Greetings from the Cameroon Humanitarian Relief Initiative (CHRI). We hope our message finds you and your family well. We are excited to share our quarterly update with you. Thanks to our donors, we have been able to continue to reach out to Cameroonian refugees in Nigeria, Internally Displaced Persons in Cameroon, and those incarcerated due to the ongoing violence, providing them with food, shelter, clean water, medical support, and skills-based training programs. We are delighted to provide the following updates on our recent and ongoing projects.
Small Grant Project
We are excited to have provided 8 small grants to partner organizations in Cameroon since the start of last year. Each grant provides up to $1,000 USD (500,000 FCFA) for a project implementation that addresses one or more of the following areas of focus: advocacy toward a resolution of the conflict, relief for internally displaced persons, and relief for refugees.
In partnership with CHRI, these organizations carry out projects throughout Southern Cameroons and Nigeria to provide humanitarian support to the region’s most vulnerable populations affected by the ongoing conflict.
The most recent grant recipients:
Our first of two recent grant recipients is the Egbekaw Farmers’ Cooperative.
Located within the Manyu Division, they strive to bring sustainable economic growth to the community through sustainable farming. Through farming initiatives, they are able to promote peace and security, fight poverty, reduce hunger, create employment, and increase economically sustainable food production practices. We are excited to partner with them on, The project on the increase in cassava production through sensitization and distribution of farming materials to internally displaced persons living in Mamfe town. This project aims to empower 100 IDPs and their families within the community through the cultivation of cassava, a food staple within the region. This project will provide, training, tools, fertile land, cassava cuttings, and long-term support to participants. This project will take place from August 2023 to April 2024. For updates on this project, please follow us on social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram).
And our second recent grant recipient is the Catholic Education Secretariat (CES), Diocese of Buea.
In response to the profound socio-political crisis shaking the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon, a compelling initiative has emerged to address the pressing educational needs of internally displaced children. The Catholic Education Secretariat (CES) is the human development wing of the Catholic Diocese of Buea in collaboration with the project office of the diocese and the local Bishop has submitted a proposal that successfully met the criteria for funding through the CHRI Small Project Grants. The project, titled “Purchase of 25 School benches for St Therese Nursery and primary school Wotutu, Bonjongo, Diocese of Buea” aims to enhance educational opportunities for 345 internally displaced children aged 3 to 11 from crisis-affected areas in Cameroon’s Southwest Region by providing proper school benches. This initiative seeks to integrate these vulnerable children into classrooms effectively, ensuring comfortable learning alongside their peers and minimizing the risk of school dropout. This project is actively underway to enable a successful start of the school year on September 4, 2023. For updates on this project, please follow us on social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram).
Updates on past grant recipients:
Royalty World aims to engage, envision, empower, and equip women, youth, and vulnerable communities for transformative action.
To address the growing humanitarian crisis, Royalty World has partnered with CHRI to carry out the project, The Bolifamba Economic Empowerment Project (BEEP). This project aimed to improve the quality of life for vulnerable women, especially IPD female heads of households in Bolifamba, Cameroon.
The 5 recipients underwent training on business management skills such as bookkeeping and the benefits of savings. With the help of coaches, their business ideas were reviewed and each was rewarded seed capital to implement their business idea. This project ran from January to April of 2023.
Testimony: Highlighted below is one of the five recipients:
“My name is Anne Marie and I am 41 years old. I ended school in class 7. I come from a poor background. My parents could not send me to school, so my elder sister came and took me from my parents at the age of 5. I lived with my sister under challenging circumstances until I became pregnant and returned to my parents at the age of 13. Soon after, I met and married my husband. We were managing our lives until the crisis broke out and worsened our situation. The only source of income we had was what my husband was able to bring home. We were unable to pay our rent, meet our basic needs, and were only able to send 2 of our 4 kids to school. I wish I could get support so I can assist my husband in raising our kids.”
From the training and seed capital provided by Royalty World and CHRI, Anne Marie has begun an onion supply business. She buys in bulk and supplies to shop owners in her community. It is going well so far and she is saving to expand her business. As concerns her family, she says the financial load is becoming lighter and she hopes that it will keep getting better as she makes progress.”
When conflicts occur, women face tremendous risks. As the armed conflict and humanitarian crisis within Southern Cameroons continues, women are also the most vulnerable and are exposed to economic precarity. By creating a business managed by themselves, the goal is to be able to reintegrate them socially and economically into the community.
In partnership with CHRI, AMEF has carried out the project, Integrated Aid to IDP Women And Girls In Conflict-Affected Areas of Meme Division SWR Cameroon (Kake 1& 2), to improve hygiene, sanitation, and living standards through activities of, hygiene promotion through sensitization messages, provision of dignity kits, and sustainable livelihood start-up capital.
