Tuesday, May 31, 2016

WISU 2016 convention, a repeat of Ntumbaw/Rong “war”?

Yaounde, Cameroon—In accordance with Article VIII(3) of its constitution, the Wimbum Students’ Union (WISU) would organize its 2016 general congress (convention) in Rong village this summer.
Ngwan Derrick, WISU National President (FacebookPhoto)

In an enlarged executive meeting late last year in the village, WISU national exco and some representatives of Rong Development and Cultural Association (RODECA) unanimously declared the village “capable for the 2016 Convention.”

WISU national president, Ngwan Derrick Tawe Nyah who succeeded Nfor Dieudonne Nkeh during the 35th convention in Bongom has come to the end of his first two years mandate.

Thus, besides the cultural jamboree will also feature elections which the outgoing president can still seek another term of office according to article XII of the association’s constitution.

However, observers are of the opinion that the 37th convention may end in a deadlock as Ntumbaw youths have vowed not to take part; saying it [the convention] “has nothing to do with anyone from Ntumbaw.”

The youths claim the Ntumbaw branch of the association which has always attended all conventions had been denied the right to host, but “Rong just came up and was given to host a convention,” they said insisting “no student from Ntumbaw shall participate in the Rong convention.”

They have also promised to pull down any banners and disrupt any activity in their land relating to the event.

“No banner patterning to the convention shall be placed on Ntumbaw land and no WISU activity shall extend to Ntumbaw until the activities are over,” Ntumbaw youths said in a statement.

Yet, those who understand the geography of the area say it would be difficult for any event to hold in Rong without the inclusion of Ntumbaw.

The national executive board of WISU is however aware of the “threats from Ntumbaw.”

The president, Ngwan Derrick said he was aware and working to resolve it. “I will give the result as official information from my office,” he said.

Sources say the Ntumbaw chapter of the union that was headed by Nganjo Divine had been in shambles ever since the president went back to his native Rong village following the Ntumbaw/Rong land dispute.

The chapter our source explained had been benefitting from the largess of Massa Ernest, Ntumbaw village youth president who had been registering and paying members’ dues to ensure WISU Ntumbaw is always present at conventions.

Skeptics are therefore of the opinion that the convention could be a repeat of the Ntumbaw/Rong “war”. Affaire a suivre donc!  

By Ndi Eugene Ndi in Yaounde

Monday, May 30, 2016

Death snatches another CPDM MP on eve of session

Maroua, Cameroon—Hon Elias Gonji, CPDM Member of Parliament for the Mayo-Tsanaga in the Far North region is dead.

Family sources say the member of the production and exchange committee of the national assembly died on Monday afternoon in his native Zidim village. 

He will not take part in the second ordinary session of parliament that opens on Thursday June 2.

The late Hon Gonji was one of the ten representatives of the Mayo-Tsanaga division at the National Assembly.

Long serving speaker of the house, Hon Cavaye Yegui Djibril also hails from that division.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Cameroon Gov’t Bans Chicken Sale As Bird Flu Reappears

Yaounde,Cameroon—The government has banned chicken sale in the capital Yaounde and surrounding towns, following the resurgence of the H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus.
Chicken sellers  in Mvog-Ada Yaounde

On Sunday May 22, the epidemiological surveillance network of the Minister of Livestock Fisheries and Animal Industries (MINEPIA) an “abnormally high mortality rate” of birds in the government owned Mvog-Betsi poultry complex of Yaounde which is known in French as “Complexe Avicole de Mvog-Betsi”.

The National Veterinary Laboratory (LANAVET) annex of Yaounde later confirmed the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza virus strain killed 15,000 of the 33,000 fowls in the farm, MINEPIA boss, Dr Taiga told journalists at a press conference he jointly granted with his colleagues of Communication and Public Health in Yaounde.

Following news of the outbreak, Prime Minister Philemon Yang chaired an emergency meeting and instructed officials to strengthen surveillance and apply other measures to contain the outbreak, Issa Tchiroma said.

The ban last Thursday by the Minister of Livestock Fisheries and Animal Industries (MINEPIA) is a measure to protect both people and birds from further contamination.

