PUBLICATIONS >

Innovative agriculture to fight global warming

In the Lake Province of Chad

 

A region suffering from lack of crop irrigation

The security crisis that has been raging in the Lake Chad region for the past 10 years has profoundly altered the distribution of the population and precipitated changes that were already underway in the Sahelian zone[1]. Thus, population movements from the island zone of the lake, which is prey to attacks by Non-State Armed Groups (NSAGs), to less humid and less fertile areas, have resulted in a high level of exploitation of natural resources by the host and displaced populations in search of means of subsistence.

This also leads to unexpected developments, such as the climatic modification of wetlands, where anthropogenic pressure[2] has dropped considerably. These areas are also being taken over by armed groups: they are taxing access to natural resources.

Victims of these disasters, the populations are the first to be affected and access to water remains a major concern, both for agroforestry production and for human consumption. In fact, in the area, waterborne diseases are among the leading causes of mortality in children under 5 years of age.

Problems of access to water also lead to high food insecurity, due to low agricultural production (high dependence on rainfall) and low household incomes in the area, which are essentially derived from the sale of agricultural surpluses.

Despite this, the RESILAC project has conducted several studies, tests and trainings on the potential for introducing innovative agricultural practices adapted to climate change in Chad, in the Nguélea 1 and 2, Bol and Ngarangou cantons of the Lac Province[3].

In this region, which is mainly inhabited by agricultural and agro-pastoral households, agricultural production activities are faced with constraints such as  :

  • Poor access to good quality agricultural inputs;

  •  Poor access to agricultural innovations;

  •  Lack of technical support to better control the effects of pests, weeds and diseases on production;

  •  The absence of regulations governing the roaming of animals in agricultural production areas;

  •  The continuous silting up of polders[4], due to excessive wind and the lack of biological protection of the polders.

In order to better respond to the needs of the populations benefiting from the activities to improve their production, a study on innovative endogenous[5] and exogenous practices was conducted by RESILAC.

The results of the study have allowed us to better understand the existing practices, as well as their limitations, and to propose appropriate solutions. It is in this sense that experimental sites, to test and disseminate innovations, as well as Farmer Field Schools[6], to reinforce knowledge and cultural practices, have been implemented.

In the polder area: an efficient solar irrigation system

Boreholes with solar pumps are intended to allow efficient irrigation of irrigated crops by exploiting free potential energy: solar energy!

 

This type of borehole consists of special equipment allowing  the production and distribution of water for the irrigation of market garden crops [7] . It is innovative because it provides a source of energy for the pumping equipment (this is solar energy produced using the panels), as well as several water distribution pipes that go directly to the irrigation plots.

 

The advantages of this system are a low operating cost, ease of maintenance when communities are formed in it, a clean and autonomous source of energy, and saving irrigation water through the reduction of loss of water by infiltration, through the water distribution pipes.

 

On this subject, Mahamat, a 49-year-old farmer who lives in the commune of N'Garangou, in Chad, participated in a process of learning new agricultural techniques, provided in the form of a Farmer Field School.

 

“Before the RESILAC project, I was a Community Master. I was doing market gardening but in a traditional way without a lot of techniques. The RESILAC project then arrived in my region, and developed a market gardening site in Ngarangou. I decided to enroll in workshops at a Farmer Field School, during which we were taught new agricultural techniques. In the past, it was impossible for us to do market gardening in large areas. But since then, thanks to the installation of the solar irrigation system which spurts out water at all times, we have managed to do market gardening on more than 4 hectares! »

[1] Brochure "Contrasting impacts of the security crisis on land situations in the Lake Chad region" October 2020

[2] Anthropogenic: is said of a landscape, a soil, a relief whose formation results essentially from the intervention of man.

[3] Report of the study on the potential for introducing innovative agricultural practices adapted to climate change in the NGuéléa 1 and 2 cantons, Bol and NGarangou cantons in the Lake Chad province, April 2020

[4] The polder is a vast dyked and drained expanse, reclaimed from the sea, coastal marshes or lakes, located at a coast below the maximum level of the body of water

[5] https://www.resilac.net/recherches : Review on the "Contrasting impacts of the security crisis on land situations in the Chad region" to download

[6] This is a group of 20-25 people who meet once a week to cultivate a training plot throughout a growing season and learn together how to solve production problems], growers and producers of the region.