In total 404 individuals took part in hygiene education. Individuals were educated on safe and effective measures, such as hand washing, to promote health and well-being. Additionally, 25 women and girls received hygiene kits. Hygiene kits play a large role in providing women and girls with safe and effective tools to manage menstruation– putting them in a much stronger position to meet their various basic needs and improving their sense of dignity and independence. This project ran from April to June of 2023.
Other CHRI small projects awardees include the Cameroon Association of Media Professionals (CAMP), NSO Cultural and Development Association, the Tertiary Sisters of Saint Francis (TSSF), and African Girls. To support further projects, donate here.
We have just completed our 109th prison outreach. On a bi-weekly basis, we provide essential food items, and basic medical and sanitary supplies to Southern Cameroons detainees at the Kondengui Central Prison, Yaounde. Through your generous support, we hope to continue to serve those individuals detained, without trial, due to the crisis in Southern Cameroons.
CHRI Visit to Cameroonian Refugees in Nigeria
CHRI steering committee member, Fr. Wilfred Emeh, completed a visit and outreach to Cameroonian refugees in Benue and Cross River States in Nigeria this past May 8-15. This visit was done in partnership with the Tertiary Sisters of Saint Francis (TSSF). The settlements visited are in Akwyiogen and Ogoja and host over 7000 refugees from the NWR and SWR of Cameroon, with many children born and raised exclusively in these refugee settlements. The refugees have been forced to flee their homes in Cameroon due to the continuing conflict and humanitarian crisis in Southern Cameroons. The principal problem faced by these refugees is hunger and deplorable living conditions. The needs of these refugees are immense. Any amount donated positively impacts those affected by the growing humanitarian crisis in Southern Cameroons and Nigeria.
About TSSF- Arriving in Cameroon in the mid-1930s, the TSSF established, and subsequently grew, their communities to “be an empowering presence through various ministries wherever they are”. A community of sisters working in the Taraba State of Nigeria, “pray for peace to come back and work towards addressing the welfare of the refugees in Nigeria”. Refugees, primarily women and children on foot, continue to cross the border into Nigeria to escape the effects of the crisis in the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon. With an ever-increasing need for food items, medical treatment, and shelter, the TSSF community tirelessly works towards addressing these needs. From continued support from their congregation and other agencies of relief, such as the CHRI, the TSSF are able to fund many outreach programs to support those most affected by the crisis.
With the support of Sr. Mary Nyuylem of the TSSF, Fr. Wilfred visited and supported the sick, the elderly, and children in the refugee settlements.
In the vast landscape of global conflicts, it’s often the personal stories that resonate the loudest, breaking through the noise of statistics and headlines. In our ongoing commitment to shedding light on critical issues, we are proud to have established a project that aims to amplify the voices that have too long remained unheard, the victims of the Southern Cameroons conflict. In our testimony project, we spotlight four firsthand accounts of such victims each month and post them on CHRI social media accounts, focusing on their individual challenges endured and their personal journeys, illustrating how the conflict has deeply impacted their lives in hopes of enhancing visibility and offering vital context, ultimately aiding our mission to provide assistance and support to those who are in dire need.
These testimonies encompass a diverse range of victim ages, underlying causes, and the narratives they share. Each story is distinct, offering varying perspectives, and in order to aid readers in visualizing these experiences, we include accompanying pictures that add depth to the narratives.
Here is an illustration of one of the collected testimonies posted on CHRI social media accounts:
“My name is Atoawong Rose, a 28-year-old from Munyenge. The Southern Cameroons conflict had a devastating impact on my life, my parents were killed by unknown gunmen with no one held accountable, and as a result, I had to discontinue my education. It broke my heart since I had reached an advanced level of schooling. I aspired to write professional exams and become a teacher someday, but due to the crisis, I had to enter into marriage. My time in school was the best because it held the promise of a bright future, instilled in me by my parents. However, I reside in Owe with my twin children and my husband, who works as a farmer since it is our only available source of income. I am a housewife and occasionally assist him with the farm work. Unfortunately, we have not received much support, and financially, we are struggling to meet our basic needs, let alone access healthcare, clean drinking water, or formal education. Just the fact that I am an IDP in a strange land is already a big problem, and the loss of my parents has left me psychologically unstable. While I try to accept my current situation and maintain a positive outlook on life, failure surrounds me, and I constantly worry about the future of my children and myself. My current hopes and dreams are to go back to school and become someone important in society, but I need resources which are unavailable now. When I think about the conflict, I realize that things will never be the same even if the crisis is solved today, we need immediate international assistance for all the IDPs.”
CHRI continues to advocate for a sustainable resolution, genuine dialogue by all parties seems the way out, and provides humanitarian support to all those affected by the crisis in Southern Cameroons. As an organization that is reliant on donations, we cannot do this without your generous support.
We kindly and sincerely request your financial support to continue to provide advocacy and humanitarian aid. Here is how to donate: