MBOSCUDA carries out capacity building training for both it staff and members in the areas of organizational development, Para-legal extension, REFLECT, Social Drama etc.

 Trainings are both internal and external.

 Agro-pastoral Development:

  The cattle in particular is an intergral part of the Mbororos life. In fact, the socio-economic and cultural life of the Mbororo Fulani is totally dependent on the cow. When he is separated from his cow his life is ruined.

      The Mbororo pastoralists in Cameroon like in other parts of Africa face severe problems with their livestock that theatens their survival and this has been a serious matter of concern for the Cameroon state, the pastoralists themselves and some Non Governmental Organisations. some of the key problems include; discrimination against the pastoralists by other ethnic groups, environmental degredation which has affected the productivity and production of their livestock. Diseases and lack of land rights with frequent conflicts with the farming communities are other serious issues of concern.

        Since the creation of MBOSCUDA it has as one of its key objectives to improve upon agro- pastoral practices to ensure maximum protection of their environment as well contribute and participate in all possible undertakings aimed at better management of the grazing land, the environment and other livestock production domains.

       Since 1992 MBOSUDA has embarked on massive  sensitization, education and campaigns within and   without the pastoralist communities to improve the Agro-pastoral sector that is always plaqued with complicated problems.

 

MBOSUDA in colaboration with its partners and the Cameroon state with other secondary stakeholders seeks to create a condusive and friendly environment for the peaceful cohabitation of the farmers and the grazers.It also has a five years development plan to holistically address the major problems  including securing and imroving the grazing lands that affect the Mbororo pastoralits and their livestock. 

Background

The MBOSCUDA microcredit scheme was conceived in 1998 within the framework of the “Growing from within program” but only became operational in the year 2003 considering the detailed baseline survey and strategy design carried out during the period. The scheme was initiated on the background of the many economic and social problems encountered by the Mbororo women of Cameroon that seriously impede their development.

Faced with problems related to limited access and control over productive resources including income, biased cultural environment, religious misinterpretations and gross gender discrimination, the Mbororo women are increasingly marginalized and subject to extremely high dependency on men in all aspects of their livelihood. They are relegated and limited to the less vital economic activities like milking of cattle and milk processing into butter, while men patronize huge income generating activities like cattle rearing and marketing as they undermine the ability and status of women and therefore determine the local politics of the household and community.

The micro-credit scheme was therefore conceived to empower the Mbororo women of the province economically to secure their day-to-day needs and hence socially and politically to influence issues in key areas of their lives. Initially, the scheme targeted 20 Mbororo communities in the N.W.P and has now been extended to include some 20 more communities in view of effective engagement.

 

Credit model and perspectives 

The micro-credit scheme is based on artrism or the welfarist approach of micro-finance. It is conventionally referred to as the Credit-First approach however, with a strong focus on adult literacy using the REFLECT and PRA approaches. The program is designed towards bridging the gender gap in Mbororo communities especially in the domain of decision making and social empowerment aimed at challenging perceptions vis-à-vis the status of Mbororo women. The scheme is not business oriented but geared towards attaining a high social objective. It is therefore strategically situated in the conflict between outreach and sustainability.

 

It is on the basis of this target that the scheme has little affinity for collaterals, as a prerequisite for credit delivery but strives to build practical entrepreneurial skills and credit worthiness in clients as alternative social guarantee and value. A strong attention however is given to savings, building on the traditional structures, systems and approaches of savings mobilization and capital formation in groups and communities. The savings component of the scheme includes a voluntary savings and an obligatory savings (10% of loan)

 

Due to religious prerogatives, loans are apparently provided on a free interest terms but groups however make a contribution of 10% usually sourced from and equivalent to obligatory savings to subvent the running of the scheme. In addition to micro loans and savings, the scheme also provides financial related services like trainings, advice in business management and counseling in case of business failures. The scheme is heavily subsidised considering that group contribution can not service the high cost of running the scheme. In order to sustain the loan fund capital, the scheme uses the strategy designed below:

                Capital depreciation < capital appreciation.

 

The scheme is very vigilant on loan delinquency which is being addressed through regular monitoring and support to group activities. Through REFLECT, the scheme is also able to generate and share learning amongst groups that facilitate the successful realization of their loan activities.

 

    Loan delivery framework and procedures

 

  1. Loan delivery framework.

 

The loan delivery framework has three key actors: client groups, community based financial institutions, micro credit institution ( MBOSCUDA ), with distinct rules in the delivery mechanism.

  1. loan delivery procedures
  • Sensitization of groups/communities on the micro credit scheme.
  • Identification of potential group using the cash poor household index.
  • Group applies for a loan. A participatory project identification process carried out with groups.
  • Feasibility study of project carried out with groups using REFLECT and loan application file completed.
  • Planning carried out with groups using planning kit.
  • Appropriate technical training carried out on identified project.
  • Credit committee held to approve files or reject files for review.
  • Disbursement carried out.
  • Monitoring and evaluation of group project.
  • Recovery, review and recycling of loans 

The scheme has a business plan and a clear monitoring information system that streamline the delivery procedure.

