DRC opened a Country Office in Cameroon in October 2017. The decision to implement humanitarian programming in Cameroon was made following a scoping mission in May 2017 which revealed numerous needs due to several crises.
Cameroon faces the consequences of the Central African Republic conflict, which has been going on along the Eastern border since 2013 and those of the Boko Haram conflict on its North-western border, which has been going on since 2014. The socioeconomic and security contexts have worsened, and this has in turn increased food insecurity, malnutrition, exposure to protection risks and the strain on resources and infrastructures. As of September 2017, 88,672 Nigerian refugees and 216,617 refugees from the Central African Republic were forced to flee their homes and seek safety in neighbouring Cameroon. In addition, 235,913 Cameroonians are currently displaced in their own country.
DRC’s scoping mission revealed that child marriages of young girls aged under 16 are prevalent, both among the refugee and host populations. Child marriage in Cameroon appears to be both a cultural practice and a negative coping strategy due to precarious living conditions. Furthermore, the lack of civil documentation puts many individuals, particularly refugees, at risk of statelessness. New-borns are not systematically registered due to a lack of awareness about the importance of this procedure. Settlements are often located far from city halls, requiring material and financial access to transportation. The indirect costs of the civil registration procedure are therefore high, although registration itself is officially free. Moreover, the presence of refugees in host communities has increased the strain on resources that are already scarce, with the availability of pastures taking a hit. Social cohesion is therefore fragile, and this increases the risk of tension between refugees and host communities. Lastly, there is a general context of insecurity due to the risk of kidnappings, demands for ransom, illegal taxes and checkpoints. This has led many communities to create vigilance committees, who are registered with local authorities and are responsible for ensuring that their communities are safe.
DRC’s pilot project in Cameroon aims to collect and analyse information on conflict dynamics and protection risks, including during cross-border movements between the Central African Republic and Cameroon. This will make it possible to inform future humanitarian programming and to strengthen the protective environment of vulnerable populations in Cameroon.
Snapshot of main DRC activities
- Protection monitoring and the provision of Individual Protection Assistance (IPA) to vulnerable populations
- Conflict-sensitive analysis aiming to document and analyse tensions and conflict dynamics among local communities as well as protection risks
- Provision of protection assistance (psychosocial support, legal and para-legal counselling and individual protection assistance) in community centres
When, where and how many?
- DRC is officially present in Cameroon since mid-October 2017
- DRC’s areas of intervention are the Adamawa region (since October 2017) and the Far North region (from 2018)
- 1,500 direct beneficiaries (refugees and host communities) of protection monitoring and conflict analysis
- 38 beneficiaries of Individual Protection Assistance
- 10 organisations involved in conflict analysis workshops
- 200 individuals receive psychosocial support, legal and para-legal counselling and individual protection assistance in 2 community centres