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.
Since 2016, the Anglophone crisis has forced hundreds of thousands of households in northwest and southwest Cameroon to flee from violence. At present a majority of those affected still remain without having received essential humanitarian support, and vulnerabilities continue to climb. Over 300,000 require shelter support, over 400,000 require non-food item assistance, and emergency levels of food insecurity continue to rise; requiring an immediate scale-up of humanitarian support.
DRC’s intervention in Cameroon
In Adamawa,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 and children, 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 current graduation approach in Adamawa has been informed by previous projects and aims at reinforcing the protective environment of vulnerable and mixed communities through an integrated intervention. Participants to DRC’s project are targeted through a community-based approach that empowers the communities in defining their socio-economic vulnerability criteria (inspired by the Household Economy Approach).
In the northwest/southwest region, DRC operates through 3 main program areas: protection, child protection, and emergency shelter and non-food items.
Protection programming delivers psychosocial support, individual protection assistance, protection monitoring, and community-based protection response to crisis affected communities. Referral mechanisms provide further opportunities for DRC beneficiaries to access essential services to mitigate their vulnerabilities.
DRC’s child protection programming supports crisis affected children in improving their psychosocial outcomes through community-based child protection mechanisms.
Emergency shelter and NFI programming aims to provide humanitarian assistance to crisis affected households in the southwest region of Cameroon who have been forced to flee violence. Loss of household items and lack of access to shelter solutions remains a critical problem for thousands of families.
Snapshot of the main DRC activities
- Protection monitoring and the provision of Individual Protection Assistance (IPA) to vulnerable populations
- Protection information dissemination and provision of protection assistance in community centres
- Installation and training of Local Protection Committees
- Training of Local Authorities
- Support to 20 communities with a micro-project identified through a Community Development Plan workshop
- Distribution of school and pedagogical kits
- Rehabilitation of schools
- Support to Parents and Teachers associations (APEE)
- Training of teachers
- Civil documentation (birth certificates) Income Generating Activities (IGA)
- Cash transfers and Cash for Work
- NFI and light shelter distribution
- Protection monitoring with referrals to local partners
- Child protection
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 South West region (since October 2018)
- 30 mixed and vulnerable communities in the Mbéré department and 15 in the South West region
- 466 beneficiaries of Individual Protection Assistance
- 1,080 households benefiting directly of a support to their IGA 2,000 households benefiting from unrestricted unconditional cash transfers via Mobile Money and 400 from Cash for Work
- 2 community centers
- 6,000 children benefitting from school kits and school rehabilitation33 schools and 66 teachers supported with pedagogical material and trainings
- 6,545 children having access to civil documentation
- In SW region 4 highly affected communities are already targeted with child protection programming, with an additional 4 targeted by end of 2019.
- Over 2,000 households have been provided with emergency in-kind shelter, hygiene, and NFI assistance so far in 2018, with an additional 3,600 vulnerable households targeted in the coming 12 months.
- 92 national staff and 12 expatriate staff