CREATION OF CLUSTER INTEGRATED CENTRES (CICs) AROUND THE MOUNT CAMEROON NATIONAL PARK.
Providing sustainable socio-economic empowerment to local communities towards the management & preservation of the Mt. Cameroon forest
I am 18 years old or older.
Initiative's representative name
Arrah Emmanuel Arrah
Initiative's representative date of birth
Initiative's representative gender
Headquarters location: country
Headquarters location: city
Where are you making a difference?
Growth (have moved past the very first activities; working toward the next level of expansion)
Yearly Budget : What is your current yearly budget for the initiative?
1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this project to succeed.
I’ve been a Monitoring and Evaluations expert for over 8years, working on diverse conservation projects with institutions, including, the UN, GIZ . Working on various conservation programs, such as under the Programme for Sustainable Management of Natural Resources, South West Region (PSMNR-SWR), I realised that the issues of ownership and sustainability of the solutions proposed by the projects remain a challenge for these local communities. During focus group discussions and lessons learnt workshops, a number of solutions were often suggested and since the implementation was often left to be independently done, it became costly and economically unsustainable. The way forward was therefore to have a participatory approach to solutions.
2. The problem: What problem are you helping to solve?
The communities around the Mt Cameroon Park suffer the following:
Challenges in sufficiently generating funds, especially through alternative strategies to reverting to forest resources for livelihood; The challenge of community members taking ownership of the various income generating activities provided; Unsustainability of development strategies/activities; Post harvest losses; Poor marketing and sale of Income Generating Products; Lack of knowledge on improved farming techniques.
3. Your solution: How are you working to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.
A Cluster Integrated Centre (CIC) providing the following:
- Sustainable Ecotourism Centre
- Local Arts & Craft Centre
- Multipurpose Nursery
- Livestock Project (Each one give one)
- Marketing, Distribution, Sales and Promotion Plan
4. Innovation: How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solve the problem?
Firstly, the CIC concept is a novelty within these communities.
The project not only assists villagers in better crop yielding through improved agricultural techniques, but also in getting to a wider market and making more profits. This is through the use of technology with an online sale platform for a wider range for sale of products along the supply chain.
The arts and craft centres and sales outlets for extensive exposure for the community products and showcase of their culture.
Use of innovative conservation agricultural techniques
Provision of a Marketing and financial plan for community product sales
5. Collaboration: How does your initiative seek to bring key players together to preserve biodiversity?
The program adopts an inclusive and participatory approach from the preliminary to the evaluation and monitoring phase.
This is by involving all stakeholders (local authorities, community leaders, organisations, companies and the local people) in the consultations and trainings as regards aspects of nature conservation and income generating activities. In this light opinions are adequately sought and issues addressed according to the specific needs of the various stakeholders and beneficiaries; therefore encouraging socio-economic collaboration, and no sector feels left out.
6. Impact: how has your project made a difference so far — in terms of both business outputs and social impact? How do you plan on measuring progress?
So far, two livestock farms (for the domestication of pigs and Rabbits), exist in the Sanje and Bomana villages.
The project has a maize farm at Ekona village of about 4 hecters.
These farms have been rented out to small village groups, and in the past 3years, the maize farm has supplied over 25 tons of maize seed to the Southwest Development Authority (SOWEDA). This cumulatively yielded a profit of about 6million FCFA, shared through a revenue distribution strategy established between the farmers and the project.
There have also been agricultural trainings to farmers and seed materials for crop cultivation provided to farmers. eg under the Seed Multiplication Project in partnership with SOWEDA (Jan 2017 – Jan 2019), which trained over 200 farmers and resulted in the production of over 20tons of seed maize.
The farms have been able to generate direct income and sustenance for about 50 families within the past three years.
7. Growth strategies: what are your main strategies for scaling your impact?
Geographically, the project envisages further implementation in all the other cluster communities.
Accreditation: The CIC would employ strict criteria of having the produce grown through healthy/improved agricultural techniques to be accredited by the government.
Influence on Policy: Reports will be distributed to all stakeholders. Suggestions and recommendations from community groups would also be adequately channelled.
8. Creating shared value: How does your initiative create value for society? Or different stakeholders?
The project embraces the idea of pushing for environmental conservation while meeting the developmental needs of the communities concerned. Trainings and other project activities involve a mixture of strategies on forest preservation, healthy and more improved agricultural techniques, alternative food sources and income generating strategies; and mechanisms to improve revenue through marketing and sales.
9. Financial sustainability plan: can you tell us about your plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?
Through one-off sales transactions with individuals and a few institutions.
The renting of farm lands to villagers
Marketing and sales partnerships will be signed by the project, with farmer/trader groups; as well as with institutions that will be needing regular supply of the diverse farm products. This will help to build ready markets and generate funds on a regular bases.
The Ecotourism Centre will provide some paid services to tourists, and therefore help to generate income. The Arts and Craft centre too, will act as a museum and shopping centre, and therefore help to generate income from the products exhibited. The sale of these artistic products in different sales outlets outside the communities will also help to generate funds.
10. Team: what is the current composition of your current team (types of roles, qualifications, full-time vs. part-time, board members, etc.), and how do you plan to evolve the team’s composition as the project grows?
Project Manager -Coordinate the entire project & partnerships Project management Full time (FT)
Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Officer -Follow-up implementation, M&E FT
Communications Officer -Prepare correspondences, Coordinate the circulation of information, Reporting, Publicity - Communication
Accounts Officer -Collect and disburse finance, Coordinate the collection, use and disbursement of funds and other resources -Accounts management FT
11. How did you hear about this challenge?