Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Agriculture Students Research In Soppo –Likoko, Fako

By Mike Achanyi-Fontem
Faculty of Agriculture
University of Buea
South West region Cameroon
Soppo -Likoko village was the focus of the farmers outreach research activity of agriculture students of the Anglophone University of Buea, in the south west region of Cameroon from the 9th-16th February 2012. The field trip consisted of selecting a village and discussing small scale farming activities with the inhabitants and identifying the village extension agent and the zonal extension worker assisting the farmers in the expansion of activities in the village. The students were asked to describe the farmers’ experiences working with the extension workers and to learn the extent to which the extension agent was able to address the agricultural and the non-agricultural concerns of the farmers.
Soppo-Likoko is a small village fount above the foot of Mount Fako with over 572 inhabitants. The village has a total surface area of about 62 hectares and the population is involved in basically subsistence farming.

Field Investigation
According to Pa Ngalle Lionga Edwards met on the field, men, women and youths are equally involved in agriculture and all practice various cropping systems with the hope of getting good yields.(no specificities in farming activities).
He explained that when there is excess of production as compared to expected yields, the surplus is taken to the market and marketed by the women and the youths. Furthermore, in this community, women like men are given equal right to land ownership. Both have equal rights to land purchase in the case where the land is not inherited by the buyer.
Though there is no clear distinction between men, women and youth farming activities in Soppo- Likoko village, very few youths are actively involved in farming activities due to rural-urban exodus.
The people in this community face a lot of problems, but the three top needs/demand which farmers would like extension workers to address are: the supply of electricity and the improvement of transport facilities to evacuate farm products to markets. Soppo Likoko population is in ardent need of a health facility to care for th sick in the village. Concerning the issue of electricity, prior to the presidential elections of 2004, AES SONEL planted electric poles, which have never seen the installation of supply transformers. This problem has resulted to rural-urban migration of the young farmers who want to listen and play music, watch Tv, and listen to radio regularly like their peers in the big towns and cities of Cameroon.
Being at the foot of Mount Cameroon, the village has a crude dark rocky and black earth motorable road that goes through Tole, where Cameroon tea is farmed and packaged. The road which links the village to its major Soppo market is non-motorable due to several obstacles including pot holes and an uncompleted bridge, which is not good vehicle circulation. This makes it difficult for the farmers to transport their produce to the market. Mr. Ekema Andreas told the story of the loss of about two baskets of tomatoes out of five in the course of transporting his farm earned yield to the market.
Soppo-Lokoko village has a population of about 572 inhabitants. Since it has no health centre , persons who fall are forced to move long distances to get to the nearest health centres. In case of emergency or illness, it is often difficult to find a solution. We were reported the case of a pregnant woman who gave birth on the uncompleted bridge, that was pinpointed by Mr. Ngalle Edwards, an elder of the village, when describing the worries of the population.
The people of Soppo-Likoko have been opportune to have two extension workers. There is an extension worker for livestock rearing activities and another for crop production. The activities of the crop production extension worker consists of coaching farmers on new methods and techniques of planting plantains, corn, oil palms among others crops grown in the village. The livestock extension worker in the village is from ISEFA, which is a branch of agriculture related to livestock research.
The livestock extension workers in this community is introducing new methods of rearing pigs, which include confining the pigs in a particular area, applying better feeding methods that require feeding the pigs twice a day.

Role of Extension WorkersExtension workers attached to the South West region of Cameroon have been attributed into the following extension zones of action: BOJONGO, BYIYUKU, BOLIFAMBA, LYSOKA, MUEA, BOKOVA and BONAKANDA
Soppo-Likoko is under the Great Soppo area which falls under Bolifamba.Based on the fact that Bolifamba has only one extension worker, who is Mrs. Ayuk Ernestine Ayuk, her tasks are multiple due to the fact that she has so many areas to handle among which is Soppo- Likoko.
According to Mr. ELAME GERMAIN, Delegate of Agriculture in the South West region met on the field, extension service operates through the TRAINING AND VISITING SYSTEM (T&V),where a technical package is delivered to the farmers based on their needs which are gotten from the farmers in their different groups. Some of the groups are:
Farmers House CIG Soppo led by Mr. ANDRE
Vegetable Women CIG led Mrs. B. REBECCA and
Socio-economic Venture CIG
According to Mrs. CATHERINE MAKA, the extension agent for Tole, BYIYUKU, during the October and November 2012 period, the package for next year is planned and established.
The 2011 package included the following:
Rapid multiplication of plantain suckers through the PIF Technique in propagator, which has proven to be the most successful Theme/package, as this has contributed greatly to the availability of High-Quality-Plantain suckers for FAKO, MEME and other divisions in the South West region of Cameroon.
Rapid multiplication of Yam seedlings in Great Soppo through the MINISETT Technique.
The control of CECOSPORA in Plantain which has also been successful. The control of CECOSPERA in Citrus plants (oranges, lemon, lime, grapes).
The problems faced by the extension workers include the following:-
Insufficient finance for transportation and fuel.-
The reluctance of farmers to adopt innovations

