The Executive Director of Cameroon Link, James Achanyi-Fontem and the Administrative Assistant, Ms. Helen Ayamba, represented their Development and HumanitarianNGO during the three-day intense training organised by Synergies Africaines in Douala the economic capital of Cameroon to launch activities which will lead to eliminating HIV and AIDS by the year 2030.
Synergies Africaines contre le SIDA et les souffrances is a PAN African Organisation of First Ladies led by Cameroon’s First Lady, Mrs. Chantal Biya. Mrs. Chantal Biya, the Founder of Synergies Africaines is also UNESCO Ambassador of Good Will and Special Ambassdor of UNAIDS.
Representing the First Lady at the launching of the training in Douala, His Excellency, Governor of Littoral region, Samuel Ivaha Diboa, told participants that after thirty years since the discovery of the first case of AIDS, it is still a public health threat all over the world. Despite the efforts made here and there and despite downward trend, the pandemic persists, Governor Ivaha Diboa emphasized.
The Policy Declaration of the United Nations Organisation on HIV/AIDS is a clarion call to the international community, which pushes Synergies Africaines and Cameroon Link to get engaged in the struggle for eliminating HIV by 2030.
The Secretary General of Synergies Africaines, Jean Stephane Biatcha, told participants and top level authorities at the training that the 2015 deadline that had initially been setfor the eradicstion of AIDS is passed and no country on our planet has achieved the set objective. This is why the United Nations Organisation set the new deadline to eliminate AIDS by the year 2030.
In order to achieve this new objective, all means must be put in place to fast-track the response. It is within this context that the training was one of exchanging experiences and testimonies to guide the participants in view of building action plans and strategies that work within their different communities.
The campaign dubbed “MY BET FOR 2030” was decided by Mrs. Chantal Biya, Founding President of AFRICAN SYNERGY to express her will to join UNAIDS initiative, which is to FAST-track to end HIV and eradicate the AIDS epidemic by 2030.
The objectives of this new phase of activities are expected to:
Ameliorate prevention of VIH
Promote screening of HIV and other STI
Create cells for caring for the HIV infected and affected with enterprises and communities.
Focal Points have been trained and they now have to train community health relay agents across the country.
“MY BET FOR 2030” initiative looks ambitious and promises to have durable impact within all communities in Cameroon. For a start, three cities of Cameroon were selected as the first targets and these are Douala in the Littoral Region, Bafoussam in the West Region and Bertoua in the East Region. The training in Douala brought together 125 Civil Society Leaders and the target is to train 300 in the three regions before the end of the first phase of Mrs. Chantal Biya’s action to fight against AIDS and eliminate suffering within African communities.
Pr Joseph Pierre Fouda, Director of Yaoundé Central Hospital and an expert of Synergies Africaines made a presentation on the programme of “MY BET FOR 2030”, in which he said the initiative of Mrs. Chantal Biya, Special Ambassador of UNAIDS translates her will to render concrete the poliyical decision on HIV and AIDs prevention in Cameroon by accelerating the riposte of the epidemic by 2030 as endorsed during the conference organised in New York, USA in June 2016.
In effect, all stakeholders will have to accelerate sensitisation on screening for a better care of infected and affected persons through essential actions for meeting the international objective. Some indicators justify this decision, especially as the prevalence is 4.3% in Cameroon, but the screening rate remains low: 46% for women and 58% for men.
There is also the weak knowledge on the means of prevention of HIV. Only 26% for women and 35% for men aged between 15 and 49 years have the knowledge and this has to be increased with multi-partnership which is more practical with only 29% for men and 6% for women. This can be improved with the vulgarisation of the actions of focal points through capacity building yraining on HIV and AIDS.
Adhesion to voluntary screening initiative needs to be accelerated, promotion of activities at the level of enterprises and facilitation of the 90-90-90 objective by 2020. The strategy put in place targets specific groups which include leaders of women’s associations, leaders of NGOs like Cameroon Link with activities that focus on HIV prevention and the promotion of wellbeing, focal points in municipal councils, and leaders of professional associations of young persons like bike riders, drivers, call-box operators, barbers and hair dressers with senior staff of enterprises.
The outcome of this programme is expected to lead to the organisation of several mass sensitisation campaigns with the environment of focal points after the training in the first three regions. Thiswill see an increase in the number of persons who go for voluntary testing and return to receive their results.
