Restitution Workshop of articles and reports realized by journalists on the issue of land governance and natural resources
In Cameroon, despite the considerable evolution of the land reform process, it appears that some of the stakeholders, particularly journalists and the general public, are not involved and not always aware of the real issues at stake. It is for this reason that from the 21st of December 2020 to 25th January 2021 with the support of the LandCam project, journalists carried out investigations on various topics relating to land governance, specifically on:
- The marginalization of women in access to land
- The impact of the armed conflict in the northwest region of Cameroon on access to land and the living conditions of semi-nomadic herders
- The mechanisms for resolving agropastoral conflicts, case of Botombo village in Bokito district, Central Region.
- Refugee access to land in Ouli district, Kadey division, in the Eastern region
- Challenges related to access to land by minority groups such as Mbororos and pygmies.
- Women's access to land in artisanal mining sites
- The impact of logging in Oveng on communities living nearby.
This follows the call for proposal for journalists to produce investigative reports and articles relating to land issues and natural resource management in Cameroon launched on the 27th of November 2020.
During the land tenure week which took place from the 25th to the 29th of January 2021, the Network for the Fight Against Hunger, RELUFA, organised a restitution workshop to award prizes to the best articles and reports produced by journalists working on land issues in Cameroon. The workshop brought together journalists, representatives of civil society organisations, MINDCAF, MINMIDT, MINADER, MINEPIA and MINFOF. According to the coordinator for RELUFA, Jaff Napoleon Bamenjo, the objective of this activity is to improve the understanding and coverage by journalists on issues of land governance and natural resource management in Cameroon.
For this edition, Emmanuel Jules Ntap, correspondent for the Voice of America (VOA) backed home the first prize for the LandCam micro-grants program for journalists. His report on ‘’mechnisms of resolving agropastoral conflicts in Botombo village in the Centre region, caught the attention of the jury as he presented a clear case of peaceful conflict resolution between Mbororo cattle rearers and farmers. He emerged first ahead of Charles Tembei of CRTV who occupied the second position and Chick Maxcel Fokwen of The Guardian Post who occupied the third position.
At the end of the restitution workshop, it came out that, there is a common challenge related to access to information when collecting local data by journalists and other actors, who nevertheless are supposed to be the real persons to provide information on land problems faced at the local level. In addition, the following key recommendations were arrived at:
- Recognize the customary rights of rural and indigenous communities.
- Consult minority groups on land investments and ensure adequate compensation.
- Taking land challenges into account in the laws and regulations of the forestry and mining sectors.
- Include a lasting solution to land conflicts in the solution package for the socio-political crisis in the Northwest and South-West regions.
- Bringing the services of MINDCAF closer to rural populations.