Restitution workshop with journalists as part of the LandCam micro-grants programme

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For the second year, LandCam has supported a micro-grants programme to encourage journalists' engagement with land-related questions, and to highlight stories that illustrate the issues and challenges related to land for many Cameroonians. This work will contribute to mainstream discussion on land in the media at a key moment, during the reform of land law.

Following the call for journalistic projects launched in October 2019, LandCam has organised a restitution workshop on 23 January in Yaounde, bringing together the programme participants whose proposals had been selected, representatives of civil society and of the ministries in charge of agriculture (MINADER) and social affairs (MINAS). Journalists were invited to present their work covering land issues.

The topics covered included: issues of access to land for refugees in times of crisis and the difficult cohabitation with local communities; conflicts of use between nomadic and sedentary groups; land grabbing and the role of different administrative authorities; problems related to compensation, non-transparency and broken promises during land acquisition for agro-industrial projects; health problems caused by land displacement in indigenous communities; and the difficulties encountered by women in accessing land.

The journalists made recommendations for the LandCam project and, more broadly, for civil society engaged in the defense of land rights, based on the different fields of action they identified during their research. The workshop was also an opportunity to exchange on the different ways to undertake journalistic research, as well as on the difficulties encountered by journalists during field visits. In particular, we note that a recurrent obstacle is to establish contact with representatives of local authorities (traditional or administrative), which necessitates to reflect on journalists' methods of approach.

Finally, an award was presented to the authors of the three papers demonstrating the best performance in terms of research and analysis. In first place, Ms. Nadège BOWA with an article highlighting the urgency to develop a land security plan to address tensions between refugees and host communities in the Eastern region. In second place, Mr. Che Bruno, with an article on  the dispossession of land rights linked to land acquisition by the Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC) in the South-West region. And in third place, Mr. Alain Georges LIETBOUO with an article on agro-pastoral conflicts and the case of the Mbororo people in the Department of Noun, Western Region.

In light of the great interest shown by journalists for the programme this year, we will renew it in 2020.