Covering a distance of about 640 kms, AAFEBEN a Civil Society Organization (CSO) with members of 3 Cooperatives in the East Region of Cameroon arrived Buea on the 15/3/2022 for exchange visit with Bakossi Non-Timber Forest Product Cooperative held at FORUDEF’s office on the 16/03/2022.
Let us take a step back, and talk briefly about AAFEBEN and FORUDEF.
AAFEBEN, located in the Yakodouma district of the East Region was created in 2001 on the basis of empowering women in that locality. It has as vision; to work for a society where forest communities rationally and sustainably manage their resources and are able to take care of themselves. AAFEBEN over the years has not limited its work to women but have engulfed in their activities to work with indigenous peoples and local communities.
FORUDEF, on the other hand was created in 1998 with a vision that; communities in the South west region, Cameroon are living an improved life in harmony with nature. Over the years, FORUDEF has greatly and particularly intervened and is still, in areas of Conservation, Livelihoods and Community Health.
A fast-forward to 16/03/2022, the day of the exchange visit.
AAFEBEN works closely with cooperatives, and during this exchange visit, AAFEBEN was in Buea with 10 cooperative members from 3 different cooperatives (Or Nature de Yokadouma, Or Vert de Mambele and Centre Vert de Lomie). The Bakossi Non-Timber Forest Products cooperation society (BANOTIFOPCOOP), being the only cooperative that FORUDEF works with was present with 3 of its members. Thus, the rationale behind this visit was for BANOTIFOPCOOP to share her experiences with AAFEBEN. Experiences that will enable her and her Partner cooperatives to learn, modify, and adapt strategies for optimum operation.
With the use of flip charts, the Director of WWF, Coastal Program explained in detail the structure of BANOTIFOPCOOP which is made up of the General Assembly, Board of Directors and the Management, and their various functions.
This was an interesting and interactive visit indeed, as the last part of the agenda gave an opportunity for participants to ask and answer questions. BANOTIFOPCOOP members explained how they manage their challenges with price fluctuations and Human Resources.
As the visiting cooperatives under the auspices of AAFEBEN embarked on their long journey to the East, they had as intention to adapt and assimilate interesting elements that may/will work for their various cooperatives. Absorbing to know, these cooperatives have already conceived in their minds to invite BANOTIPCOOP in the future, to train them (cooperatives) on the domestication of bush pepper as they have great interest in this NTFP due its high economic value and high demand.