• Call Us +237 674215497

Daily Archives: December 4, 2016

World Environment Day 2014

World Environment Day 2014

 

dscn4042

World Environment Day 2014

World Environment Day 2014 as marked by the United Nations (UN) was celebrated internationally on June 5th 2014. As an organisation concerned with the protection of the environment, OGCEYOD staff and volunteers felt compelled to join in the campaign with this year’s theme: Raise your voice, not the sea level! This year’s World Environment Day was focused especially on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) but the problem of rising sea levels is also a great concern for African coastal states including Cameroon. OGCEYOD is based in Limbe, a town which is also being greatly affected by sea level rise so as an organisation we decided to concentrate on the impact of sea level rise on our local community.

OGCEYOD staff conducted research into the effect of sea level rise (SLR) on a global, national and local scale. It was discovered that the sea rose approximately 10-25cm in the last 100 years and that this trend is set to increase this century. According to UN Water, a third of the world’s population of 7 billion live within a hundred kilometres of the ocean, leaving many of them subject to coastal flooding every year. The burden is especially severe in developing countries and small island states. SLR affects a number of African countries which have coastlines. It was also established that mangrove swamps, which are incredibly important ecologically because they provide spawning and nursery grounds for many coastal fish species. They also serve as the habitats for some of the crustaceans and molluscs. It was noted that Cameroon’s coastline, especially around Limbe is characterised by mangroves and that we should ensure that they are protected. Mangroves that could protect Cameroon from rising seas may be subject to more pressure than they can bear, as people migrating to the country’s southwestern coast clear trees at a rate so fast they can’t regenerate. The trees’ roots spread across a large area, soaking up water and encouraging sedimentation. Furthermore, in Cameroon, where 25% of the population (4 million people) live in coastal lowlands (6.5% of the total area), SLR will have a profound effect on some of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas and ecologically important coastal wetlands. As a high proportion of the population live in coastal towns such as Douala (with a population of 2.5 million), Kribi, Limbe and Tiko. The phenomenon of sea level rise is likely to have a significant impact on Cameroon’s coastal population as its 402km coastline is dominated by low-lying, swampy geomorphic features of beaches, extensive creeks and lagoon formations. Three-quarters of those living in coastal towns live on strips on land a thousand metres or less from the shoreline and many just a meter above sea-level. Therefore, it is clear that rising sea levels are having, and will continue to pose a threat to our environment, biodiversity and human populations. It was clear that Cameroon, and Limbe and a coastal town, is being affected so this year’s World Environment Day theme: ‘Raise Your Voice, Not the Sea Level’ is especially relevant for us here at OGCEYOD Cameroon.

OGCEYOD volunteers decided the best way to address World Environment Day was first to ensure that everyone in OGCEYOD were well versed on the impact of sea level rise on a global level, within Africa, Cameroon and more specifically Limbe. Rosa and Maxilinos researched the impact on SLR on Cameroon and Maxilinos presented the findings in a short expose to the office on June 5th, World Environment Day itself. OGCEYOD members also wore green on this day and made a banner to mark World Environment Day. We decided that we needed to inform the community about the impact of SLR on Limbe and the whole of Cameroon. We also wanted to promote environmentally friendly practices to reduce the impact of flooding as the rainy season is now upon us. Therefore, volunteers spent the day hand-making colourful flyers which would be used to inform the public of World Environment Day 2014, its theme and the impact on Limbe, the South West Region and Cameroon as a whole. The flyers also contained advice about how to protect the local environment such as: ‘don’t throw dirty in our gutters, it contributes to flooding!’ and ‘let’s stop cutting down our trees’. On Monday 9th, OGCYEOD volunteers went to the field to distribute flyers, taking with them the World Environment Day banner that had been prepared. The team went to Down Beach, Limbe to engage with the public. The location was chosen as it is a place where people often go to relax but also because it is an area greatly devastated due to flooding during the rainy season. It proved a great opportunity to all volunteers to engage with the public and relay the information they had learned during the World Environment Day training session. It also boosted the confidence of many volunteers as they were encouraged to talk to people they didn’t know on their own. Soon all the volunteers had run out of flyers and between us we had sensitised nearly everybody around the Down Beach area. After a quick discussion, the OGCEYOD team decided they wanted to continue to sensitise the local community so devised a strategy that didn’t require the flyers. The team moved to the Bukaroo area of Down Beach where Max gathered groups of people who listened to him talking about the impact of Sea Level Rise and what we as individuals can do to try to prevent it. He spoke enthusiastically in Pidgin and successfully engaged with several different groups including women working at the fish stalls and some young men in a bar. Overall the sensitisation campaign was deemed a great success as we were able to reach groups which are hard to access through our typical community sensitisation programme. All involved in the World Environment Day programme declared the day a great success and expressed a desire to use the strategy in the future. Whilst spreading the message and educating the public, the grassroots approach used gave confidence to the volunteers whilst also uniting them as a team.