Officials of the Ministry of Trade (Regional Delegation for the Center) were in the major poultry markets in Yaounde on Friday to ensure the ban is respected. They promised to punish defaulters of the ministerial order.

The government slaughtered the remaining birds on the farm and incinerated all carcasses as part of measures to prevent further contamination. It also banned unauthorized visits to poultry farms.

Dr Taiga said a team of veterinary staff and medical personnel has been dispatched to all regions of the country to check if there may be other cases. He also called on citizens-particularly poultry farmers and traders to report suspected cases.

“The government is calling on poultry farmers to be vigilant (and notify authorities) of any case of suspicious dead of birds,” Dr Taiga said.

The first outbreak of H5N1 bird flu was reported in Cameroon’s Far North region in February 2006. Nigeria, Egypt and Niger had already reported cases of the flu poultry flocks same year.

By Ndi Eugene Ndi

Thursday, May 26, 2016

WWF Partners With Logging Company Destroying "Pygmy” Land--Rights Group

A French logging company and official partner of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is deforesting a huge area of rainforest in southeast Cameroon without the consent of local Baka “Pygmies” who have lived there and managed the land for generations, Survival International has learned.
Rougier has been clearing rainforest for construction of a dam

Rougier is described as an “integrated forest & trade company” and a large “forest operator” in a WWF press release and report. It is felling trees in an estimated 600,000 hectare area, which is more than is permitted under Cameroonian law.

Rougier has also been denounced by Friends of the Earth for its activities in Cameroon, which have included illegal price-fixing, illegal logging outside a concession, felling more trees than authorized, and illegally exporting rare timber.

WWF has stated that it would never partner with a company operating on indigenous land without the consent of the indigenous people. In entering this partnership with Rougier, it has violated its own policies on indigenous peoples.

Survival recently wrote to the CEO of Rougier asking whether he believed his company had acquired the Baka’s consent for the logging. In response Rougier simply said that: “Baka communities are aware of our existence and operation.”

Under Cameroonian law, the Baka are often criminalized as “poachers” when they hunt to feed their families. In a map produced by Rougier, all Baka forest camps within one concession are labelled as “poachers’ camps.”

In February, Survival filed an OECD complaint against WWF for funding abusive anti-poaching squads in Cameroon, who have used violence and intimidation to deny tribes people access to their land.

According to a recent report produced by the EU, not a single logging company is operating legally in Cameroon. Experts say that no logging activities are being carried out at sustainable levels.
Evidence shows that tribal peoples are the best conservationists and guardians of the natural world. Despite this, WWF has preferred to partner with international corporations that destroy the environment’s best allies – tribal peoples.

Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said: “If further proof were needed that WWF is more interested in securing corporate cash than really looking out for the environment, here it is. The absurd language it has used to try and hide this partnership with a logging firm – calling Rougier a “leading producer of certified African tropical timber” – should fool no-one, and reveals a lot about the nature of this partnership. It’s a con. And it’s harming conservation. Survival is fighting these abuses, for tribes, for nature, for all humanity. Conservation organizations should be partnering with tribal peoples to protect the environment, not the companies destroying it to make a quick buck.”

Saturday, May 21, 2016

JCI Urges Cameroon Youths To Dream Big, Stop Blame Game

Buea, Cameroon—The 2016 president of Junior Chambers International, JCI Cameroon, Laye Mbunkur has called on the country’s young active citizens to stop the blame game and dream big while assuming their civic responsibilities.
Below is an address from the JCI Cameroon president to the youths on the occasion of the 44th national unity day.
Laye Mbunkur

Dear JCI Cameroon Members, Dear Active Citizens,
It is with great honour that I extend my warmest wishes for a Happy National Day celebration as our beloved nation Cameroon celebrates her 44th National Day.

Yesterday I felt so reluctant delivering a message on our National Day as we were mourning the loss of the mother of my very good friend and brother Wegmuller Ikome. So within the day I decided to take some time off for retreat, research and reflections and came out with some interesting findings, conclusions and recommendations.