[7] Technical sheet: Borehole with solar pumps for market gardening, in Chad, April 2020

Mental health at the heart of professional reintegration

In the Far North of Cameroon

 
WhatsApp Image 2021-03-03 at 18.07.58 (1

 

The Far North Region of Cameroon has been confronted for several years with attacks by armed groups which lead to population movements and contribute to amplifying the pre-existing problems of chronic malnutrition and food insecurity.

Since September 2017, this situation has caused several thousand internal displacement in the country and caused inflation of 30 to 60% on certain foodstuffs [1] . The four municipalities in the RESILAC project intervention zone, Dargala, Koza, Mindif and Mora, concentrate 56% of the population of this region living below the poverty line [2] .

The most affected are young people and women. The economic difficulties that the latter encounter in the region (precarious labor market, limited natural resources for production, insufficient income) frequently lead to a state of psychological distress. This is often coupled with trauma related to the resurgence of insecurity, intra-family conflicts and gender-based violence. Thus, young people have great difficulty in drawing from within themselves the resources necessary for their economic reintegration [3] .

The RESILAC project deploys new strategies on a daily basis to enable young people and women in Cameroon to draw from themselves the resources necessary to reintegrate themselves into the job market on a long-term basis.

Regain confidence in the future

 

The psychological problems considerably affect the capacity and the will of the people affected to cooperate, to live together, to project themselves into the future in a confident and solid way. Post-traumatic stress disorder is considered "the main factor behind the persistence of mental disorders after conflict situations"[1]. 

Mental health programs are therefore necessary to enable individuals and populations to recover, to be more resilient and to embark on a project for the future with greater self-confidence.

This is why RESILAC integrates psychosocial care into economic recovery activities, allowing young people who integrate the training-reintegration system to benefit from the Problem Management + (PM+) protocol. This is a protocol originally developed by the World Health Organization, which, through weekly individual sessions, of approximately 90 minutes, for five to seven weeks, supports individuals in the management of their psychological and subsistence problems, their family conflicts and traumas. Training of health workers from on-site medical centers also enables them to develop their skills in psychosocial care, in a region lacking mental health care.

The individual results are very encouraging in the municipalities where this monitoring has been implemented.

This is particularly the case for Maimouna, 29, mother of 2 children, resident of the village of Djamboutou (commune of Dargala). " I suffered from insomnia, lack of appetite, general fatigue and difficulty concentrating." Proven symptoms of depression and generalized anxiety were observed during his clinical evaluation. Maimouna was accompanied by the PM+ for 7 weeks, during which she learned “ several strategies for stress management and gradual resumption of activity” . In the middle of the course, she was able to identify an IGA selling food in a market. RESILAC assisted her in building her business plan and getting her business started. Since then, she says, “ I finally got back to sleep, and the anxiety of being alone all day long disappeared ”.

WhatsApp Image 2021-03-05 at 16.58.31.jp

Fatou, 20 years old, mother of 2 children and resident of the village of Gaboua (municipality of Koza), also testifies:

 

I was working in a local NGO as a 'peer educator' but my income was neither sufficient nor stable to take care of my family. For several years, I had tried to integrate the public service, without success. I also separated from the father of my children, I didn't have a stable job, I had a real sense of failure. "

 

Fatou found herself plunged into a state of intense psychological distress associated with psychosomatic pain. She then joined a community interest project (TICOM) of RESILAC and participated in the psychosocial care PM +. During the sessions, Fatou developed an action plan: register for an information group on public service competitions, get information from resource people, start a commercial activity, promote dialogue with the father of their children. Thanks to the savings resulting from the TICOM works and managed with her VSLA, she bought sheep whose resale will bring her an economic profit. The improvement in her condition also allowed her to renew social ties.

 

Some physical pain is still present, but I have regained sleep and appetite, and I feel a real improvement in my general well-being ”.

Save to stabilize

Young people and women are also monitored and supervised, thanks to an efficient education-training-economic integration system, which allows them to choose a promising micro-project and to strengthen their technical and management capacity in order to invest in complete safety. their savings.