 

dscn4069 dscn4067 dscn4061 dscn4060 dscn4023 dscn4021 dscn4016 dscn3980 32

In Between Magazine

In Between Magazine

dscn3570

In Between Magazine

After months of struggling with funding, OGCEYOD were finally pleased to produce 2014’s first copy of the In Between magazine. In Between project coordinator Rosa Hopkins timed the production of the magazine to coincide with May 20th National Day Celebrations. This proved extremely successful and made marketing the magazine extremely easy as we were able to sell at the march pass. A team of 5 OGCEYOD members went to the march pass to sell, distributing themselves amongst the crowd to ensure maximum visibility. Later in the day, In Between members themselves came to assist in the selling of the magazine. Most of the 500 copies of the magazine which had been printed were sold on National Day itself. The theme of this issue was on culture and featured articles on Bakweri culture and bilingualism in Cameroonturing old favourites such as Aunty Summer, recipes and poems.  The magazine also featured a new section: ‘Advice to Youth’ which focused on friendship, time management and how to successfully study. Although it had been a long time since In Between had been printed, students had not forgotten about the magazine and were keen to hear that ‘funtime’ was inside. Everyone also seemed excited to read the lyrics to Davido’s ‘Aye’ inside. After a long day selling around the Down Beach area, we called it a day. The remainder of the week was spent selling In Between at Secondary Schools. It was a good time to sell as it was the last week of term before secondary schools broke up for the school holidays. OGCEYOD staff and volunteers went to UNIC Secondary School, Kulu Memorial Academy, Presbyterian Youth Centre, Women’s Empowerment Centre, National Comprehensive High School as well as selling to students from Government High School and Government Bilingual High School who were walking home. Overall, the magazine was incredibly well received and the dedicated In Between members were happy to receive their copies. Now that schools have finished for the Summer holidays informal meetings are taking place at the OGCEYOD office. Thanks to fundraising from former OGCEYOD volunteers Louisa Well and Laura Hallsworth, we now have the funding in place to produce a ‘back to school’ edition in September.

To celebrate the end of the school year and the production of the latest edition of In Between, the In Between team paid a visit to Limbe Botanical Gardens for a picnic. So on May 26th, the magazine team shared food and drink in the beautiful setting of the gardens. They relaxed together, shared jokes and stories from the past year. It was an excellent opportunity for the In Between team to relax together outside of the weekly meetings.

 

dscn3574 dscn3586 dscn3601 dscn3611 dscn3627 dscn3628 dscn3629

Book donations

Book donations

 

img_0027

Books and Material Donations in the South West and North West Region

OGCEYOD has been working in partnership with the American-based NGO called ‘Teach a Dream’ to facilitate the donation of books to schools in Cameroon. OGCEYOD visited many nursery, primary and secondary schools in the South West and North West Region of Cameroon which was also for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal on universal primary education. OGCEYOD also donated books to 20 schools in the South West Region and to 15 schools in the North West Region. In Limbe OGCEYOD staff and volunteers facilitated the donation of books to:

Government Nursery School Down Beach, Spring of Wisdom Primary School, Kofele Luma Memorial Academy, Aunt Lizzy’s Christian Educational Foundation (ALCEF), Government Nursery and Primary School Towe, Carl Steane Primary School, Solution Centre, Peddy Bilingual Nursery and Primary School, Government Nursery and Primary School Mukundange.