It is no news forty four (44) Years ago, the government of our great nation choose 20 May as Cameroon's National Day to commemorate the abolishment of the federal system of government and creation of a unitary COUNTRY. As such on this day we are celebrating unity and peace. Not just the unity based on mere tolerance of physical, cultural, linguistic, social, religious, political, ideological or psychological differences but a more complex unity based on understanding and a sense of oneness.

With this in mind, during my retreat, I spent time reflecting, in my reflections, I saw a beautiful and blessed country Cameroon, my fatherland, full of potentials and opportunities: A rich country endowed with Natural Resources.

And also a country full of challenges. I will not want to talk about the 17 SDGs posing great challenges to us but limit to specific challenges well elaborated in our development agenda(vision 2035)amongst which are:
- National Unity(the essence of our celebration)
- Unemployment
- Population challenges
- Governance

What amazed me most is that in the midst of all these, everybody spends time pointing fingers of blames to others; the old say the youths are failing in their responsibilities, the youths say the old are greedy. Many blame the leaders of the nation to be failures, everybody is busy blaming the other rather than acting to address the challenge.

All this made me the more assured of the relevance of our organisation to this country.
We all got to assume responsibility, we often take the easy way out to blame others, but the question is what are we doing to address the situation? We the youths make up about almost 65% of the population yet we sit aside to blame. We have now resulted to survival strategies; many have loosed hope for a better Cameroon.

If we look at all those who fought for independence in our country, I don’t want to talk of Nigeria, Burkina faso, Ghana etc. They were youths, in the 20s and 30s. They had dreams bigger than them. They dreamt of a better world and believed in their dreams.
Here we are, what is our excuse, what are you doing?

Young Henry Gissienbier was 18, created this organisation in the midst of world war 1, he dreamt of an everlasting world peace, he believed young people can change the world, he challenged the young people of st Louis to assume responsibility. That is why we exist as an organisation.

That is the very core of our existence.
Understanding why we exist as an organisation is understanding your purpose for being a member, an active citizen.

JCI has never been this relevant to our communities, to our country, to our continent and to the world at large.
The blame must stop, we must assume responsibility, we must play our role, we must just ACT.
Dear friends, we are re-writing the history of our nation, we are creating a generation of young people who see the need and take the lead. We are creating Active Citizens, the greatest need of the world today. I want you to know that this is a noble course.

Every JCI member is a hero, if you are not please join. Our course is a noble one I repeat. We need to come together. There is no limit to what we can do together. This is what I call the POWER OF WE, our slogan for the year.

Dear Elected officers, I want you to know that you are not just a JCI leader but a community leader. Your role extends to uniting i.e bringing together JCI members and the business community, civil societies and government agencies to create positive change in our communities.

Do some of us know active citizens who are not JCI members? Invite them to be part of us, as active citizens, if we work in an isolated way we might not achieve much but if we come together our impact may be incredible..........that is the power of we........................
I write today to challenge somebody to assume responsibility, even if its just one person i will still be happy to have written this message.

Please if you are that one person, don’t worry if you if you see yourself not to have the necessary skills required. JCI has put every tool necessary. All you need to do is become an active member.

Look around you, do you see a challenge, JCI See’s an opportunity in that challenge. Talk to your local organisation about it, with appropriate stakeholders build up a project, partner with Government, businesses and other likeminded organisations and JUST ACT.

Dear Friends, we have a Nation to Build, a world to change be part of the move.
God bless you
Happy National Day to all Active citizens
2016 President
JCI Cameroon

Sisterspeak237 Rewards Budding Talents In Cameroon Journalism

Bamenda, Cameroon—Sisterspeak237, a blog born out of a desire to bring to an open space engaging discussions about women’s issues in Cameroon and Africa has rewarded some nine pupil journalists who emerged best in its pioneer national story telling contest.
Laureates pose with initiator, members of the jury

The award ceremony at the CBC Centre in Nkwen Bamenda on Friday May 6 was the culmination of activities by the blog and award concept owner, Comfort Mussa to mark the 2016 edition of the World Press Freedom.

Through the award which the initiator promised to make it an annual feature, Sisterspeak237 hopes to reignite the passion for journalism, encourage journalists to pursue stories that are not often told in mainstream media, “and most importantly, contribute to uplifting of professional and ethical standards of journalism in Cameroon.”