Thus, during the months of June and July 2020, in the town of Mindif, the beneficiaries of a worksite were trained on new techniques for fattening and rearing small and large ruminants (oxen, sheep and goats), and simplified accounting themes - including the management of accounting tools (cash registers and inventory management), support for carrying out purchases in accordance with the standards of the Dziguilao market, the creation of purchasing commissions [1] , etc.

Marthe, mother of two, recounts the creation of an AGR for the production of peanut oil in the village of Maoudine (Mindif):

 

“We formed a group within our community, and we learned how to grow, spread, dry and crush fresh peanuts to turn them into oil and kibble. From now on, we sell these products and put the profits in the common fund of our VSLA [2] . At the moment we use pots and plates to press the oil, but our goal is to purchase specific pressing equipment. In the meantime, every Sunday, we organize meetings to see the progress of our contributions ”.

In addition, the project increases women's awareness of the leadership that has led to the occupation of decision-making positions within VSLAs [3] . This is the case of mixed VSLAs in the town of Mindif, whose offices are, for the moment, 46% women.

In any case, the psychosocial care carried out by the RESILAC project does not claim to definitively solve the beneficiaries' problems. On the other hand, it allows a psychological mobilization which makes individuals autonomous and puts them at the center of their own change by means of a reflection on the different ways of managing their emotional problems and daily life.

Find this article on the websites of our partners:

[1] World Bank 2020 data

[2] Initial baseline, June 2019 - Groupe URD / RESILAC and https://www.banquemondiale.org/fr/country/cameroon/overview

[3] Capitalization report, PM + for the benefit of economic recovery, May 2020

[4] Inception report of the SMPS RESILAC study - Groupe URD - November 2020

[5] Training report of the TICOM2 worksite in Domayo (municipality of Mindif) - June 22 to July 10, 2020

[6] Association Villageoise d'Epargne et de Crédit

[7] Village Savings and Credit Associations

Promoting dialogue to restore the land

Diffa's district, Niger

 
IMG_20200819_100832_036.jpg

  “Before carrying out an activity, the team always asks us if it meets our needs and our way of life. RESILAC's community approach converges with our local specificities. ".

 

This observation, drawn up by the president of a local CSO in the municipality of Diffa [1], highlights the approach carried by the RESILAC project, which operates in a complex security and climatic context.

 

For more than a decade, the Diffa region has suffered from a crisis with multiple causes. The structural weaknesses linked to a natural environment impacted by climate change, and the limited capacities of state services, lead to a lack of infrastructure and access to basic services. Added to this are the ongoing abuses and violence that armed groups bring to bear on the populations. This multifaceted and growing insecurity has several consequences: a drastic reduction in the use of fertile areas of Lake Chad, internal displacement of populations and the arrival of refugees from neighboring countries, demographic pressure on the scarce resources available in certain areas. already highly precarious and the exacerbation of community conflicts related to the sharing of natural resources[2].

In addition, in the region, States and their decentralized technical services intervene to a very limited extent in land management at the local level. The Nigerien land law contains provisions on land appropriation and conflict resolution in rural areas, but these are used very little, because the procedures are often restrictive and very expensive[3]. While land management remains globally in the hands of traditional chiefdoms, their powers are diminishing and the lack of dialogue sometimes freezes everyone's positions.

 

Moreover, the effects of climate change are an additional source of concern and tension by reducing their availability due to silting up, frequent droughts and the decline in the fertility of soils used for agriculture and livestock[4].

 

Faced with this situation, the RESILAC project set up targeted programs to restore land and help communities to self-manage natural resources. These programs are innovative because they promote multi-stakeholder debates at the local level, and formalize the rules for access to natural resources through local agreements for developed sites. These partnership agreements are signed between community leaders and elected officials responsible for regional administrative entities, or decentralized technical services specifically involved in an agricultural activity, always respecting the laws in force in the country. RESILAC's programs also aim to produce new techniques to define the fate of abandoned lands: to establish diagnostics to optimize the use of these lands, while being creative in order to guarantee environmentally friendly exploitation.

IMG_20200818_105944_867.jpg

A new approach to dialogue

 

In the Diffa region, RESILAC strengthens dialogue mechanisms between territorial entities (municipalities, cantons, chiefdoms) and provides them with data to enable them to make the link between the needs of the populations and the development issues of their localities[5] .

