Community action in Cameroon
Foumbot is a small village in Cameroon’s West Region. It is currently home to hundreds of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), who have been forced to leave their home due to the current socio-political crisis in the North West and South West regions of Cameroon. Chevening officer Mireille Djob shares how the local alumni association ran an integrated outreach project to provide humanitarian assistance to over 850 IDPs currently based there.
The alumni association in Cameroon (known as CamChev) recently harnessed their professional expertise in the areas of health, legal aid, gender, and enterprise development to run a series of clinics and workshops.
As a result of the outreach, people have regained their health, learned how to better manage their menstrual cycles, learned where to go to in case of gender-based violence, and how to obtain their birth and marriage certificates.
It was a wonderful experience as over 350 IDPs and over 400 locals received free medical services, hundreds of others received free training on how to sustain their livelihoods in such chaotic circumstances. Sixty-one people attended the legal clinic, 380 people received medical support, and 83 women and girls took part in a menstrual hygiene management workshop. The success of the project was partly due to the time and effort spent planning it. The group raised some money from within their own network, as well as financial support from the British High Commission Yaounde. They also secured authorisation from the state and other stakeholders like community leaders, clerics, cultural associations, youth groups and the judiciary, both before and during the outreach.
As well as providing humanitarian assistance, CamChev wanted to make sure that their outreach had a long-term impact. Forty participants took part in an enterprise workshop, where alumni mentors worked with them to transform their ideas into thriving small businesses. These skills will help those who have been displaced by conflict to rebuild a livelihood for themselves. We were astounded by their resilience and hope about the future.
As a follow-up of the Foumbot event, the Sultan (traditional ruler) has requested to meet with the CamChev team so they can brief him and his community about the Chevening programme; and secondly to apply for a farmland which will be allocated to the IDPs in Foumbot.