The jury had received over 35 entries from students who contested in three categories.

“We had to listen to, read, and watch the entries. Thematic focus for the contest included Women issues, Agriculture and Social Inclusion,” Omer Songwe, chairperson of the board of judges explained as he announced the nine best entries-three per category.

“Sisterspeak237 and its partners will mentor the winners and give feedback to all those who submitted articles,” he promised.

The Laureates

Described by organizers as the topmost award of the contest, Ngwe Bertine of the Higher Institute for Business and Management Sciences (HIBMS), Bamenda emerged first in the social inclusion category. She was followed by Teno Cynthia of National Polytechnic Bambui in the second place and Bafon Colette; a visually impaired student of HIBMS came third.

The initiator of the Story Telling Contest, Comfort Mussa said the social inclusion category was so dear to her, in part because she has close friends and family members who are persons with disabilities.

“Persons with disabilities are underrepresented in most spheres and their stories are rarely told. Even when their stories are told, often times the language used, stigmatizes the people with disabilities,” Mussa said.

In the Women’s issues category, Nformi Sandre of HIBMS Bamenda won the first prize and was respectively followed in the second and third positions by Awasiri Promise Forsuh and Atah Carol Moh of National Polytechnic Bambui.
Hon Lucas Tasi hands second prize to Atah Carol 

“I dedicate to award to all the women. Life holds more than what you see, so don’t give up,” Atah Carol said.

The winners Commy Mussa said will receive mentorship from Sisterspeak. “They will also have the opportunity to pitch and report stories for Tiptopstars.”

In the Agriculture category, Nsoseka Andrew of the University of Buea grabbed the first prize while Chrysantus Ndikum of HIBMS Bamenda and Num Rogers of National Polytechnic Bambui respectively won second and third prizes respectively.

Lifetime Achievement

The laureates in all categories backed home cash and material prizes from Sisterspeak237 and its partners.
Olive Shang's grand daughter, Ingrid (middle) receives her grand Ma's award

Winners of the social inclusion category were also offered one week internship with the Socio Economic Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (SEEP).

Retired veteran journalist, Olive Shang was recognized with a ‘Lifetime Achievement award.’ She has made an outstanding lifetime contribution to journalism in Cameroon and used the media to amplify the voices of the voiceless, the jury announced.

“It was a wonderful and enriching experience for me and jury members,” the chairperson of the jury said.

Report by Ndi Eugene Ndi, photos by Sisterspeak237

Thursday, May 19, 2016

MTN Launches Young Graduate Program In Cameroon

Douala, Cameroon—MTN Cameroon has announced the launch of its “MTN Young Graduate Programme” which targets young, brilliant and ambitious university and higher professional school graduates.
Some graduates at #MTNDigitalVillage in Yaounde on May 17

The objective of this 3-year programme is to attract and develop young talented graduates to constitute a pool of future leaders, a release from the company on Thursday said.

The document mailed to our newsroom by the Communications Manager of MTN Cameroon, Massey Njiti Bongang said further that the company will develop graduates in different specialties to address MTN’s business needs across its global footprint.

All “MTN Young Graduates” will be required to participate in various high-impact, formal and on-the-job development activities during the first 24 months, with a view to ensuring formal integration with existing talent and leadership pipelines by year end.

Subsidiary of the South African MTN Group, MTN Cameroon is a provider of communication and payment solutions, present in Cameroon since February 2000.

“I Gave My Life To The Lord,”—Enoh Eyong

Yaoundé, Cameroon—Cameroon midfielder and assistant captain of the national soccer team, Enoh Eyong has revealed though he didn’t grow up in a Christian home, he gave his life to the Lord. In an exclusive interview Ollie Baines, Co-founder of Cross The Line, the former Fulham and Ajax midfielder talks about his football career and Christian life. Read on
Enoh: "I gave my life to the Lord"

What was it like growing up and playing football in your home country of Cameroon?

“Growing up and playing football in Cameroon was very exciting, because as a kid I used to watch the likes of Rodger Miller & Samuel Eto’o, so football for every young person was a common reference. Kids would be playing football everywhere, in the house, on the roads, in schools, every boy and girl was playing football everywhere! I didn’t get serious about football until I was at college, then I was focused on it.”