 

Thus, RESILAC has supported the municipalities of Maine Soroa, Chétimari and Goudoumaria, in collaboration with the decentralized state technical services, to initiate the process of updating the municipal plan to draw an overall vision of the challenges to be met over the next five years.

 

In these communes, the departmental authorities helped the project to create 22 community land commissions. These commissions are administrative entities whose mission is to lead development operations. In addition, the project has set up 7 consultation frameworks around high-intensity labor-intensive worksites (HIMO), which serve to improve mediation on recurring conflicts related to access to natural resources. This regularly takes the form of the signing of framework agreements to distribute the roles of all the players on the developed agricultural sites.

 

All these devices make it possible to strengthen community engagement, and to solicit a joint effort to reinvest abandoned land.

 

In addition, labor-based work sites provide work for young people, women and vulnerable populations who, through this, participate in the economic recovery of the community, can save money and meet the needs of their families. This stabilizes the populations in the region, promotes social cohesion and resilience.

IMG_20200304_102332_4.jpg

An inclusive program adapted to each village

 

95km from Diffa and 20km from the main town of Mainé Soroa, Adebour is a village which concentrates rain-fed agriculture, market gardening, livestock farming and petty trade[6]. The village has dune lands, for rain-fed agricultural production and extensive livestock farming in community grazing areas. It also has fertile valleys, suitable for market gardening and rainfed production. RESILAC teams carried out diagnostics there, with a view to identifying the natural resources that are subject to more demographic and climatic pressure[7].

 

Following these diagnoses, the groups of farmers mobilized to restore the land. These well-targeted works have resulted in particular in the construction of wire fences, permanent water points in the valleys, the fixing of dunes as well as the sowing with herbaceous plants and the planting of Prosopis plants (derived from Acacias) which slow down the advance of the desert. Soumaila Malam AWARI, member of the site management committee, explains:

 

"This site is important for us, because it will not only save our valley from silting up, but also allow our animals to find food just outside the village".

 

In addition, the project promotes equitable access to land on restored sites. Thus, on one of the village's community market gardening sites, among the 48 heads of households designated for land management, 12 are women. A real novelty, according to Gaptia Mai WANDARA, a young farmer and mother of three children:

“I now benefit from a 200 m² plot, where I cultivate potatoes, tomatoes, moringa and lettuce. Previously, it was my husband, alone, who looked after the household by volunteering as labor and selling charcoal. Now, the consumption of these market garden products has improved the nutritional security of my family. And above all, as a woman, having access to land is a source of pride and a chance ” .

 

The practice of innovative techniques adapted to climate challenges

In the region, soils are becoming less fertile due to continued land degradation, linked to poor farming practices, erosion and silting up.

 

To remedy this, RESILAC has set up “pilot activities” to test innovative practices. In Yambal (a village in the commune of N'Guigmi), in partnership with the University of Diffa, 20 leading producers, 50% of whom are women, participated in experimental studies. Ibrahim Hamidou OUMAROU, technical referent of the project, specifies:

A total of seven techniques and practices were tested alongside university students, focusing on the growth parameters and yield of corn, the effects of plant spacing on growth, productivity and efficiency. of a moringa hedge, the effects of compost on the growth and yield of corn and millet, the effectiveness of neem juice against insect pests of cowpea and the effects of the presence of basil on insect pests of cabbage ”.

 

When the results are conclusive, these new techniques will then be taught to the villagers, through Farmer Field Schools [8].

This is part of the process of transmitting / perpetuating innovative techniques on essential issues for the inhabitants: the consequences of the upwelling on land, the problem of the growing use of pesticides, and the future of abandoned land facing to drought.

 

In addition to the practical training of rural producers, the staff of the local state technical services are also mobilized. Thus, a training course on Intelligent Agriculture facing the Climate (AIC) was organized in March 2020, and renewed in June in Zinder with the Regional Directorate of Agriculture and the agents of the RESILAC project, in collaboration with the Institute. International Research on Crops of Semi-Arid Tropical Zones (ICRISAT).

 

 

 

While land governance has since improved, the region nevertheless remains the scene of unpredictable developments. The persistent fragility of the land, the movements of populations and the frequent takeovers of non-state armed groups, which in particular tax access to natural resources [9], make it necessary to redouble our ingenuity to think, together, the conditions of fair and sustainable sharing of resources.

