In its November 2018 published report the World Food Program (WFP) provides an outline of the goal to achieve “Zero Hunger and Eradicating Malnutrition by 2030” in Cameroon as required by the UN Sustainable Development Goal. According to researchers, Cameroon ranks 153 out of 188 in the Human Development Index (HDI) and 39% of its people live under the poverty line. The arrival of refugees into the country due to the ongoing conflict in neighboring areas and the spread of IDPs caused by Boko Haram harm doings are an additional burden to already existing vulnerable communities.
Next to the ongoing conflict and political instability, Cameroon (and in particular the North and Eastern regions) have experienced recurring climatic disasters which consequently limited the opportunities to escape poverty. Many regions have experienced food crises and climate shocks, such as floods and intense heat. These disasters, in combination with already present issues, such as poor infrastructure, land degradation, outdated agricultural practices, harvest losses and fragmented markets make it increasingly difficult for local communities to draw sustenance from their own soil.
According to recent reports, food security in Cameroon have been deteriorating since 2015 onwards. Malnutrition remains a prominent issue, as nearly one third of children under the age of 5 suffer from stunting. The high rate of malnutrition is a result of no access to nutritious food, diarrhea (and the consequent limitation of absorption of nutrients) and limited access to clean water. Although exact numbers per region are hard to determine, WFP reports indicate that the amount of people in need of food in the whole of Cameroon is estimated at 3.9 million individuals, including 211,000 people in need of immediate food supplies. USAid, an American international development agency, published a fact-sheet in February 2019 in which it indicates that a total of approximately 1.4 million people in the Northwest, Southwest and West regions will face stressed levels of acute insecurity in mid-2019. In addition, 286,000 individuals (7% of the three regions’ total population) will face severe nutrition crisis over the same period.
CAMAAY is resolved to support the communities affected by disasters, including refugees, internally displaced persons and host populations so that they have safe access to adequate and nutritious food during and after the crises. CAMAAY aims to achieve zero hunger and to improve the resilience of the vulnerable refugees and IDPs in the Northwest region of Cameroon by implementing the following strategies:
- Monitor overall situation, identify individuals suffering from malnutrition and assist local and international NGO’s and other organizations in the distribution of food rations to individuals in the afflicted areas.
- Provide direct food and nutritional assistance. In particular to the most vulnerable groups in the regions, such as infants, pregnant women and nursing women.
- Construction of food storages and warehouses aimed at the preservation of food for those in need, as well as the construction of wells and water storages in order to provide direct and long-term access to clean and safe water.
- Provide tools and other equipment for farmers and local communities.
- Strengthen the resilience of locals, IDPs and other individuals by means of training focused on current agricultural technology and practices, setting up agricultural resource centers and the teaching of marketing skills.
- Create regional networks and trips to successful agricultural areas for sharing knowledge, equipment and production of food and nutrients.
CAMAAY aims to implement the above-mentioned strategies to strengthen resilience building, to improve quality of livelihood and nutrition, to stabilize agricultural productivity, to reduce post-harvest losses, to reduce vulnerability to climate shocks such as droughts and floods, to achieve better gender and social inclusion and, lastly, to help smallholders in their search for market opportunities. CAMAAY aims to work together with local schools, the rural population, young people and many others to solve problems relating to food security by providing them with seeds, tools, equipment, training and other methods to produce nutrients in sufficient abundance to feed everyone in need, but also to generate an income with what is left over. By doing so, CAMAAY hopes achieve zero hunger and to facilitate the realization of the UN Sustainable Development Goal, as well as making farming easier, more productive and more profitable.