Fast forward a few years and you’ve made a move to play for Ajax, was that your big career move?

“Yes, I would say that was my big career move to Ajax in 2008, I was playing in South Africa and before that I was in Cyprus and then before that I was in Cameroon. So my journey from Cameroon to Holland was definitely a big one, a big step for me and a huge platform. It was a big test for me because I wasn’t used to the platform. Ajax are a big European club who play Champions League football and with a huge history. It was surprising and exciting, but it was great.”

What was it like to be managed by Marco Van Basten?

“I remember when I came from Cape Town for a trial, I didn’t really know who the manager was and I was shocked Van Basten was the trainer. When you see the player he was and just the kind of goals he scored and now seeing him in the flesh was so exciting. I was able to work with him for 10 days in Amsterdam. For me, I was excited because the Lord said, “I will take you to many places to share the good news” and I was excited because he had taken me to Amsterdam and even if I have just 1 day, I will tell 1 person about Jesus and go back. It was a child-like excitement, I wanted to take everything in and to work with Van Basten was a true honour for me.”

Whilst at Ajax, you moved to Fulham. How did you enjoy your stint in the Premier League?

“Playing at Ajax, I saw a lot of Premier League football and I really wanted the opportunity. I loved the league, I loved the way football was played, it was a league I knew I could do well in. God willingly, in 2013, I was contacted by my former Ajax manager, Martin Jol who said, did I want to have an experience of the Premier League? Of course, I said yes and I loved it. It was a great year. Obviously I joined on loan and there had to be an agreement between Ajax and Fulham over a transfer which didn’t get well, so I ended back at Ajax.”

What’s been your career highlight?

“I think I’d have to give a spiritually focused answer to this. I’ve been given a platform to share the love of Jesus Christ wherever I go. There’s been a lot of opportunities that the Lord has given me in my career. I remember going to the 2010 World Cup Finals with Cameroon which as a player was amazing, but also for another reason. There was a DVD being made on the World Cup called “The Hand of God”. They were interviewing a number of players who believed in Jesus. For me, I didn’t just want to be a part of it and talk, I wanted to do as much as possible. So they came to my house, filmed how I lived, how I trained, how I evangelised on the streets in Cameroon and they also took videos of me praying with my team-mates. I wanted it to be something that was real for people to see. I wanted them to see a practical life of a footballer living his life for Jesus. So this was a great platform for me to share my faith. We also did another film session at the Brazil 2014 World Cup where I met with other Christian players like Kaka and it was made into 300 languages to be shared. So I am thankful the Lord permitted me to play in the World Cup Finals, but also to give me a platform to share my faith.
In terms of career, it was in 2010/2011, Ajax hadn’t won the League in 7 years and I was a apart of the team who won it and it was just phenomenal.”

Best XI

GK – Carlos Kamini
RB – Geremi
CB – Nickolas Nkoulou
CB – Jan Vertonghen
LB – Thomas Vermaelen
CM – Jean Makoun
CM – Eyong Enoh
CM- Alexander Song
ST- Samuel Eto’o
ST – Dimitar Berbatov
ST- Luiz Suarez

Best player you’ve ever palyed with?

“No question of a doubt, it would be Samuel Eto’o. He is phenomenal. He always scores goals, no matter where he plays. Spain, Russia, Turkey; wherever he is, he is a goal scoring machine.”
Enoh and Eto'o Celebrate goal

Tell us how you become a Christian

“I didn’t grow up in a Christian home. My parents didn’t go to church and nor did any of my siblings. I grew up in a normal African home. There was no religious set up for a Sunday. I grew up as a young man knowing that there was a God, but I just never had experienced him or encountered his love. It took me right until the time I was at high school, there was this guy speaking to a few students and I remember just being struck by his voice. I stopped and listened to him speak for an hour and a half and I just couldn’t leave. I just listened to him speak about the love of God and the second he finished speaking, I just felt the Lord God come all over me and I had to surrender to him. Even though I was doing well in school, I had a comfortable home, I had food and water, I could dress properly; inside I knew there was a hunger for something in my soul, but I never knew how to get it. Until that day, when the Gospel came to me, that was the day that I knew that was the only thing that could quench that thirst. That day in the year 2000, I gave my life to the Lord.”