The books were officially donated to the schools and OGCEYOD were invited to look around the various schools and visit the school library which is often a single bookshelf in the principal’s office. OGCEYOD volunteers conducted interviews with students, teachers and the principals of the schools to send to Teach a Dream. Many of those interviewed expressed sincere thanks for the donation of the books and promised that they would be well used and looked after. Several of the children told us the donated books that they had already read and that they really enjoyed them. Teachers and principals told OGCEYOD that they hoped to receive more books in the future as they significantly aid the learning of their pupils and encourage extra-curricular reading. Tackling Cameroon’s low reading culture is something OGCEYOD is also seeking to address in its ‘In Between’ and ‘Read Beyond Borders’ projects. Principals also expressed a desire to receive additional learning materials from Teach a Dream as well as external support in the form of teachers and teacher training. Each donation ceremony concluded with a family photo whereby students, teachers and OGCEYOD staff were photographed with the donated books.

img_0030 img_0029 dscn2053 dscn2050 dscn1971 dscn1940 dscn1929 dscn1926 dscn1920 dscn1911 dscn1904 dscn1876 dscn1844 dscn1841 dscn1835 100_6228

 

OGCEYOD Falcon: The Superkids!

OGCEYOD Falcon: The Superkids!

 

100_1819

 

The “OGCEYOD – Falcons” is a project involving children from CBC Main Primary School in Limbe. They meet weekly, to learn about environmental, gender, health and hygiene issues and to play some fun team-building cooperative games. The project aims to sensitise children about important issues that have an impact on themselves and others around them, or that even have global consequences. One goal of the project is to provide a fun experience by doing so. The project takes education out of the classroom and puts it into real life, combining it with games and recreation. The cooperative games the children play strengthen their group dynamic and teach them teamwork.

The children of today are the adults of tomorrow. No matter what role they will play, they are the people who will form society in a couple of years. But they will be facing a large amount of problems produced by older generations. Some of which this generation may have already began to tackle. As adults it is our responsibility to prepare them for what it is coming at them in the future, and to educate them so they can pick up solving the current problems where we left off. Over the past years many environmental issues have evolved and even grown more and more problematic, having effects like for example climate change. Problems that are of environmental nature have global consequences. Because of this it is getting more and more important to educate children and youths on the environmental issues people are facing today and to make the efforts others are making to solve these problems visible to them. Gender equality and violence against women are also global issues. Teaching children about women’s rights and the importance of having respect for women and other people in general helps to build a new generation of young women and men who have the knowledge and sensibility to help end violence against women. Hygiene and sanitation are important topics that are directly linked to health. Sensitisation in these areas is crucial, as many diseases which affect people here are linked to hygiene conditions. An educated and sensitised youth is a healthy one. Last but not least, children need time for recreational activities.  A good balance between study-time and fun-time keeps them motivated and gives them the room to test their strengths and their weaknesses, to find out where their talents lie and to pursue them. It gives them room to develop and to become the people they truly are.

The “OGCEYOD – Falcons” group at CBC Main was launched in January 2014. After a seemingly endless discussion the group agreed to give themselves the name “Superkids”. They also came up with their own set of rules. The purpose of this was to make the children think about how an environment of mutual respect and solidarity should look like and how they want to be treated by others. Though the participation was high and they were very enthusiastic about this task, this undertaking cannot be described as a success. Rather than giving thought to what makes sense to them they seemed to automatically recite standard rules that they are used to from school, and that they have been taught are important rules. Having worked with these children for a longer period of time now, one task we will set ourselves in the future is to have them come up with a new set of rules, putting a stronger emphasis on what they think is right themselves, rather than what they have learned is right.