Another key outcome would be to see at 10 enterprises in each of the regions engaged in the fight against HIV by putting in place structures for carrying out activities with their institutions. The trained focal points are expected to assist in orienting management and persons who are in need of assistance for HIV and AIDs care.
It is understood that the participants of the training by Synergies Africaines now have the capacity in the areas of sensitisation, counselling and communication in matter related to HIV and AIDS. The participants also have the capacity of transmitting to their pairs the information and knowledge gathered during the training in Douala.
The participants received all the necessary tools to organise activities on HIV prevention in their different areas of jurisdictions, especially as its concerns scouting for funds and materials to facilitate their work and orient persons in need of doing the HIV test and receiving their results.
It is expected that the managers of companies and enterprises will put in place 50 more units in each region for management of activities related to HIV and AIDS. The outcomes would highlight impact in the enterprises for greater productivity and benefits.
The take away message was that HIV and AIDS is like any chronic pathology. We should ameliorate the rate of persons who engage in doing their HIV test and orient any person in search of HIV and AIDs information and create HIV counselling cells within the communities.
Official Ceremony Videos
Representative of Douala ity ouncil
Oga animates training of Synergies fricaines in Douala
Jean Stephane Biatcha addresses participants during HIV Prevention workshop in Douala
Jean Stephane Biatcha calls for involvement of women and youths in HIV prevention campaigns
Governor Samuel Ivaha Diboa presides over ynergies Africaines IV prevention training in Douala
Governor Samuel Ivaha Diboa invites all to join Mrs. Hantal Biya in her humanitarian mission
Suivez l'intégralité de la formation des leaders socioprofessionnels dans la lutte contre le Sida, qui s'est tenue à Douala du 27 au 29 septembre 2016.
Jour 1 (Cérémonie de lancement et début des enseignements)
Jour 2 (Suite des enseignements)
Jour 3 (Fin des enseignements et remise des attestations)
The Cameroon Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, H.E. Eyebe Ayissi, has said that it is in Limbe (Victoria) that the foundation stone to make Cameroon a bilingual country with English and French as official languages was implanted. Minister Eyebe ayissi was speaking at the official opening of the 7th GFRAS Annual Meeting in Limbe. During the meeting which held from the 3rd-6th October, 2016 the stakeholders from AFAAS, RESCAR-AOC, the Cameroon Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and World Agriforestry Centre shared experiences on the role of rural advisory services for inclusive agripreneurship.
Minister Eyebe Ayissi extended the warm welcome of the Head of State, President Paul Biya to the visitor and the minister thanked the organisers for choosing Cameroon as host of the GFRAS meeting. He congratulated out-gone Executive Secretary of GFRAS and in-coming Executive Secretary, Kristin Davis and Karim Hussein for their achievements in the networking organisation.
He recognised that the meeting held at a very difficult economic period when agriculture is relied on as a key development sector around the world. He added that the rural sector is key in offering employment for youths in Cameroon and this is why the government has opted for the promotion of agriculture of the second generation. The rural advisory services aim at innovating approaches for qualitative and qualitative production.
The GFRAS Chair, Rasheed Sulaiman, told the audience that rural advisory services also known as extension services are fundamental to support rural people to face existing and emerging challenges and to improve their livelihoods. GFRAS was initiated in 2010 to provide advocacy and leadership on pluralistic and demand driven rural advisory services for sustainable development.
Through fora like the one held in Limbe, Cameroon including networks representatives from regional, sub-regional and national levels and actors from all sectors involved in exchange of experiences and sharing ideas, change comes rapidly and is visible.
This explains why the annual meeting is the central instrument for GFRAS and its regional networks and national for a.
Rasheed Sulaiman explained that the annual meeting in Limbe, Cameroon contributed to all of its strategic fields which include:
1.Advisory and support for an enabling policy environment and appropriate investment in rural advisory services.
2.Professionalization of rural advisory services
3.Facilitation and enhancement of effective and continuous knowledge generation and a functional component focused on network strengthening.
The GFRAS Annual Meeting has both a thematic component focused on content and a functional component focused on network strengthening.