How do you use your career to spread the message of the Gospel?

“In Cameroon, most people believe that it is impossible for you to be a Christian and be a footballer. You would have to believe in some sort of witchcraft, to play football and have a faith. Parents would pull their children out of football because they believed they would die or something, it was that serious. So when I became a Christian, I began to pray. I was not sure what I was going to do. I will never forget the day when the Lord said, “I am going to use you as an example to the world, to be a Christian in the world of football”. So that was one of the objectives God said to me. People think you can’t be a committed Christian in football because of all the temptations around. All the gambling and drinking, women and clubbing, people don’t think it’s possible. The next thing is, God told me I had to let go of the “idol” of football. I remember, there were some days where I had to contemplate whether to go and play football or go to church. One day I left the house to play football with some friends, I was walking past my Church when God said, “You’re going to have to let go of this idol of football first, then I can use you”. That was the day I stopped worshipping football. I watched, played and thought about football so much, until that day when I started filling it with God. The third thing, is the life I live as a footballer. Being different is important, I get players asking me, “why are you like this? Why don’t you curse? How do you do it?”. So through peoples questioning, I can talk about my faith to them. I can tell them that God is more than willing to change their lives in the same way that he has done for me.”

Favourite Bible Verse?

“People give you their testimonies according their background and the environment they came from. For me, you couldn’t be a Christian and be a footballer. There was such persecution there. I was worried that I had a problem, because I wanted to be a Christian footballer, so I asked God, “do I have a problem?” and he said “no”. So I then asked him, “Ok, if I don’t have a problem, then speak to me through your word” and I was shown Colossians chapter 1 which brought me liberty, it says this, “All things were made for him and by him” – that gave the boldness to know that God gave me the chance and gift to use football for his glory.”

What does the future hold for Eyong Enoh?

“John chapter 3 talks about the how God gives us a picture of our future and our end, but it does not give us details of the in-between. That is where we need to have faith. God showed me a picture that I will be preaching the Gospel to many people. He is using football as a vehicle in me to tell others about Christ and that is just the beginning. Who knows where he will lead me, every-day is a new opportunity and even if I bring one person to faith, I will be excited about that day.”

Culled from Cross The Line, original interview here.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

MTN Resolutely Committed To Fostering Cameroon’s Digital Economy

Yaoundé, Cameroon—Leading telecom operator, MTN Cameroon is showcasing its digital innovations at the Yaounde Digital Village; the company’s exhibition stand at the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications’ android exhibition running from May 16-19,  2016 at the National Museum in the Cameroon capital.
Visitors at #MTNDigitalVillage in Yaounde

The event has been organised on the sidelines of the international conference dubbed “Invest in Cameroon, a land of attractiveness” taking place in the Central African nation from May 17-18.

“With a surface area of 200m², the #MTNDigitalVillage is presenting the company’s Business solutions for startups, SMEs, multinationals and Mobile Money” the company said in a statement on Monday.

 Equally, as a leading enabler of the growth of Cameroon’s digital economy, MTN is also offering visibility to young Cameroonian digital stakeholders on its stand such as CloudBank, Camtrack, AgriHub, TheFarmTech, LiveU, Kiro’o Games, Kwizii, CamairDroneBoy, the statement mailed to our newsroom by Massey Njiti Bongang, Corporate Communications Manager of MTN Cameroon added.

“As an innovative African digital services provider, MTN is resolutely committed to fortressing the digital economy in Cameroon and growing its ecosystem in partnership with the government,” Georges Mpoudi, General Manager of MTN Business said of the company’s participation at the event.

He said the company also believes in the potential of local talent and promotes young digital entrepreneurs to develop content and applications that respond to the growing needs of the Cameroonian people.

“We are proud to be a major driver of this digital transformation through the provision of infrastructure like the WACS optical fibre landing station, 4G technology, as well as innovative products and services which are revolutionising the way Cameroonians work, play and live. This, while enhancing the competiveness of local businesses and unlocking the potential of the country as a digital hub in the Central African sub-region”.