Sharing of Experiences
The experience men, women and youths receive working with the extension worker in this village was observed to be very limited. On the part of the youths, it was observed that they failed to attend meetings, giving as excuse that they had to go to school.
For the men and the women, very few attended meetings. This is due to the fact that the extension worker failed to fulfill their promises such as providing farmers with farming materials like hoes, water cans, rain boots, cutlasses, trucks, wheel barrows and other items. It is best practice that farmers of this community are assisted. The communication between the extension worker and the villagers is not fluid, since the interest of the extension worker is in the production of export crops, which he considers pay more for a long period. The smallholder farmer is more interested in the improvement of food crops production.
The package presented to them by the extension workers is in accordance with their needs though they think differently. However, Failure in the fulfillment of objectives is due to several reasons, amongst which, is the fact that the crop extension worker visited the village only after one or more years, while the livestock extension worker visited the village after three months. It was realized that the farmers were not willing to participate, given that they expected the government to solve all their problems, without their contribution.
From the information received on the field, the three major agricultural and non-agricultural needs of each category of farmers are as follows:
For men, farming equipment, transport facilities and health facilities
For women, health facilities, transport facilities and farming equipment and for youth; electricity, transport facilities, and health facilities in the above order of priority.

Non-agriculture problems
Non-agricultural problems faced by each group of farmers in the Soppo-Likoko village include the need for a health centre and electricity.
These are problems that none of the extension workers has been able to address. Meanwhile, for the agricultural problems like inaccessible roads, and the lack of equipment, the extension workers made promises, which were never fulfilled. The smallholder farmers have through community labour succeeded in constructing a non-motorable bridge, which makes it easier for them to transport their crops to the market.

From above, it is observed that the farmers of this community are seriously in need. Though they have been struggling to solve some of these problems themselves , they still need governmental assistance.
Mike Achanyi-Fontem is subscribed to Farm Radio Weekly and leads the Cameroon Link Youths Club.