The topics that have been covered with the group so far concern the environment as well as gender issues and women’s rights. The Superkids are very enthusiastic about participating in discussion in all areas we have covered so far. And they really seem to think about the things we discuss with them. Often in the next session they will come back with questions they have thought about since the last session. They are already very fit on environmental issues. The topic of gender issues still leaves a lot room for sensitisation and discussion. Further, they have been learning the meanings of the words “freedom, friendship, justice, unity and peace” with the help of “The Mighty Song of Peace”. As enthusiastic as the Superkids are about discussion and the opportunity to speak their mind, there is no comparison to their excitement about singing, cooperative games and creative activities. They sing The Mighty Song of Peace and the Flower Song at the top of their lungs, and there are no words to describe their excitement for the cooperative games we play with them. Concentration and a quiet peaceful atmosphere almost instantly kicked in when they got the task of drawing Women’s Day cards for their mothers, grandmothers, sisters, or any other woman in their life they would want to honour on this day. Other topics that we have planned for them, but have yet to cover are health and hygiene, as well as some educational activities about women who had a great ideas, as well as Africans who have had an impact.

Though there is still room for discussion and more sensitisation in some areas, so far the progress of the programme can be evaluated as success. There have been lively and surprisingly controversial discussions about many different topics. The children are very excited about the chance to speak their mind. This shows that the ideas children have are not to be underestimated. It may be surprising what can come out of a child’s mouth when they get the chance to express their ideas. So watch out world! When these children grow up they are sure to have an impact on society.

100_1833 100_1846 bild-005 bild-006 bild-007 bild-008 bild-009 bild-010 bild-019 bild-023 bild-024 bild-025

 

One Billion Rising for Justice – Cameroon

One Billion Rising for Justice – Cameroon

 

100_1753

One Billion Rising for Justice – Cameroon

Violence against Women is a global issue. All around the world women are molested, battered and raped inside and out of their homes, by strangers, by intimate partners, by their husbands or by other family members. UN statistics state that at least one third of all women of the world have been subject to gender related violence at least once in their lives. February 14th, 2014 marked the second global “One Billion Rising” action day. The “One Billion” in the campaign title stands for the third of all women populating the world who have experienced gender related violence at some point in their lives. The day of action also carries the alternative title “V-Day”. This is a direct homage to “V(agina)-Action-Days” of 1998, as February 14th, 2013 which was the date of the first “One Billion Rising” action day, marked the 15th anniversary of this campaign. The “V(agina)-Action-Days” we’re triggered by a statement the conservative US politician Todd Akin made. He stated, that abortion is immoral and should not be allowed, even in the case of pregnancy through rape. He further argued, that a woman’s body was only capable of getting pregnant if she enjoyed it.

In Cameroon more than half of women (55%) have experienced physical violence, mostly perpetrated by current or most recent husbands, brothers or sisters, mothers, fathers, or step-parents. For 20% of Cameroonian women engaging in sexual intercourse, their first time was by force, the same goes for  the 30% of those who had their first sexual experience before reaching the age of 15. 60% of the women in Cameroon who have been married have experienced physical, sexual or emotional violence from their current or most recent husband. Of those who have experienced marital violence 43% have had injuries as a result. Wife battering and marital rape, like the forms of gender based violence already displayed, are consequences of an attitude of treating women like property. This attitude is also reproduced and promoted by things like the husband’s right to punish his wife with physical violence, the “bride price” or “bride’s worth” which for one tends to give the husband the impression of having “bought” his wife, but also degrades a woman to an object you can put a price on.