 

  1. Loan policies/conditions.
  • Loan ceilings: 500000 and 1000000 for 1st and 2nd loans respectively
  • Maximum loan cycle per year: 2.
  • Loan duration: 2years.
  • Eligible credit line: agriculture, petit trading, livestock production (except cattle), artisanal (craft).
  • Eligible group membership: 5 – 35 with CIG status.
  • Other group obligations: 10% contribution and effective participation in learning circles.

 

 II. Skills and Enterprise Development

The skills and enterprise development sub–component is aimed at building technical and entrepreneurial skills of women in target groups of the province. In light of this objective, women across thirty groups have acquired training and are effectively running market oriented units in various aspects as seen in the table below.

 

 

Training received

Number of groups

Number of members trained

Soap and body lotion production

30

 

Business management

10

 

Sheep production

4

 

Pepper cultivation

2

 

Cabbage cultivation

2

 

Health education is an integral part of MBOSCUDA’s activities which seeks to promote good health for the targeted Mbororo population. In this domain, MBOSCUDA works in collaboration with partners like Provincial Technical Group (PTG), Plan International and CARE-Cameroon. Below is a brief presentation of what MBOSCUDA has been able to do so far in this domain in collaboration with the different partners.

 

a)      MBOSCUDA/ PLAN-HACI ( Hope for the African Children Initiative)

The MBOSCUDA/PLAN-HACI project is a synthesis of HIV/AIDS awareness creation and support to Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVCs) who are as a result of the pandemic and very poor backgrounds. This project is currently going on in collaboration with PLAN-Bamenda specifically. Activities involved in the project include:

-         HIV/AIDS/ circle of hope trainings carried out in 10 Mbororo communities. With these trainings more than 350 Mbororo women, men and youths have been sensitised and enrolled in the fight against HIV/AIDS and 844 OVCs identified.

-         Support to some OVCs in the North-West Province with basic school needs and fees. It is important to note that much still needs to done in this light.

-         Educated the community members on the importance of supporting OVCs in their respective communities. The aim of this was to enable participants to know that supporting OVCs is not an exclusive activity of the NGOs and other organisations but that of the community members as well.

 

b)    MBOSCUDA / Provincial Technical Group (PTG)

-         In collaboration with the Provincial Technical Group (PTG) for the fight against HIV/AIDS, all MBOSCUDA Staff have been trained on the fight against HIV/Aids

-         PTG has also sponsored a training workshop on HIV/AIDS with MBOSCUDA.

 

c)     MBOSCUDA/CARE- Cameroon

The MBOSCUDA/ CARE Project is the most recent. It will last for a year (August 2005-July 2006). This project embarks on the following activities:

  • -         Mobilisation, sensitisation and training on HIV/AIDS of at least 400 Mbororo men, women and youths in 10 targeted communities. 
  • -         Voluntary counselling and testing of at least 100 people in the targeted communities.
  • -         Support provided for the treatment of at least 10 identified people living with HIV/AIDS.
  • -         Provision of financial assistance and necessary trainings on income generating activities to at least 4 of the 10 targeted communities.
  • -         Provide support (education and nutrition) to at least 40 orphans identified in the targeted communities.

 

It is worth noting that MBOSCUDA as an umbrella organisation of Mbororos has been setting up a series of strategies to fight HIV/AIDS within the Mbororo communities. In this light therefore, MBOSCUDA has put in place a monitoring mechanism to ensure the sustainability of the above mentioned projects. The organisation and communities have also been sourcing up support to a number of OVCs identified through the projects.

 

Also, in the adult literacy component of MBOSCUDA, HIV/AIDS modules are facilitated by the staff, paralegals and community facilitators to participants. Finally, in every Mbororo gathering where MBOSCUDA is present, sensitisation messages are always echoed to the audience.

With a mission to empower marginalized Mbororo by MBOSCUDA, a need for a new approach to adult literacy became imperative. The major objectives of such an approach were to:

·         Provide an opportunity for Mbororo who were not privileged to acquire formal education obtain a certain degree of literacy

·         Systematize their existing knowledge and  promote a detail analysis of local issues affecting their lives

·         Provoke critical thinking among the Mbororo on daily issues surrounding their lives and to challenge cultural myths slowing their development.

·         Cause Mbororo to take control of their own development agenda in their own terms and effectively bring a positive change to their lives.

·         Develop self -confidence in Mbororo through empowerment acquired from learning.

To achieve these lofty objectives MBOSCUDA adapted the REFLECT APPROACH to adult literacy which challenges the old orthodox approach where the teacher only impact on the learners without considering the knowledge of the learners.

 Background on REFLECT

The word REFLECT  is an acronym which means ( Re-generated Frierean  Literacy  through Empowering Community Techniques).This approach is the idea of a renounce Brazilian educator called Paulo Freire that was  regenerated by a UK based organisation called Action Aid. After this approach was piloted  in Elsalvador, India ,Bangladesh  and Uganda, with a high degree of impact it was replicated in Cameroon by MBOSCUDA to some 30 mbororo communities  with the assistance  of  her international partner Village Aid U.K.