Friday, February 24, 2012

SUFI Civil Society Organisations Trained On MILDA Hang Up Campaign

By Ojong Helen Ayamba
Email: helenayamba@yahoo.com
Mimi Soppo is 30 years old and lives with the husband and five children at Ndobo, Bonendale neighbourhood of Bonassama Health District. Like her neighbours, she received vouchers for free mosquito nets at the local health centre during the last September 2011 mosquito net distribution campaign. Mosquito nets prevent malaria, a disease that is killing many children in Cameroon. Mimi got the voucher, but did not know where to get the free nets. They had never used mosquito bed nets before and two of her children failed in school because they were frequently sick with malaria.
Due to the size of their family, they received two bed nets and were advised to hang the nets up 24 hours after reception when they arrived home. Her husband helped her using a few nails to hang them, but the nets kept falling down. To receive mosquito nets is not enough. One must know how to correctly hang them. One net was hung and the other was just put aside.
Two weeks after the net distribution, two yo0ung people knocked at their door and were introduced by the village head as volunteers who would help them hang upbed nets correctly. Mimi was very happy and in less than one hour, all the nets were hung correctly and they learnt how to maintain them. Since then, the nets have changed their lives and for the first time, they are are all sleeping through the night without being bitten by mosquitoes. Since they have been using the nets, their children have not missed school because of fever.
SUFI is a five year project designed to reduce the prevalence of malaria. One of the easiest ways to reduce malaria is to prevent mosquitoes from biting humans. The challenge is that only 45% of children less than five years old, and less than 50% of pregnant women slept under an impregnated net at night before the national MILDA campaign in 2011.
As a result of the mass distribution of nets carried out by the Cameroon Ministry of Public Health and other partners, Plan Cameroon is training civil society organization and community based organisationson the importance of hanging the insecticide treated bed nets correctly and using them evry night of the year to prevent malaria.
This is the substance of a Scaling Up malaria control for Impact in Cameroon from 2011 and 2015, as Plan Cameroon and the Malaria Consortium – Cameroon Coalition Against Malaria embraced a capacity building trainer of trainers workshop to capacitate civil society organizations on the use of community monitoring and evaluation tools and communication support for behaviour change in Douala, littoral region of Cameroon.
Hang Up is the slogan that has been chosen to encourage people to always sleep under the long=life action impregnated mosquito net. According to the facilitators, a public awareness campaign for the use of the mosquito net will soon take off throughout Cameroon hang Up is an increased follow-up of the regular use of the mosquito net in the households.
The key facilitators of the workshop in Douala from the 21st – 23rd February, 2012 were Sibetcheu Daniel of the Malaria Consortium – Cameroon Coalition Against Malaria (MC-CCAM), Dr. FotsoFokam of Plan international Cameroon, Dr. Simo Francis of IRESCO and AKOA Lin Christophe of the malaria control unit for the littoral.
During the three days, the participants composed of the Chief District Medical Officers and the accredited SUFI Civil Society Organisations from the 19 health districts of the Littoral region exchanged the generalities of malaria, communication techniques, MILDA Hang Up campaign process, health information system with communities, how to elaborate a training schedule at district level and the elements of justification of an executed activity.
Malaria kills a person every 30 seconds. It is responsible for 500 million cases of illness every year and kills children in particular. It is endemic in 109 countries around the world and reinforces poverty. That is why it is considered a permanent enemy, because it surfaces each time control and prevention is slowed down
The short term objective is that 80% patients are and treated with efficient anti-malaria prescription. All pregnant women receive malaria prevention treatment from 4 months of pregnancy. In the short term, incidence of malaria in the world is reduced by 75% and that the realisation of the objectives of the Millennium Development Goals in the case of the fight against malaria is achieved. The universal coverage is continued with efficient interventions
In Cameroon,181 civil society organisations and 15.500 community based organisations are involved in the control of malaria throughout the ten regions.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Asha Kanwar appointed President of the Commonwealth of Learning

By Cameroon Link
Email: camlink99@gmail.com
Courtesy of COL, Vancouver, Canada
The big news broke out early on Tuesday, 14th February 2012 from Vancouver, Canada, that Professor Asha Kanwar, one of the world's leading advocates for learning for development, and current Vice President of the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), has been appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of the international organisation. She succeeds Sir John Daniel, whose term as COL's President ends on 31 May.Congratulations Professor Asha Kanwar and let God guide your vision and give you good health to continue the wonderful work of promoting community learning for development around the world.
Dr. Kanwar has over 30 years of experience in teaching, research and administration. In addition to the several books, research papers and articles to her credit, she has made significant contributions to gender studies, especially the impact of distance education on the lives of Asian women. These studies have established that better educational opportunities and access to new technologies have made substantial differences to the attitudes, values and concerns of Asian women. She is also a recipient of several awards and fellowships, including the International Council for Distance Education (ICDE) Prize of Excellence.
In making the announcement, the Honourable Burchell Whiteman, O.J., Chair of COL's Board of Governors and former Jamaican Minister of Education and Culture, noted that "I am delighted by the Board's appointment of Professor Kanwar as President of our organisation. With her profound knowledge and rich experience of open and distance learning and her vision for the Commonwealth of Learning in the medium term I expect that she will take COL to a new level through a process of significant and sustainable evolutionary change. Her personal attributes and her international profile should prove to be valuable assets."
Professor Kanwar joined COL in 2003 as Education Specialist, Higher Education, and became Vice President in 2006. Her current role includes specific responsibility for stakeholder engagement and programme direction. Earlier, she was Director of the School of Humanities at the Indira Gandhi National Open University (India) and was Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University from 1999 to 2000. Prior to joining COL, she worked in Africa as a consultant in open and distance learning at UNESCO's Regional Office for Education in Africa (BREDA) in Dakar, Senegal.
"I am very pleased that Asha will succeed me," said Sir John Daniel. "In her years at COL, as Specialist for Higher Education and, since 2006, as Vice President, she has made an immense contribution, bringing greater focus to our programme and inspiring many more governments to support COL financially. I am delighted that COL will have a woman as president for the first time."
The Commonwealth of Learning, which is based in Vancouver, Canada and New Delhi, India, was created by Commonwealth Heads of Government at their meeting in Vancouver in 1987 to encourage the development and sharing of open learning and distance education knowledge, resources and technologies. The Commonwealth comprises 54 countries - most of which are developing nations - and one-quarter of the world's population.
"COL is a unique organisation which has the ability to respond to the needs of a wide range of stakeholders," said Professor Kanwar, "from the Batwa community in the forests of Uganda, the rural women in Malawi, goat herders in India, construction workers in Nauru, out of school youth in Jamaica to ministries and tertiary institutions across the Commonwealth. Being relevant to such a diverse constituency and delivering on results is both a challenge and an opportunity that I look forward to."
Former Presidents include Tan Sri Dato' Emeritus Professor Gajaraj Dhanarajan (1995 - 2004) and Professor James Maraj (1989 - 1995).
Professor Kanwar will take up her duties on 1 June.For more, please copy the link attached to this news story and paste to find Prof. Asha Kanwar at Radio Commons during PCF6 in Kochi, India - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KThk2gst0EM&list=UU4k_kfKKu_dDkTrc8Llaupw&index=114&feature=plcp