All of this is why we decided, that Cameroon has to be a part of the “One Billion Rising” Campaign. So we put together our own “Rising” at the Women Empowerment Center in Limbe, on February 14th, 2014. We made designs for t-shirts and had them printed, we distributed flyers at bars and clubs on ladies night, rented a sound system and got the Women Empowerment Center as venue. When the day of the 14th had come, we were ready to go. The Rising was opened with a word of prayer by  Mrs. Mboh. She was followed by our Executive Director Elvis Wepngong introducing OGCEYOD and explaining the importance of gender sensitive education. After his introduction it was time for a speech by the Delegate of Women Empowerment and the Family. She spoke about different forms of violence women have to face in Cameroon. But she did not only speak about domestic violence, but also about the economic and emotional violence women have to deal with, as well as pseudo-solution strategies they have to put up with here. After her heartfelt speech it was the project coordinator Maike Möllendorfs turn to introduce the campaign and it’s goals. What it is, what it is meant to do, and it’s history. After the speeches the women participating in the rising got the chance to stand up and make their stories heard. Two courageous women seized this opportunity and told their sad stories. The first woman to speak told the story of how she ended up in an abusive relationship with an unfaithful man, after loosing her parents at a very young age, and also gave inspiration by telling the round about 150 participants how she got out of it. The second woman to speak up was the President of the Social Widow’s Association. She told the horrible story of a woman who had faced extremely degrading widowhood rites after her husband’s death. In the course of this rite a young plantain was inserted into her vagina and she had to sleep on plantain leaves for one month. For this whole time she was not allowed to bath herself, the young plantain was also not removed until the month was over. After these women had told their stories, it was time to lighten the mood and  for OGCEYOD’s Ndifang Gisele to teach the “Break the Chain” dance, which goes with Tena Clark’s song of the same title to the participants. The song was specially composed for the “One Billion Rising” campaign, and next to the content of the campaign it is an additional link between the different Risings worldwide. The women participated enthusiastically, and after Elvis Wepngong’s closing words the women started to stream out the courtyard of the Center.

This event leaves us excited and motivated to keep working on the issue of domestic violence and stepping it up another level to help women find solutions for these kinds of situations.

wp_20140214_023 dscn2318 dscn2303 dscn2300 dscn2298 dscn2297 dscn2293 dscn2290 dscn2289 dscn2272 dscn2221 dscn2219 dscn2213 100_1754

 

DONATION OF A PROJECT VEHICLE

DONATION OF A PROJECT VEHICLE

 

wp_20150519_003

NEW PROJECT VEHICLE AT OGCEYOD

The organization recently acquired a brand new 4×4 Toyota Hilux vehicle to facilitate project activities especially in the rural areas were poor roads are the order of the day. This vehicle was purchased with donated funds from MIVA Switzerland who support transport or/and communication equipment.

img_1552

img_1564 img_1577 img_1584 img_1590 wp_20150821_046 wp_20150821_049 wp_20150908_010

FAIR TRADE CERTIFICATION FOR COCOA COOPERATIVES IN CAMEROON

FAIR TRADE CERTIFICATION FOR COCOA COOPERATIVES IN CAMEROON

 

img_0024

FAIR TRADE CERTIFICATION FOR COCOA COOPERATIVES IN CAMEROON 

A two day workshop organized by the Organization for Gender, Civic Engagement and Youth Development (OGCEYOD) and funded by the British High Commission started on the 24th of September 2013 at Vianello Hotel, Kumba. Twenty-six representatives of Cooperatives and Common Initiative Groups (CIGs) were invited from cocoa producing regions of Cameroon to learn dialogue and network on a common platform with the purpose of sensitizing them on how to get a Fairtrade certification and its requirement so as to access the world market as Small Producer Organizations (SPOs).

The workshop started with an opening speech by the Executive Director of OGCEYOD Mr Elvis Wepngong, thanking the attendees and expressing his appreciation towards their presence at this workshop, giving a briefing on cocoa fair trade, the resolution of the workshop and its goals. A second speech was given by the Regional Delegate of Agriculture and Rural Development’s representative. He called on all a sundry to make adequate use of the knowledge they will be acquiring and not to sleep over what they have learn especially to upgrade on their cocoa quality and the use of the Fair trade system.

The Liaison Officer of Fair trade for Cameroon and Mali Mr Colbert Sagne started with the first presentation on “Fair Trade System”. He threw light on the following: FLO Vision and mission, actors in the fair trade system, fair trade members, overall fair trade system and fair trade cooperatives. Followed was the second presentation on the theme “Benefits of Fair trade”. The facilitator dealt on the following except; before certification, producer service support, producer certification fund, review of fair trade market prices, benefit of the premium and fair trade Africa.

At 2:00 pm the third presentation began still by Mr Colbert Sagne with theme “The Producer Certification Fund”. Here, the participants were taught on the eligibility criteria for applicants, PCF fund, overview of PCF granted in 2012/2013, standard operating producers for PCF, needed information on application form when to apply and unsuccessful applicant. The last presentation of the day started at exactly 16:00 on the topic “Production, Treatment and Exportation of Certified Cocoa by KONAFCOOP”.