In addition to the exhibition, MTN promises project fairs, digital animations, ICT training workshops and B to B meetings at the 3-day Digital Village.

Cameroon Nursing Mothers Embrace Fight Against Malnutrition, Anaemia

Garoua, Cameroon—Somewhere in the small Lade Gore village, 64 km from Garoua, chief town of Cameroon’s Far North region, Yvette Goulo sits on a small stool between two huts with grass roofs. She and Maxime Vondou, her robust 2 and a half years son are surrounded by 11 nursing mothers fondling their babies in their arms. Their babies are about 6months old or younger.
Yvette Goulo stands up to emphasis a point

Goulo tells them how vital it is to feed new born babies exclusively with breast milk until they are 6months old. Vondou is her fourth child and his older siblings are as healthy as he is.

It is on this basis that she was chosen to be a member of support teams created to sensitise women in their communities on proper child feeding and hygiene.

This, within the framework of an on-going implementation of the pilot phase of a UNICEF programme against malnutrition and anemia in children between the ages of 6 to 23 months and coupled with the promotion of proper feeding for younger children.

The program is known as theProgramme de Fortification Almentaire a Domicile et de Promotion de l’Alimentation du Nourisson et du Jeune Enfant’ in French.

Guiyasse Diane, one of the nursing mothers at the sensitisation meeting with Goulo, tells this reporter that she doesn’t miss a chance to listen to her.

 “This is my first child and he is five months old. I want him to be as healthy as the children of the Light Mother (the nickname given to exemplary mothers chosen to sensitise others)

Like her son, 9000 other children of ages between 0-6 months have been targeted in four health districts; Pitoa, Bibeni, Golombe and Ngong heath districts in the North and South regions.

Andre Temnga, Chief of the Bibemi Integrated Health District says the implementation of the programme in his district is satisfactory. “One good thing is that the communities are engaged, they have a sense of belonging to the initiative.  They are sensitised by people in their community.”

Temnga says, just as it is done in other participating districts, the target mothers or guardians are in regular contact with support teams and action team members, otherwise known as community health agents; and there is a cordial relation between them, he adds.

A total of 160 health agents and 1,297 community health agents have been trained so far to impart knowledge on nursing mothers in the target districts.

Keyou Pascal, 26-year-old community health agent in Bibemi tells this reporter after a session with nursing mothers that: “We had a few problems at the beginning, but now everything is fine. Some of the problems stemmed from the fact that some men did not want their women to attend sensitisation meetings for undisclosed reasons; but we managed to convince them.”

Five Star Pap

Keyou says he usually goes out to meet parents accompanied by 33-year old Wadjalle. They both testify they were only able to convince people in the community because they are known to be part of them.
Keyou says: “We had cultures which forbade children from consuming certain nutritive foods like eggs and fish and there was also a misconception that the first breast milk of every woman who just put to birth was poisonous and had to be milked and thrown away.

“Now women in our community call the first milk ‘the baby’s vaccine’. Certain detrimental beliefs and cultural practices are being abandoned” says Wadjelle. He also told us that this positive change facilitated the acceptability of what they call “Five Star Pap”.

‘Five Star Pap’ is a feeding pattern UNICEF taught women. It provides locally enriched soft food to children above 6months.It is a mix of milled fish, groundnut, oil, fruit and millet.

VitaMin: The New Buzzword

A 2011 government survey showed 60% of children between the ages of 6 to 23 months in Cameroon suffer from anemia while a third of the 122 of 1000 children who die in the country before their fifth birthday, die of malnutrition related diseases.

Recent findings show some 40% of children in the North region suffer from chronic malnutrition or stunted growth. 68.2 % of children between six and nine month old suffer from anemia.

In a bid to hastily turn the tide, UNICEF and the public health ministry, in July 2015, began distributing micronutrients to mothers and guardians of children between 6 to 23 months to reinforce its home fortification and Vitamin A supplementation program against malnutrition and anemia.
Nursing mothers receiving packets of VitaMin micronutrients

The home fortification program involves, in addition to the Five Star Pap promotion, a door-to-door distribution of packets of a food supplement branded VitaMin- a mixture of vitamins A, B, E, C, B1, B2, B6, B12 (Vita)  and Minerals such as iron, zinc, selenium and other minerals (Min).

