Saturday, 4 October 2014


13 Universities 20+ NGOs and 3 Ministries power conservation Education in Cameroon

Pupils studying different kinds of animal species at the Limbe Wild Life Centre credit Limbe Wild Life Centre
 By Israel Bionyi

From all indications Education in Cameroon is the most valuable tool which promotes growth and development. The most recent UNDP Human Development Indicator (HDI) for 2013 together with the Worlds Bank’s country report 2013 indicates Cameroon has reached 111% in her primary school education. This explains why more than 78% of the 23 Million people are considered educated.

Having education is one thing and having conservation knowledge is another. CIFOR (Center for International Forestry Research) discovered that in 41 REED+ Projects in Asia, Africa and the South America, 1500 jobs were created but 80% of Applicants were not qualified. This observation was made in an E-debate organized by CIFOR at the Forest Summit in Asia, May 2014. Many people go to schools obtain generic diplomats with less interest on Conservation studies. Among the 5000-10 000 graduates that leave Cameroonian Universities every year less than 5% of them come out with a qualification in conservation.

There are 38 Universities in Cameroon amongst which 8 states owned Universities. According to recent classifications from 4international College and Universities, (Online portal for graduates an youths) The state Universities figure among the best (University of Dschang, University of Yaoundé II Soa,University of  Douala,  University of  Yaoundé I,  University of Ngaoundéré, University of Maroua, Universityof Buea and University of Bamenda). All state Universities in Cameroon have either a school or a department of science which usher’s environmental and conservation studies. The most popular programmes in all the state universities include: Animal Biology, Zoology, Biochemistry, Environmental studies, microbiology and earth science.

The University of Bamenda has a more structured programme on environmental studies which goes right deep into touching specific areas such as tropical fisheries, mammalian ecology, Wildlife Habitat Management and Avian Ecology. State Universities retain between 40 to 80 students per programme each yeah. The lecturers are either recruited by the Ministry of Higher Education or The Universities themselves. More than 70% of lecturers at the State Universities are recruited by the state. In most of the cases the Minister of Higher Education often launch an open recruitment and seek for proposals from the University.

For Private Education, there are 30 private Universities in Cameroon with the most popular being catholic and protestant Universities. 5 out of 30 private universities offer environmental or conservation studies they include: The Higher Institute of Environmental Sciences (HIES); Pan African University of West Africa-Environment and agricultural development (MSc); Catholic University of Central Africa-Geography and Environmental Studies; Bamenda University of Science and Technology-Agronomy and Soil Science and Animal Science and Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERUDEF)-Environmental programme. HIES and ERUDEF go as far as offering studies in  conservation policy and Conservations communications the Institutes also involve in youth trainings and sensitization in schools.

The Ministries and NGOs liaising to come into play

Ministry of Forestry and Wild Life, West Regional Office, Powering conservation Education
The Ministries of forestry and Wild Life and the Ministry of The Environment in collaboration with other partners and NGOs are working to see into it that Cameroonians take cog naissance on how they could live in harmony with nature without destroying it. The two ministries jointly power two important schools: The National School of Waters and Forests of Cameroon and the Institute of Faune in Garoua. These schools train forest controllers, forest experts, guards, and administrators. Flavien Ngibaot is one of the Graduates from The National School of Waters and Forests of Cameroon; he is now the National Brigade Commander for forestry control operations in the Ministry of Forestry and Wild Life. He is the main man behind the fight against illegal exploitation of the Bibinga tree and the campaign against wild Life poaching in the Littoral region. Under his command, the ministry has ceased thousands of wild animals, guns and finned irrational logging companies. The Ministries also supports environmental awareness raising magazines every year. Examples of such Magazines Include: “Les defenseurs de L’environnement” (The Defenders of the Environment) “Le Selviculteur” (The Forester) Magazine and “Lettre Verte” (The Green Letter) produced by the Ministry of Forestry and Wild Life.

 “Restructuring measures taken since 2012 have been strengthened and are already bearing fruits” said the Minister of forestry and wild Life Ngole Philip Ngwese, in the Ministry’s The Green Letter Magazine No 28 of June 2013. The minister also added that the fight against illegal exploitation of forest and wild life is now witnessing progress. Thanks to the various sensitization efforts. In 2012, The Ministry of Forestry and Wild Life in Collaboration with The IUCN and the Wildlife Conservation Society introduced a new course: Management of Protected Species in Central Africa at the University Teaching Complex of Dr. Alphonse Mackanga Missandzou, situated north of Lope National Park in Gabon. This programme trained and graduated 15 laureates on the 22nd of December 2014. Amongst them, 4 were Cameroonians with three from the Ministry of Forestry and wildlife.

There is an estimate of 20 NGOs that promote conservation education in Cameroon amongst them we can name: UNICEF, CIFOR, WWF, GEF, UNDP, CIDI, TRAFFIC, ICENECDEV (The International Centre for Environmental Education and Community Development) SHUMAS (Strategic Humanitarian Services in Cameroon), Plan International, Wild Life Conservation Society (WCS), Green Cameroon ENRUDEF (Environment and Rural Development Foundation) ZSL (London Zoological Society) and LAGA (The Last Great Ape Organization, Cameroon). These organizations organize sensitization campaigns, competitions and events in Primary secondary and Tertiary schools sponsor Youth Magazines and offer conservation books to libraries, scholarships and trainings to students and pupils to follow the light of conservation.

We can point out WWF Central Africa Programme’s promising effort on Conservation Education in Cameroon. Through their Youth Strategy and the Youth Volunteer and scholarship programmes, WWF have since 2011 offered more than 10 Cameroonians International Internships and more than 4 scholarships at the level of Higher Education. Their efforts are saluted by many Cameroonian including me; I will encourage the government and other organizations to follow their example.

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