Day two of the training started at 8:22am. Mr Colbert Sagne at exactly 9:05 am took off with the first presentation of the day on the topic “Fair trade Requirements”. He dwells on fair trade standards, generic standard, specific standard, general requirement and trade requirement. This was followed by further explanations on how products can be separated through traceability, about farmers checking on the internet for the substances which are not permitted for usage on cocoa farms and how to identify the fake ones .The facilitator Mr Colbert Sagne continued with the second presentation on the topic “Child Labour and Child Protection”. The participants were enlightened on what exactly child abuse was and the different criteria that embody this subject, such as why do children work? Child labour in Cameroon, UN Convention on child rights, fair trade and child labour, child protection and fair trade and child protection.

The last presentation was on the topic “Fair trade Certification Cost and Procedure” This being the last presentation, the session continued with the division of the participants into four groups. The presentations began with the presentation by group four which worked on the topic of “Recommendations for a way forward” which also served as resolutions. Next was group 3 on “An outline on the challenges in the entire certification system”. Group two’s presentation was “To enlist the required documents to apply for a FLO-CERT fund”. And finally group one presented on “Articulate the steps in acquiring a Fair trade Certification”.

An appraisal was given on behalf of the participants on their gratitude concerning the training workshop by Chief Motto Divine.

The workshop then received an official closing with a word from the Executive Director of OGCEYOD Mr Elvis Wepngong. He expressed the ambitions of the organisation towards the cooperatives, the projects on which they are presently working on that are in this same light and the efforts the farmers will have to make as this will require participation from both parties. He ended by thanking them for their participation and wished them farewell.

On the 22nd November 2013, volunteers and staff from OGCEYOD visited the village of Bai Manya, a village close to Kumba in the South West Region of Cameroon. The purpose of the visit was the official opening of a cocoa oven in the village. The project was sponsored by the British High Commission and overseen by OGCEYOD. A cocoa oven was built in Bai Manya so that the quality of cocoa could be improved to meet international standards, therefore benefitting inhabitants of Bai Manya and surrounding villages. The oven that was constructed was designed to make the cocoa produced fairtrade certified which means that those producing cocoa in the area will be paid a fair wage for their labour. Therefore, the village and the wider community will be able to greatly benefit from the construction of the oven.

Getting to Bai Manya was challenging due to the poor road conditions; some of OGCEYOD reached the village by motorbike and others in a pickup truck. The whole village were waiting for OGCEYOD and the Deputy British High Commissioner who was to officially open the oven. Villagers met the cars of some OGCEYOD staff and of the Deputy High Commissioner with dressed in traditional clothing and singing and dancing in accordance with tradition. They then officially greeted notables in the village and those who had been involved in the construction and management of building the oven. Everyone enjoyed more traditional singing and dancing. Before the official programme began, women from Bai Manya took the Deputy British High Commissioner to get dressed in traditional clothing. The Deputy High Commissioner emerged wearing a cabba in a local fabric. The whole village were gathered to hear speeches from the chief of Bai Manya, Elvis Wepngong the director of OGCEYOD and the deputy British High Commissioner. The chief of Bai Manya highlighted how the oven would benefit the community and he expressed gratitude to OGCEYOD and the British High Commission for their involvement in and sponsorship of the project. The Deputy British High Commissioner thanked the village for their warm welcome and spoke of how pleased she was to have been part of the project and that she hoped the village would benefit from its use.

After the speeches, everyone moved towards the oven which had been decorated with ribbons by OGCEYOD volunteers. Everybody present watched as the Deputy British High Commissioner ceremoniously cut the ribbon that had been placed across the threshold of the oven. Now that the oven was officially open, OGCEYOD staff and the Deputy British High Commissioner were given a tour of the oven, had its functions explained and asked questions. Once the oven had been surveyed, the group had a family photo taken. Traditional singing and dancing accompanied the Deputy British High Commissioner back to the car so she could continue her travels.

 

img_0023 img_0025 img_0030 img_0032 img_0046 img_0048 img_0088 img_0104