The free distribution of the micronutrient powder which is added into cooked food was later halted.

Beneficiary mothers like Eliane Toudoukou of Langui Pionnier, says they were told the Pitoa health district was out of stock.

Earlier in January this year the distribution resumed. Toudoukou says her 17-month old baby has grown healthier, adding two more kilograms to his weight.

After a tour of the Langui Pionnier, Loppéré, Bounguéré, Langui Mofou, Wouro Bocko, Roumdé, Wafago, Wouro Kari, and Laddé Goré areas in the Pitoa and Bibemi health districts, we observed that the new word in every mouth is VitaMin.

Gouprou Rosaline says her daughter; Garcia Hagais happier, stronger and has more appetite for food. “Even if the health district runs out of free stock, I will not hesitate to buy the micronutrients for my child if it is sold”.

Adding a sachet of VitaMin into the Five Star Pap while her child looks on from a nearby mat, Dougoula Angele tells this reporter she is confortable enriching her child’s food with the supplement because it is free of charge and more importantly because it was prescribed by health officials.

The home fortifications program targets 43,800 children in the North and South regions.

Bello Lougga, Nutritionist at the North regional delegation for public health, says the aim of the community driven UNICEF programme is to reduce the prevalence rate of acute malnutrition in the regions by 10% by 2017.

Observers say the level of success recorded so far in the implementation of the pilot phase of the programme indicates that it would make sense for government and donors to begin laying the groundwork for a nationwide implementation.

By Mbom Sixtus, on special assignment in Garoua

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Diane And Louis Anye Solemnize Two-Year Relationship

Bamenda, Cameroon—The ceremonial hall of the Santa Council in the Mezam Division of the Northwest was on Saturday May 7, 2016 filled to its brim by family, friends and well-wishers who had trouped in to witness what observers later described as “the wedding of the year.”
Binwe and Anye pose with presiding mayor

It marked the beginning of life in civil union by Diane Binwe and Louis Anye. Hitherto the sealing of the union, the couple had joined the crowd amidst joyous bawls.

The couple was followed by the presiding Second Deputy Mayor of the Santa council who, after a brief counseling session, saw Binwe and Anye publicly declare their love for one another before it was authenticated by the municipal authority.

After a brief photo session, Binwe and Anye’s journey into matrimony ensued at Njong village, Mile Twelve, Santa.

The Reception
At the court yard of Middle Man Lodge, all had been put in place for the wedding reception which was chaired by Mr. Pihoh David.
Binwe, Anye and their witnesses

In a brief encouragement sermon, the Reverend Dobgima of Presbyterian Church Santa hailed the newlywed for obeying God’s command.

“Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house….May you live to see your children’s children,” the man of God blessed the couple.

Sharing his forty years of marital experience, the chairman of the reception urged Binwe and Anye to “always solve their problems in the bedroom.”

On behalf of the bride’s family, Mr. John Ngu, a twin, said; “I know these my children will not only give birth to twins, but triplets.”  Pa Isaac who spoke on behalf of the groom’s family promised his in laws, “you have given us a jewel of a woman, I want to assure you that my family and I-not only Louis alone will take care, protect and nourish this jewel so that it can grow.”

Married to ‘all the girls’

On behalf of ‘all the ladies’; friends of the bride, Mankah Mirabel said; “it is every woman’s joy to get married, and that our friend and sister is getting married today means all of us are getting married. We are so happy and wish them the best they can ever wish for themselves,” she said before ‘threatening’ the groom, “If you don’t treat our friend well, we shall come and take her back.”
Binwe and Anye dancing to the reception ground

As if to he was holding briefs for the groom to respond to the bride’s friends, Ndansi Elvis, friend of the groom showered praises on the groom whom he described as “just the best any woman can dream about…he is a very gentle man, a loving guy, a caring person.”

The civil wedding of Binwe and Anye was the culmination of a two-year love story. Happy Matrimony!!

By Ndi Eugene Ndi, just back from Santa