TRAP-GRN and capacity building sessions

Riparian populations  beneficiaries of capacity-building sessions  from the TRAP-GRN project take action ! TRAP-GRN and capacity building sessions

The populations of the villages of Moungue, Gwap, Nkollo and Bella, who benefited from training sessions  in October and November 2016 have not remained idle after the said sessions. The ambition being to equip them with skills and knowledge that will enable them to keep a citizen’s watch on activities for the purposes of agro-industrial and mining operations in their localities.

These training sessions were a response not only to the needs expressed by the local populations, but also to the relevant findings  drawn  from the  field work. They know little about their land rights and the benefits they can derive from the allocation of land for agro-industrial and mining activities. They are also poorly organized and generally don’t know how to make claims.

At the end of these training sessions, some of the post-training resolutions adopted by them are being implemented. These include the creation of a single mixed association bringing together the four villages concerned by the Biopalm land concession, whose statutes and regulations are currently being drawn up. This association will include both Bantu and Bagyeli members.

Other initiatives, such as the meeting of representatives of the Bella village population with the Ministers of Lands, Cadastre and Land Affairs, Justice and the Keeper of the Seals, etc., to denounce the land grabbing to which they are subjected, have also been taken. Following these meetings, the Minister of Domains, Cadastre and Land Affairs ordered a fact-finding mission led by his department’s Head of Concessions from January 19 to 20. The purpose of the mission was to gather all the necessary documentation from the competent authorities and the people of Bella, in order to better manage and find an appropriate solution to the issue of land sell-off and spoliation in the locality.

In addition, the people of this village approached their chief to find out more about the share of land royalties they should be receiving from the concession awarded to the BIOPLAM company in 2012, on reading the decree. They have stated that they have encountered numerous obstacles to date in getting the draft by-laws of the Village Development Committee legalized by the administrative authorities.

Such actions reflect the beginnings of the local population’s  appropriation of what they have learned from the training and  awareness of their  responsibility to defend their rights and  interests in the face of various land transfers and land grabs by multinationals as well as by nationals. By way of reminder, the themes covered included the fundamentals of land and mining legislation, the monitoring by local people of the contractual obligations of agro-industrial and mining companies towards them, citizen watch, group dynamics and local advocacy.

Local populations are at the forefront of the critical mass of actors capable of making demands and proposals to the government and parliament to strengthen transparency and participation in the allocation and management of land and mining concessions. Ongoing monitoring and support for these  in  the initiatives they undertake  is of the utmost importance. This will ensure that they really take ownership of what they learn, and that they are able to denounce and demand, but above all  to formulate relevant proposals and hold a coherent discourse at the discussion table with decision-makers.

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