Cameroon is a country in Central Africa with high economic potentials. However, with almost half of the population living below the poverty line, it faces many challenges. Authoritarian and outdated political structures have led to corruption, human rights violations and violence. Most local conflicts are traced back to the struggle for access to land. Mensen met een Missie promotes community peace and resilience through training on mediation and conflict resolution helps organise the establishment of local peace committees.

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€10,869

Budget

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12

Local partners

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4,990

Participants activities

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35,820

Indirect reach

Conflicts over land ownership

Land cultivation is an important livelihood for millions of rural Cameroonians, with small-scale farming being the largest form of agriculture. Many local conflicts are about land tenure. These conflicts happen at all levels of society: within and between families; between neighbours; between citizens and government officials; between farmers and pastoralists; and between refugees and local people. Land ownership is often regulated by traditional customary law passed down from generation to generation. Young people and women have few rights within this traditional system, with men making all of the decisions around land.

With population growth, the pressure on land is increasing, especially in and around urban centres. The government claims to be the owner of all traditional family-owned land, which leaves many people vulnerable to eviction by land speculators. Pastoralists have fewer and fewer places to graze their cattle and encroach on farmers’ land, which inevitably leads to crop damage. The violent regional conflict in the English-speaking part of the country has made hundreds of thousands of people flee their homes.

Land cultivation is an important livelihood for millions of rural Cameroonians. Many local conflicts are about land tenure.

Our Response

Together with our 12 local partners, we support community-based peacebuilding efforts to prevent and resolve local conflicts. We do this through:

Non-violent communication and dialogue training
We offer training sessions to community leaders, including women and youth, in villages and neighbourhoods, so that they know how to prevent and resolve local conflicts. They learn practical skills and to work together across religious, ethnic and political divides. We do so in cooperation with local religious leaders.

Community leaders are informed about the importance of land registration procedures within their communities and then go on to support the general population in the registration process.

Local peace committees
We have facilitated the establishment of local peace committees. They are instrumental to forge greater understanding between farmers and pastoralists, between refugees and local people, between ethnic groups and between faith communities. They engage in practical cooperation to resolve conflicts over scarce resources and try to improve relations between people and public authorities through dialogue.

Community leaders, including women and youth, in villages and neighbourhoods, are offered training sessions, so that they know how to prevent and resolve local conflicts.

“I like hearing directly from people what’s going on in their lives. That’s how we can look for solutions together. It’s only by listening and talking to people that you can make them aware of the democratic rights that young people and women have.” – Josephine, 24, peace promoter

 

Together with our local partners, Mensen met een Missie has managed to:

  • Resolve 188 land conflicts through mediation by parish committees.
  • Train 60 local peacekeepers to mediate conflicts over land, water and livestock grazing routes.
  • Select and trained 120 community leaders to systematically monitor, document and report human rights violations in remote villages.
  • Train 38 women and 99 youth to promote peace in their communities and 51 religious leaders have been mobilised to promote a culture of peace.

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