[1] Iterative evaluation report with mini-seminar (EIMS) N ° 3 conducted in Niger, December 2020

[2] Report, Pillar 1 Referent Visit - Diffa Region, October 2020 - the visits date from August 18 to 26, 2020

[3] INSUCO regional research study, Contrasting impacts of the security crisis on land tenure situations in the Lake Chad region, 2020

[4] PASAM & AFD report, Food security for rural Sahelian households in Niger, in the departments of Gouré and Maine Soroa.

[5] Progress Report of August 31, 2019 - RESILAC Global Steering Committee

[6] Mission report of the regional technical advisor - visit from August 13 to 25, 2020 - villages of Mamari Forage and Adebour

[7] RESILAC interim execution report n ° 3 produced in Niger - December 2020

[8] Farmer field school: a group of 20 to 25 people meeting once a week to cultivate a training plot throughout a growing season and to learn together to solve production problems

[9] INSUCO regional research study, Contrasting impacts of the security crisis on land tenure situations in the Lake Chad region, 2020

 

Taking action for mental health is a matter for everyone
 

Dedicated to raising awareness and educating everyone about mental health issues, World Mental Health Day took place, as it has every year since 1992, on October 10 around the world. The theme of this year's event, which draws attention to an often neglected human dimension and aims to combat the stigmatization and discrimination of people with mental disorders, was "Making Mental Health Care for All a Reality".

Mental health and Sahel countries

Psychological care for people with mental disorders remains a little explored issue on the African continent where it is very weak or non-existent in some regions. According to the World Federation for Mental Health, between 75% and 95% of people suffering from mental illness in low-income countries have no access to mental health services. 

The countries of the Sahel, particularly those bordering the Lake Chad Basin, are experiencing an increase in mental health needs among their residents, exacerbated by the multiple security, socio-economic and climatic crises that have impacted the region over the last five years. While the need for care continues to increase, mental health is not yet a priority for most humanitarian or institutional actors.

The RESILAC approach

In order to contribute to the response to these needs, the

RESILAC project "Inclusiv Economic and social Recovery 

of the Lake Chad" has integrated a mental health and

psychosocial support component and psychosocial support

component aimed at improving well-being and resilience and

social cohesion of the populations. Implemented by an

international consortium (Action Contre la Faim, CARE and

Groupe URD) in partnership with the CCFD - Terre Solidaire

network, Search For Common Ground and national organizations,

the project works on economic development through different

pillars in the four countries around the Lake Basin:

Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad.

Since 2019, through the establishment of psychosocial

support groups, individual accompaniment and community-based

education on the psychological symptoms of common mental

health disorders, the mental health and psychosocial support

component of the project is working to improve the subjective sense of well-being [1] of populations affected by the crises in the Lake Chad Basin. Between 2019 and 2021, RESILAC has treated 7,685 individuals in the region, trained 1,500 local actors in psychological first aid and 49 health workers in the integration of a psychosocial care protocol in primary health care structures.

Lack of human and material resources

Although the direct response to beneficiaries is important, the magnitude of the needs is far greater than the capacity of a single project to respond. Indeed, the lack of training for qualified personnel and the inadequacy of health centers do not allow us to cover all the needs. In the Lake Province of Chad, no psychosocial care center is available, and the ratio of health personnel per capita is edifying: one active psychiatrist for seventeen million inhabitants. In Niger, only two specialized psychiatric centers are efficient for the entire country, hundreds of kilometers from the Diffa region. In response to these observations, the RESILAC project, as part of a sustainable approach, has initiated the training of health workers in order to integrate psychosocial care within health structures. Similarly, advocacy with local authorities and the international community is a central axis for the sustainability of our intervention. 

[i]

 

Advocacy for psychosocial care for all!

Allowing everyone to have access to psychosocial support is thus a parameter to be taken into account within health and development programs, which will have the major result of strengthening the resilience of populations. However, this will only be possible if the importance of treating mental disorders is highlighted, as well as the impact of these disorders in their social and economic dimensions.

The RESILAC project has already begun to act to make this a reality by actively participating in this day through radio broadcasts, press releases and meetings with health authorities in all project countries, in order to raise awareness and initiate advocacy on the issues of mental health care.

Group psychological care

World Mental Health Day radio show

[1] Subjective well-being: the perception that each idividual has of his/her own state of well-being

RESILAC: Youth employment and local development at the heart of a multi-country workshop

The multi-country workshop on "youth employment and local development" which brought together experts in the field and stakeholders of the RESILAC project from Cameroon, Niger, Nigeria and Chad was held from November 9 to 12 via videoconference.

At the initiative of one of the consortium members, CARE Cameroon, the workshop brought together 44 participants including representatives of the communes concerned by the project, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), beneficiaries as well as local and national experts.

 

In the Lake Chad Basin, a significant proportion of young people have no access to employment and training. Two main problems stand in their way. The first is the lack of material and financial means which does not allow them to start a professional activity. The second is the lack of available training courses, which are too few in number and/or unsuited to the needs of the market and the professional prospects of the applicants.

In an economically and socially unstable region, the lack of structures and investment in vocational training combined with a low rate of employability of young people (50 to 60% of young graduates are unemployed[1]) would thus encourage some of them to leave their initial areas of residence or to join the ranks of non-state armed groups (GANE) in order to be able to meet their primary needs and those of their families, thus maintaining the vicious circle of violence and vulnerability in spite of themselves.   

 

The RESILAC (Redressement Economique et Social Inclusif du Lac Tchad) project contributes to the economic recovery and the strengthening of the resilience and social cohesion of the territories of the Lake Chad Basin most impacted by the security crisis and climate change.

Through its Pillar 3 "capacity building and institutional support", the project aims to strengthen the capacities and prerogatives of public authorities, local authorities and CSOs to help them play a central role in the implementation of development projects. It is therefore with the objective of increasing the involvement of local actors in the professional and socio-economic integration of young people through community-oriented governance that the multi-country workshop was designed.

 

The participants, who met for four days in the form of working groups, addressed the cross-cutting themes of decentralisation, governance and cross-border cooperation in order to achieve several objectives:

 

  • Identify the relevant mechanisms and tools for the socio-economic integration of young people made available to local elected officials within the framework of decentralisation;

  • Identify and clarify the roles and responsibilities of the main state and non-state actors involved in promoting youth employment;

  • Identify the potentialities and opportunities for sustainable integration of young people around Lake Chad;

  • Develop and produce partial logical frameworks to support the improvement of youth employment and professional integration by and between countries;

  • Develop advocacy plans for the mobilization of resources to strengthen the employment and professional integration strategies of the youth of Lake Chad.

 

Building on previous and ongoing processes in the Lake Chad Basin region, such as the African Union Regional Strategy for Stabilization, Recovery and Resilience of the Lake Chad Basin Areas Affected by the GANE Crisis and the Regional Stabilization Strategy developed by the Governors' Forum, the resolutions of this workshop will allow for the development of a proposal for a "regional youth employment programme".

 

[1] Source : https://webapps.ifad.org/members/eb/131R/docs/french/EB-2020-131-R-R-16.pdf

 
 

Press release - Forum on socio-economic development in the Far North region of Cameroon - May 25-27, 2021

Capture d’écran (161).png

On the occasion of the Forum, the actors at the regional level met in a framework of reflection and consultation on the overall strategy of socio-economic development of the Region to :

  • Discuss more broadly the public policies implemented in the Far North region for the socio-economic development of the region;

  • Highlight the links between BIP achievements (often with a social input) and local economic development;

  • Relay the recommendations from the BIP survey, debate them and formulate new ones (in the form of advocacy for the communes) to local elected officials so that they can bring the voice of the communities to members of parliament and to national and international decision-making bodies.

This forum constitutes an act of advocacy in favor of development that meets the real needs of the population of the Far North.

Capture d’écran 2021-05-28 à 15.34.52.png

FODEREN 1 restitution and advocacy workshop: presentation of the "Socio-Economic Development Strategy Paper for the Far North Region

 

What is FODEREN 1?

Following an internal study on the Public Investment Budget (PIB) of the Far North Region of Cameroon, which highlighted the low rate of involvement of communities in the implementation of projects from which they are direct beneficiaries, and at the initiative of the Diocesan Development Committee (DDC), partner of the project alongside Action Contre la Faim and CARE Cameroon,the RESILAC (Redressement Economique et Social du Lac Tchad) project organized the Forum on the Socioeconomic Development of the Far North Region of Cameroon (FODEREN) in May 2021. The objective of this meeting, which was part of a strategic approach, was to bring together beneficiaries, actors and experts in the field and in the region with a view to drawing up a new development strategy for the Far North of Cameroon.

