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Cameroonians are opting farming to stay away from Boko Haram

Cameroon is a neighbor to Nigeria where Boko Haram thrives. Ibrahim Hamaoua, traditional ruler of Zamai, said the assistance has reduced delinquency among the 30,000 people he leads.

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Local women in Cameroon. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
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Cameroon is a neighboring country of Nigeria. Boko Haram -an Islamic terrorist organization -has wreaked havoc in Nigeria and is spilling over to other African countries.

Cameroonian Yeguie Issa says he has not seen his only brother since they were contacted a year ago by visitors to their village and were offered $500 per month to join Boko Haram.

Issa, 29, did not accept the offer and now takes care of his poultry farm in Cameroon’s Zamai village, near the northern town of Mokollo. He got started with the help of chickens provided by the government and farming advice from U.N. staff.

512px-Nigeria_Benin_Cameroon_languages
Cameroon borders Nigeria. Wikimedia Commons

As a result, Issa said, he is financially and physically more stable, and he can provide for his wife, three children, and 72-year-old mother — and peers no longer jeer at him for being unable to take care of his family.

Issa is one of several hundred people who have benefited from the U.N. initiative to steer youths away from Boko Haram, which has frequently attacked northern Cameroon over the past three years.

 Cameroon soldiers stand guard at a lookout post near the village of Fotokol as they take part in operations against the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram, Feb. 25, 2015.

The coordinator of the U.N. system in Cameroon, Najad Rochdi, said the goal of the initiative is helping the area’s economy grow despite the continued violence.

Because the region was tragically and dramatically impacted by insecurity on the one hand and extreme violence, on the other hand, it was very important to provide the enabling environment for the revival of the local economy, capitalizing on the know-how of the people in the region,” Rochdi said. “Obviously, the know-how here is about agriculture, handicraft, agropastoral activities.”

Nigerian_Army_Boko_Haram_demonstration
Military exercise, Wikimedia commons

Japan contributes

Cameroon has provided $4 million in emergency funds to create jobs for youths on its northern border with Nigeria, where the unemployment rate is over 90 percent. Japan has contributed $2 million to the U.N. for the second phase of the project, focused on the entire conflict zone in Cameroon.

Ibrahim Hamaoua, traditional ruler of Zamai, said the assistance has reduced delinquency among the 30,000 people he leads.

Hamaoua said he was grateful to the U.N. Development Program and the government of Cameroon for initiating the resilience project and constructing a livestock market to supply protein to both internally displaced persons and refugees. The project has boosted the local economy and improved the living conditions of the population that grow livestock, he said.

About a hundred meters from Issa’s poultry farm, Hamza Falama waters his one-hectare garden. He said the produce villagers grow — maize and sorghum during the rainy season, carrots, and cabbages during the dry season — enable them to send their children to school, take care of their health needs, feed their families and save for difficult moments.

Cameroon hopes to see more gardens grow, and fewer difficult moments in the north, in order to weaken Boko Haram. (VOA)

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Women Are Rarely “Put Front And Center” At The Heart Of Climate Action

Feminism doesn't mean excluding men

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Former President of Ireland and former High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson speaks during a meeting at Associated Press headquarters, in New York, May 8, 2017.
Former President of Ireland and former High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson speaks during a meeting at Associated Press headquarters, in New York, May 8, 2017. VOA

Women must be at the heart of climate action if the world is to limit the deadly impact of disasters such as floods, former Irish president and U.N. rights commissioner Mary Robinson said on Monday.

Robinson, also a former U.N. climate envoy, said women were most adversely affected by disasters and yet are rarely “put front and center” of efforts to protect the most vulnerable.

“Climate change is a man-made problem and must have a feminist solution,” she said at a meeting of climate experts at London’s Marshall Institute for Philanthropy and Entrepreneurship.

“Feminism doesn’t mean excluding men, it’s about being more inclusive of women and – in this case – acknowledging the role they can play in tackling climate change.”

Research has shown that women’s vulnerabilities are exposed during the chaos of cyclones, earthquakes and floods, according to the British think-tank Overseas Development Institute.

In many developing countries, for example, women are involved in food production, but are not allowed to manage the cash earned by selling their crops, said Robinson.

Earth depletion
Earth depletion, Pixabay

The lack of access to financial resources can hamper their ability to cope with extreme weather, she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation on the sidelines of the event.

“Women all over the world are … on the front lines of the fall-out from climate change and therefore on the forefront of climate action,” said Natalie Samarasinghe, executive director of Britain’s United Nations Association.

“What we — the international community — need to do is talk to them, learn from them and support them in scaling up what they know works best in their communities,” she said at the meeting.

Also read: Climate change can have an effect on the taste of the wines

Robinson served as Irish president from 1990-1997 before taking over as the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, and now leads a foundation devoted to climate justice. (VOA)