Fighting food insecurity

And the fight against food insecurity in Cameroon’s Far North continues…

For decades, Cameroon’s Far North region has been plagued by cyclical hazards, which have had a negative impact on agricultural yields and food supplies for the region’s populations. In recent years, the massive influx of refugees from the Boko Haram Islamist sect has exacerbated food insecurity. Against this backdrop, RELUFA has set up several cereal banks within communities, most recently in the villages of Gouringuel, Mounoum, Parwai and Djaindi, all located around the Minawao refugee camp in the Mokolo district.

RELUFA provided an initial endowment of 250 100kg bags of cereals to serve firstly as immediate food aid for the July-September 2016 lean season, and secondly as working capital for the coming years. To accompany this endowment, RELUFA assisted the communities in setting up cooperatives and organized capacity-building sessions for the management committees, notably on keeping accounting records and financial management. In addition, RELUFA has once again encouraged the integration of women into granary management committees to increase their capacity for participation and action. Two groups are exclusively female, while the other two are mixed (men, women). Men and women are equally represented on management committees. Generally speaking, women are excluded from decision-making spheres and are not involved in the management of community affairs. However, an evaluation of the cereal bank system shows that women play a vital role in ensuring the sustainability of this operation. They are highly effective in managing the granaries, and their involvement improves the level of repayment.

To date, there are 4640 beneficiaries, 60% of whom are girls and women. At the same time, almost 22% of beneficiaries are children aged between 0 and 5. Knowing that this is the age group most affected by malnutrition, and that malnutrition is caused not only by the quality of the food, but also by the reduction in the number of meals, these cereal banks contribute to the fight against this scourge.

Some refugees also wanted to stock up in the community granaries. As the stock level was low and they had not been taken into account, they had to fall back on the families who had borrowed from the granary to beg for small quantities of cereals. As a result, communities are under considerable pressure. Pending the voluntary repatriation of refugees, for which an agreement is currently being signed between Cameroon and Nigeria, there is an urgent need for actions that would benefit both refugees and host communities to ensure their survival and recovery

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