Executive Secretary of RESCAR in the West and Central Africa regions, Patrice Djamen, at the opening told participants that his colleagues do not believe in meetings organised nowadays and described it as another tourism outfit, but Dr. Djamen replied that it is an international conference. Even with the response, his colleagues said it is the same thing. He added that partnerships are important tools for accelerating the development of populations in rural and urban settings. He reminded participants that the meeting in Limbe was to clarify the role to be played or played by each partner, especially as it held in a special context for the elimination of hunger and poverty alleviation and for the promotion of sustainable development.
He went on to say that Cameroon is currently engaged in the policy of agriculture of the second generation which is more performant and sustainable. The Limbe international meeting was expected to come up with viable strategies for reinforcing the capacities of rural farmers and breeders.
In this line, participants were invited to come up with possible win-win partnership opportunities which involve women and youths for deploying strategies of integration of rural populations in a way to render them more dynamic. In effect, Advisory services that work for smallholders and government in West and Central Africa regions is moving towards a shared vision.
This report of RESCAR summarises nearly three years of action research on agricultural advisory services (AAS) up to 2015. A self-assessment of both farmer organisations and irrigation scheme managers confirmed their very different expectations. But each group recognised challenges, both for themselves and other actors. Farmer organisations recognised the need to:
Increase accountability and transparency to and communication with members, and improve their internal governance systems in line with regionally agreed standards;
Improve their capacity to play an effective role in demanding and using AAS from different sources;
Increase their ability to enforce agreed rules and procedures (such as collection of irrigation fees, adherence with irrigation scheme regulation etc.;
Pro-actively develop relationships with agricultural service providers rather than rely on the irrigation scheme managing agencies to do this for them at all times; and
Increase the representation of women and youths.
The irrigation systems managers recognised that:
The AAS they provide is not meeting the needs of all the various types of farmers and has to be better targeted – both in terms of technical contents and advisory approach;
Communication with Farmer Organisations is sporadic and ad-hoc, and needs to be more regular and effective;
AAS provided by the scheme managers needs to be better integrated with national AAS strategies and policies (where these exist) and connect with AAS providers outside the irrigation scheme for mutual learning and effective support to farmers’ diverse livelihoods; and
AAS needs to expand beyond advice on agricultural production to cover the whole value chain – starting with advice on agricultural credit and inputs, and providing advice throughout the production process, through to processing, storage and marketing.
The government Delegate described Limbe as the Town of Friendship and he lauded the fact that his city was chosen to host the meeting in the Africa continent. Limbe is known for its rich tourism assets, though he admitted that the regular increase in population is making food to become expensive. The population is involved in subsistence agriculture and poverty is affecting farmers and fishermen. The city has good climate, rich soil and human capital that would benefit from the advisory services drawn for the international meeting. With the good advisory services, the rate of poverty will be reduced amongst farmers, thereby improving on their wellbeing. He invited the visitors to enjoy the city’s attractions during the day and at night with moderation.
Ceremony Video Links
Introduction of 7th Annual GFRAS Meeting in Limbe, Cameroon
Government Delegate of Limbe City Concil welcomes 7th GFRAS Meeting
Patrice Djamen,Executive ecretary of ESCAR for est and Central Africa sub-region
GFRAS Chair, asheed ulaiman presents balance sheet and new executive secretary
Minister Henri yebe Ayissi opens 7th Annual GFRAS Meeting in Limbe,Cameroon
James Achanyi-Fontem, is a Senior Health Journalist and Communication Consultant. He worked as a health journalist and broadcaster for 30 years with Radio Cameroon and later Cameroon Radio Television, CRTV before retiring in 2005 to engage fully with Cameroon Link (Human Assistance Programme). Cameroon Link is a registered charity, not-for-profit organisation involved in the promotion of community health, humanitarian assistance, promotion of women and child rights through involvement of communities in Cameroon for mother and child health care. Cameroon Link is a partner to Commonwealth of Learning (COL), Farm Radio International (FRI), International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN Africa), World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA). As the intermediary of Commonwealth of Learning (COL), Cameroon Link is engaged to implement a Cameroon Rural Radio story design Programming through an investigative research, which aims to discover through interviewing beneficiaries of health programmes on their interests, documenting and disseminating new ideas about how radio stations produce and air Healthy Communities Radio Programs in Cameroon.