In this approach adult literacy is linked to day to day realities of the learners who have much to contribute. This renders the learning like a two way traffic. It is a fuse between participatory rural appraisal (PRA) techniques and Paulo freire pedagogy of the oppressed.

Methodology of reflect

This is quite a unique learning environment as learners referred to as participants sit in a circle known as a REFLECT circle and their board on the ground where the teacher referred to in this context as the facilitator uses PRA tools to generate discussions of their interest. The facilitator is seen here as someone who only guides the process.

The material for learning is generated by the participants. The following steps are followed to guide the facilitator.

·         The facilitator prepares a unit based on a theme intended to explore.

·     A graphic which can take the form of maps, seasonal calendars, charts, diagrams, pictures, role play etc) is constructed in a participatory manner with the participants .This is very enjoyable as each participant will have something to say. There will be a lot of discussions guided by the facilitator. The most recurring issue or problem is noted and constitute a premise for more discussion.

·         This is written down as a keyword for the day relating to the topic

·         An action point is arrived at which seeks to address the major problem.

·         The keyword is written down (in local dialect what they know) and serves as a source of learning for the day to what they do not know. The word is latter broken down into syllables .At this juncture the participants form and write new words in their books in their dialect .An opportunity for reading and writing.

·         In the course of the discussions participants may come across countable nouns which serve as an entry point to numeracy. Participants are learning from a task that draws from their own knowledge in a relax way with a lot of humour.

·         The action point to address the community worry is then taken to the wider community. This leads to a strong sense of ownership   and builds self confidence in the participants.

This approach targets the minds of participants for a social change without hurting them. It is interesting to be learning by discussing problems affecting their development in their environment.

MBOSCUDA embraced REFLECT   during (the growing from within project) in Donga and Mantung Division North West province of Cameroon (1998 to 2002.)

In this pilot project MBOSCUDA profiled and initiated 30 Reflect Circles in mbororo communities who identified adult literacy as their priority at that time.

These reflect circles changed the mind settings of mbororos in those communities who took control of their problems and their development in their own terms.

The multiplier effects of this work   highly solicitated in the other six divisions of the province .as a response to such a crucial community 10 more reflect circles were incorporated within the province by MBOSCUDA.

With the reflect Approach MBOSCUDA has had a number of strides to foster adult literacy among Mbororo most especially women. More specifically MBOSCUDA has

  • Initiated 30 functional REFLECT circles with more than 600 participants
  • Identified, selected, trained and recruited 30 community facilitators to drive the process in these learning circles.
  • Providing learning materials like blackboards ,chalk, exercise books, pens ,pencils etc to these circles
  • The operational core staff of MBOSCUDA are all trained and are practising REFLECT. The community facilitators frequently attend refreshers to share experiences and best practices under the sponsorship of MBOSCUDA.
  • Mboscuda  through her very dynamic Social drama group( the SIDO FORUM) provoked attitude change among Mbororos by dramatising and exposing some cultural practices that hinder their development
  • MBOSCUDA  has expanded the scope of adult literacy to other provinces by supporting new reflect circles

Summarily adult literacy with the REFLECT Approach has had an immense impact in causing Mbororos to take up an active role in their own development. It is worth noting that MBOSCUDA major components  like micro credit scheme, access to justice, gender end women promotion programme are all strongly anchored on REFLECT as a pivot on which learning evolves. This is actually a technique to enable non literate people to articulate their knowledge as building on this knowledge and the reality of the marginalised people must be the starting point of any effective development programme.

Impact of   Reflect on Mbororo

It is important to point out that most of the participants in these reflect circles were women. Most of them confirmed to have achieved the following from the literacy

  • They are now able to write their names and identify both the documents of their children and theirs
  • They are now having a say in family issues like the marriage of their daughters.
  • Going to hospital and clinic is becoming easier for them as they can recognise numbers  and prescriptions
  • Many of them can now use telephones without much assistance as they know numbers
  • They can now use the weight of the their children to assess the health situation
  • They can now supervise their children to do their homework when they come back from school.
  • They have now improved personal hygiene and health through knowledge acquired.
  • They now have business management skills through  Reflect
  • They now challenge negative cultural practices that impede development

The Mbororos are predominantly Muslims. Given the fact that they have limited knowledge of the religion, they have mixed it with their culture thereby negatively affecting their development initiatives.

The birth of MBOSCUDA has changed the above negative aspects through its interventions in various domains which include:

-          Islam and Gender

-          Socio-economic aspects of the community

-          Education (Islam and Western).

 

This has gone a long way to reforming the Mbororo community by changing their mentalities and diversifying from the negative cultures to be more focused and creative.

 

MBSOCUDA has also formed Religio-cultural committees in all the divisions of the North-West Province constituting Islamic clerics. This forum is also used to combat some negative cultures and create awareness on Islam and good practice. So far, 45 clerics have been involved in this forum and are actively performing their roles/responsibilities.

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MBOSCUDA Building, Old Town, P.O Box 221, NWR, Cameroon Bamenda

Phone: 23733361406