Evariste: recovery actor in Mora commune, Far North Cameroun
PILLAR 2 : FOOD SECURITY AND LIVELIHOODS
In Cameroon, the "Inclusive Economic and Social Recovery of Lake Chad" (RESILAC) project covers, since 2018, four communes in the Far North region: Mindif, Dargala, Mora and Koza. Within the framework of the project, the local economy and the economic integration of young people are supported through high labour-intensive work (HLI) for the creation and rehabilitation of community assets, the development of village savings and credit associations, the establishment of links with economic partners, as well as training (functional literacy, training adapted to the choices of the people supported and to the local market, reinforcement of the management of the VSLAs and microprojects).
In Cameroon, more than 1,000 young people took part in labour-based work, including 132 young people from the commune of Mora who were mobilised for four months to build a dam. In exchange for their work, the participants each earned 40,000xaf (61€) per month, part of which was saved and returned at the end of the project to set up their micro-project.
Evariste is one of the 132 young people who participated in the construction of the Mora dam; he shares his experience with us and how RESILAC has improved his living conditions and those of the community.
"Before RESILAC came to our village, I was in debt. I had enormous difficulties in meeting my family's expenses. Farming and livestock raising are our main activities, but each season I only harvested 2 to 3 bags of millet, our basic foodstuff. I also juggled with my poultry farm (four hens and a rooster). But this was not enough.
In addition, my wife gave birth in difficult conditions that made it impossible for her to work as before.
I had completely lost hope when in October 2020 the RESILAC programme was announced in our village. I was informed by a member of our community that the programme offered people in difficult circumstances to participate in community service. I was lucky enough to be selected as one of the beneficiaries.
At the end of the project, thanks to the money saved, our group chose to develop a micro-project for the production and storage of maize and millet. We contributed 262,500xaf (403€), or 37,500xaf (58€) each, and we were able to buy and store 10 bags of maize and 12 bags of millet, which we will sell when prices rise. Some of the millet will be shared among the members for their personal use, to help them through the lean season. Also, our ambition is to rent a one-hectare plot of land and to buy the agricultural inputs (seeds and fertilisers) to produce the cereals ourselves.
The water dam that we built as part of the labour-based works has helped to solve the problem of access to water in our community. Before, to get water for our animals, we had to travel a distance of 9 km, which was very difficult and time-consuming. Moreover, this led our people to give up raising cattle. With this dam, we intend to relaunch our livestock farming activities. We have even seen the return of a species of bird that had left the village because of the scarcity of rain.
 The Chantiers à Haute Intensité de Main d'Travail (HIMO) developed in Niger, Nigeria and Chad are Travaux d'Intérêt Communautaires (TICOM) in Cameroon.
The term HIMO is used here to facilitate the understanding of the testimony
Since its creation, the dam, which is now 5 metres deep following the 2022 rainy season, has benefited communities who have developed cattle and sheep breeding, agriculture and fish farming.
I was earning 10,000xaf (15€) per week and the project had made us aware of the importance of saving. I accepted that 50% of my income should be saved in a bank account. The project also made us aware of the contribution system according to the Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) approach and of how to set up micro-projects. I was paid half of my income at the end of each week, and little by little my life changed. I was able to buy millet and other products for my household needs without getting into debt, and I was also saving in VSLAs.
Tapareo Bief, November 2022
Chantier TICOM, construction mare de Mémé, Cameroun
Menstrual hygiene training participants
Making briquettes from carcoal
Manufacture of coal briquettes