For six days, three hundred and twenty-five participants from the six departments of the region met to discuss more broadly the public policies implemented in the Far North of Cameroon for the socio-economic development of the region as well as to highlight the links between the implementation of the Public Investment Budget (PIB) and local economic development. The objective is to develop a strategy to strengthen the resilience of the population and consolidate decentralization and development at the local level. 

Elaboration of the Socio-Economic Development Strategy Paper for the Far North Region

The FODEREN restitution and advocacy workshop, preceded by a two-day presentation of the roadmap of the new local development plan to the ministers and authorities concerned, was held on 21 and 22 October in Yaoundé, Cameroon. One hundred and forty people participated in the workshop whose objectives were to:

  • Present FODEREN to donors, embassies and technical and financial partners;

  • Decline the socio-economic development strategy of the Far North region of Cameroon;

  • Present the expectations of the Far North Regional Council to technical and financial partners.

The Socio-Economic Development Strategy Paper for the Far North Region of Cameroon, drawn up following the FODEREN1 , aims to consolidate and sustain RESILAC's actions by supporting the region's economic growth and improving the living conditions of the population through four main areas of intervention:

  • Human capital development to facilitate access to health, education, water and basic social services;

  • Economic development through the development of local product processing industries and the modernization of the agricultural sector;

  • Modernization of infrastructure to facilitate development;

  • Consolidation of good governance and environmental preservation practices in order to improve the resilience of communities in the face of climatic challenges that threaten food security in the Far North of Cameroon.

This strategy will be validated by the regional councillors of the Far North of Cameroon during the December 2021 session. In order to enrich the strategy document, the Chairman of the Regional Council and his team have embarked on a tour, which will take place from 15 to 25 November 2021, with the active and sectoral forces of the six departments in order to gather their observations. The final adoption of the Socio-Economic Development Strategy Paper of the Far North Region will take place during the December 2021 session.

What are the issues?

For RESILAC, the workshop was also an opportunity to highlight the success of the project's inclusive methodological approach based on local actors (beneficiaries), active forces (community leaders, CSOs, local elected officials), public authorities and religious authorities, and to contribute to the implementation of a development plan defined for the Far North region of Cameroon, It also contributed to the establishment of a development plan for the Far North region of Cameroon, a pioneer among the ten regions of Cameroon, as well as to perfect the process of community diagnosis with the certainty that the real needs of the beneficiary communities of the various projects will henceforth be taken into account in the BIPs and other development projects concerning them.

The implementation of this strategy will particularly enable the real needs of the communities of the Far North of Cameroon to be better taken into account in the development projects of the region by involving them in the elaboration of budgets aiming at the development of communal projects through their representatives and regional advisors.

Through the new "Socio-Economic Development Strategy for the Far North Region", RESILAC in Cameroon is no longer only responding to four communes in the Far North of Cameroon, but to the entire region.

Socio-economic development of Lake Chad: gender mainstreaming within RESILAC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 2020 in Chad, 80% of reported cases of GBV concerned assaults suffered by women. [2]  

If it is necessary and even sometimes vital to take care of survivors of GBV, it is also essential to involve all community actors in the fight against this violence. This is why in Niger, 16 village gender committees whose role is to ensure the protection of women and children and to identify cases of gender-based violence have been set up.

Composed of a village chief, a religious leader and three women elected by the community, the committees work with the latter to improve the consideration and involvement of women within them. Through the organization of awareness-raising sessions organized in collaboration with the regional directorate for the advancement of women and child protection and widely supported by religious and local leaders, men and women are encouraged to allow everyone to speak out during community consultations within common spaces for dialogue and to respect everyone's rights. .

Raising public awareness is certainly the first step in order to encourage behavioral change, but it is not enough to induce social change. Thus, with the aim of punishing the perpetrators of violence and dissuading any further action, the committees identify cases of GBV in the community in order to notify the competent municipal, departmental and regional services.  

 

“Since the establishment of village gender committees, women are more recognized in the communities. For example, one of the village chiefs granted a group of women supported by the project two hectares with a deed of donation so that they could grow and sell onions”.