Friday, February 3, 2012

Advocacy Meeting Holds On Malaria Control In Cameroon

By Camlink SUFI CSO
Email: camlink99@gmail.com
A regional advocacy meeting was organised in Douala by the Malaria Consortium – Cameroon Coalition Against Malaria (CM-CCAM) to highlight progress made in the Littoral region of Cameroon and the world as a whole. Key speakers at the meeting were Dr. Esther Tallah, the director of MC-CCAM, the SUFI Zonal Coordinator for Littoral, Tony Kouemou, the Littoral Coordinator of Malaria Control Unit, Dr. Gertrude Bita, and Akere Maimo Jospeh, in charge of advocacy, monitoring and evaluation within the coalition.
The meeting was presided over by the representative of Littoral governor in the presence of the representatives of Douala City Council, Douala 5 City Council,and the regional delegate for public health, Dr, Bita Fouda. The focus of discussions were on the action plan of malaria control around the world, the situation in the different regions of the world and Cameroon in particular,
Dr. Esther Tallah made an exhaustive analysis of the project “Scaling up malaria control for impact (SUFI) in Cameroon insisting on the gaps of the project that need to be given consideration during the current implementation phase.
A discussion on the advocacy experiences in the health districts and how the activities are monitored and evaluated surfaced during the exchanges of experiences on the field. It was made known that malaria kills a person in the world every 30 seconds and it is responsible of over 500 million hospital cases every year.
Malaria kills children in particular and it is endemic in 109 countries of the world aggravating the state of poverty. It should be considered a permanent enemy within our communities and that is why all target groups of the society must be involved in the fight against the malaria germ.
GMAP, the World Plan against Malaria, is a strategy launched in September 2008 as Roll Back Malaria. This plan gives a detailed frame work for the fight against malaria, and recommends strategies for protecting the whole population at risk of contracting malaria.
GMAP aims at the eradication of malaria in the world. Contributions came from 30 endemic countries of the world, 65 international institutions and 250 experts in diverse fields of research on the malaria control issue.
The principal actors of GMAP are the governments, international multi-lateral organisations, decision makers, civil society organisations, Funding Agencies, lawyers, communities and researchers. GMAP is divided in three phase with short, medium and long term objectives.
Within the short term, 80% of patients should be diagnosed and treated with efficient malaria drugs, while 100% of expectant mothers should receive preventive treatment in health facilities. 50% of malaria cases were expected to have been handled by the year 2010 and 80% of the persons at risk would have adopted appropriate methods of receiving treatment with approved drugs to fight against resistance. Dr. Tallah explained the roles to be played at all levels, like the municipal councils reactivating hygiene and sanitation programmes in their different jurisdictions, civil society organisation informing, educating and training community based organisations on SUFI ownership and the organisation of educative talks within communities during the hand up phase supported by Plan International, the second principal recipient of the Global Fund subvention. More on this story can be accessed on the following links