Brief Notes on meeting between VSO, NWADO, BWC
and Welsh Public Sector Volunteers: Bringing Cameroon
Civil Society Code of Ethics and Cameroon One World
Linking Association on the Table of North-South
The meeting was held on Saturday 31st October, 2009 in VSO Cameroon Head
office in Bastos Yaoundé on the theme: Together for Development; Together for
a Better World.
The meeting offered and opportunity for the two Welsh experts Gideon Carpenter
(Environmental Legislator) and Nick Clark (Community Development Specialist)
at the end of their two months placement in the North West Region of Cameroon
to show case their field reports and to capture grassroots best practices and
challenges as faced by North West Association of Development Organizations
(NWADO) and Better World Cameroon (BWC) in voluntary service delivery in
rural and urban regeneration in Cameroon.
NWADO is a regional network working towards strengthening civil society while
BWC is a National NGO serving as a platform for rural urban and international
communities’ solidarity for sustainable development.
The two organizations operating on VSO principles of sharing skills and changing
lives are building critical “bottom-up” pressure for participatory governance in
Cameroon. Their attributes: broad based networks, advocacy activities, strong
social integration as well as links to pro-democracy political parties have made
them key players in the new democratic movement that is demanding high
standards of transparency and accountability from the government of Cameroon.
Opening the meeting, Ibrahim Peghouma, Managing Director of the Cameroon
Participation and Governance Programme (P&G) said,” VSO is very thankful to y
Nick and Gideon for having accepted their placements and tirelessly working in
the field, coming up with amazing results in such a short period. It is painful for
me to have to release you back to your home government”. He said.
Nick and Gideon expressing their heartfelt appreciation of VSO and NWADO’s
hospitality laid emphasis on the need for more impetus and closer monitoring of
the on going Short Term Placement Scheme and promised to put in a word in
this regard to their employer upon return to Wales. Over and above, he said, this
initial African experience should stimulate debate within the Welsh parliamentary
group and enable it to make a more precise evaluation of its impact in global
environmental terms and with more focus on poverty alleviation.
MATCHING PROCESS FOR NATURE VOLUNTEERS
Through capacity building NWADO and BWC in addition to developing
community profiles, creating a data base of accredited organizations and
offering linking services could be supported to market a unique Cameroon home
grown concept and open up information sharing and learning within linking
initiatives in Wales like the Gold Star Communities Project and elsewhere and
this could also interest Welsh environment Agency. Here Gideon made particular
reference to waste management and environmental protection issues.
The meeting turned out to be a veritable brain storming on devising an
international framework that could really put the Cameroon P&G Programme on
the world agenda.
BWC intends to use relations already established within UK networks BUILD,
UKOWLA, Transition Towns, and World Family to start setting up profiles for
inter-community linking and effectiveness of International Aid. Both the Welsh
experts and VSO Cameroon partners agreed that International Funding is too
serious a business to be left in the hands of corrupt politicians alone.
Although Aid is not the best way to solve environmental problems, second hand
development equipment trucked through grassroots channels against African
Craft and Art resulting in Faire Trade will do more benefit in reducing poverty and
help reverse the financial crisis.
NWADO will be attending the November, 2009 Commonwealth Head of
Governments Meeting to be held in Trinidad and Tobago to share its Civil Society
Code of Ethics initiative. This will certainly raise the issue of prescriptive Aid
Policies from donor NGOs for the fight against poverty cannot be won without the
support of the people suffering.
Within Cameroon, VSO will use bring together Diaspora volunteer initiatives to
examine the role they can play in fostering Linking and designing better
development policies for a Better world.
Closing the meeting, Ibrahim said this Brain Storm is a Take Home for all the
participants to share with their Board of Directors and partners for further
reflections in building a Better World Together.