 

In Chad, women victims can confide in women paralegals in listening centers and find the most appropriate solutions to the physical and moral abuse they suffer. All from the communities in which they operate, the women paralegals trained by the project in basic notions of law, listen to and advise women, bring them goodwill and help to find a solution with the community (religious leaders and village chiefs ) or justice depending on the seriousness of the facts reported.  

While GBV is often associated with physical violence, village committees and listening centers thus make it possible to identify verbal violence in the same way as physical violence.

However, although most GBV occurs within the home or community, it is also in the media that verbal abuse tends to be prevalent. Indeed, a cultural anchoring force, stereotypes, demeaning and misogynistic remarks are trivialized in everyday life and contribute to the perpetuation of gender-related inequalities. In Chad as in Niger, the radio, television and written media, highly appreciated by the populations, have a power of influence which gives them the ability to induce a change in social norms. This is why RESILAC, through the FCDO fund, trained 35 journalists in the gender approach, inclusive writing and the positive inclusion of women in current affairs and social issues. This is with the aim of bringing better visibility to women in current affairs and encouraging readers and listeners to reconsider their place in their household and society.

 

In order to overcome this discrimination, which is also a source of inter-community conflicts, agreements for the Management of Natural Resources (NRM) are proposed to the communities. These conventions, established in consultation with local authorities and communities on the basis of customary and state laws, provide specific responses accepted by all to conflicts in terms of distribution and access to natural resources. While at the beginning of the component on “empowerment of women and young people”, 21% of women had access to productive resources, they are now 34% to exploit these lands hitherto reserved for men.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whether in terms of social cohesion, access to land, socio-economic reintegration or even psychosocial follow-up, women and young people, although often relayed in the background, are a living and essential force for economic recovery. and social aspects of the Lake Chad Basin. Beneficiaries and staff working on the project are a clear example of this, such as Prisca, a community animator in Cameroon who is committed to the empowerment and resilience of women. In her testimony available HERE, she shares the resilience of these women at the heart of an economic, climatic and societal environment hostile to their autonomy.

 

[1] This component was created thanks to additional funding from FCDO covering Chad and Niger over a period of 12 months.

[2] Source: https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/TCD_UNHCR_Dashboard%20VBG_2020.pdf

[3] Regional study on the contrasting impacts of the security crisis on land situations in the Lake Chad region – INSUCO July 2020

WhatsApp Image 2021-03-05 at 16.51.19 (3).jpeg

Mother and child space on a HIMO construction site in Cameroon

Raising community awareness, allowing women to express themselves and setting up systems for reporting complaints and recording cases of violence is a first step towards the empowerment and resilience of women in the Lake Chad Basin. Giving them access to the means of production is one more step in their recognition and independence.

In rural areas, many women work in the fields, but are rarely tenants and even fewer owners. According to a study carried out [3] as part of the project on access to land, women have more difficulty accessing agricultural plots than men and have smaller areas than men: 50% of women's plots have an area of one hectare or less.

As most women of working age are mothers, childcare is essential to enable them to work. However, as this childcare is intrinsically their responsibility and recourse to nanny services being financially feasible, an additional obstacle is imposed on their financial autonomy. In order to overcome this obstacle,

"mother and child" spaces have been set up on the High Labor Intensity (HIMO) sites set up by RESILAC in Cameroon.

Within these spaces, mothers can have their children looked after free of charge by nannies in a secure place during their working time on these community asset rehabilitation sites. Mothers can free themselves at any time to breastfeed or spend some time with their children.

 
Femmes du village de Adebour allant au moulin. .jpg

The weight of social, cultural and religious norms weighs heavily on the shoulders of women in the Sahel. In the Lake Chad Basin, landlocked between Cameroon, Niger, Nigeria and Chad, the multiple crises they face reinforce their vulnerability and their dependence in the patriarchal context in which they evolve. In particular, through the component dedicated to the "empowerment of women and young people" [1] , RESILAC strengthens the empowerment, socio-economic integration and protection of women within the communities of the Lake Chad basin aimed at protection and financial independence of these women, pillars of the Region's development.

22.jpg

Market gardeners in a farmer school field in Chad

Beneficiaries of RESILAC in Niger