainly in the areas of Kribi, Campo Ma’an Bipindi
  • Lolodorf
  • Akom II.

The beneficiaries of the project to support decentralization and socioeconomic integration of the indigenous pygmy minorities are the local representatives, the members of OSCR/communities, support organizations and indigenous pygmy associations, in the South, East and Centre provinces of Cameroon. An estimated 150,000 people are involved.

In these provinces and in particular in the project areas, the populations attend to various activities such as agriculture, forestry, crafts, hunting, fishing, picking fruit and socio-cultural activities.

The main assistance activities already implemented

  • Support in activity planning by local platforms ;
  • Support to the platform organization/fonctionning;
  • Monitoring on the use of the posters and on the education on citizenship for the Baka in Djoum and Mintom;
  • Preparation of posters on land tenure;
  • Participation in the planning workshop for the AGEFO project;

Obtained results

  • The problems observed for the set-up of the IPDP were reported during meetings and corrective measures have been taken;
  • The enrolment process for Baka children in public schools has been facilitated by the schools inspector in Djoum;
  • The process for obtaining official documents has been facilitated by the police superintendents of Djoum and Mintom;
  • The repressive acts of conservation service agents on the Baka have decreased and real communication has started between the two;
  • The conflicts between the Baka and Bantou have decreased, following the creation of fields for the Baka;
  • The alcohol consumption rate has lowered at the level of certain Baka road-houses;
  • The Baka are increasingly going to the hospital when ill;
  • More than half of the adult Baka population has a national identity card (CNI) and understands its importance;
  • 700 bunch of plantains, 800 baskets of manioc and 700 baskets of coco yams have been sold by the Baka.

  
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