The CPS program started in Cameroon in 2011 with the aim to strengthen social cohesion and fight against the fragmentation which has increased during the last ten years in the country. With the support of Bread for the World, partners have been on the ground making several efforts towards strengthening social cohesion. With seventeen partners spread in different parts of Cameroon, a lot is being done in this light. Partners have crafted a variety of initiatives executed in diverse communities, with youth, women, men, traditional as well as religious leaders, thus bringing people together to build a peaceful Cameroon. CPS partners operate towards the well-being of all its members, fighting exclusion and marginalization, creating a sense of belonging, promoting trust, and offering members of the community the opportunity of upward social mobility. A social cohesive society is one where basic needs such as health, water, shelter, clothing and the welfare of everyone is prioritized, education is given a better place, values are respected, women are recognized, vulnerable groups are given special attention while youths are capacitated to play positive roles in building their communities.
CPS partners have not closed their eyes to what will happen to the society if they don’t play their selfless role of promoting and bolstering social cohesion. Partners are seen supporting populations in accessing basic needs such as water to host communities and displaced persons and where women are used to trekking for over five kilometers (A typical example is that of the SAARE TABITHA in the Far North Region of Cameroon and AFFADA in the Eastern Region). The two partners work with women and young girls to provide them with a voice and work with the community to give women the opportunity to lead especially in traditional settings (AFFADA working with some communities in Ngaoundéré is an illustration of such a practice). Many partners also combine efforts with youths in different ways to build up their capacities on nonviolence, helping them to be aware of their identity and consolidating their skills in leadership, self-esteem and thus assisting them to play an active role in shaping the future of the country (DMJ, APADER, PCC Peace office, AJP, DNE-EEC, ISTP, Doual’art and CIPCRE) Others provide psychosocial support to victims of violence notably within the Crisis in North West and South West (the PCC and Trauma Centre rightly illustrate this). Cameroonians and mostly victims are provided with the opportunity to share their experiences and lay the foundations for the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission in order to make proposals for long lasting peace (REDHAC).
With the Anglophone crisis affecting the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon, some partners have designed projects to put an end to hate speech and work towards providing support to crisis affected communities and persons. PUCA and the PCC Peace office are doing a marvelous job in promoting peace and development studies and peace journalism over war journalism. More partners are striving to bring community conflicts to an end by providing warrying parties with the opportunity to dialogue (COMINSUD). Another category of partners is involved in equipping others (individuals and organizations) with conflict sensitive approaches such as the Principles of DO NO HARM and non-violent communication, to enable them build peaceful homes and communities. A good case in this point is the Council of Protestant churches (CPCC) that achieves this with its member churches. All the contributions of partners cannot be elaborated in such a single publication. The goal is therefore to throw some light on the activities of partners in strengthening social cohesion. The aim of this publication is also to give the opportunity to the CPS program of different countries (Liberia, Sierra Leone and DRC Congo) and their partners to gain insight in the efforts of partners in Cameroon and see how such contributions could be helpful in best practice sharing among different organizations with the purpose of learning from each other. The publication might also be relevant to other stakeholders keen on learning from what CPS partners in Cameroon do. It is hoped that anyone who reads the content of this document will be more inspired to play his or her role in building peaceful communities and providing safe spaces for all.
Right Reverend Fonki Samuel Forba
President and Moderator
Council of Protestant Churches in Cameroon (CPCC)
Presbyterian Church in Cameroon (PCC)