The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimated that there were 437,000 IDPs in Cameroon. Amongst these figures are 246,000 Cameroonians in the Southwest Region, 105,000 in the Northwest Region, 86,000 in the Littoral and 35,000 in the West Region. In a report on the Crisis situation in the North West and South-West regions, UN OCHA, under a section dedicated to the Humanitarian Need and Response, argue that the majority of the IDPs in Cameroon are women and children, and the Humanitarian response provided so far does not meet their identified needs.
An assessment carried out by different stakeholders have identified needs across sectors, with the most acute being in protection, Food security and Shelter. It can, however, be noted that the situation has evolved over the years, mindful of the UN OCHA report update of March 2021. Notwithstanding, much still needs to be done in a bid to rescue the victims of this crisis in the provision of basic needs, especially during this challenging context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Why an ACOHOF IDP Care Initiative
The ACOHOF IDP Care Initiative (ACOHOF-Care) is keen on the unceasing devastating impact of this crisis on the internally displaced people. It has a mission to assist, equip, empower and holistically transform the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable people badly affected and dislodged from their various homes and communities in Cameroon's NW and SW regions. Our objective is to initiate programs that will provide vocational education services, housing and other emergency provisions to alleviate the burden and trauma of forced dislodgment suffered by the displaced population.
Having shut down our base in Tatum, Bui Division, where our Head Office and the ACOHOF Family Farm School was located, we relaunched last year in Bankim, Adamawa Region of Cameroon. Here, we discovered that many Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from our community had settled here in makeshift homes have become nomadic birds. They have been tramping to our Liaison Office in this region seeking information, available training opportunities and various kinds of assistance.
Worthy of mention is that these IDPs who flee the killings to safety zones encounter so many challenges. They remain vulnerable in their new settlements due to a lack of sustenance, housing, employment opportunities, proper healthcare and security. They remain subject to all forms of abuse. They remain targets of the warring factions, with some having received calls of threat.
The effects of this displacement and the trauma suffered by all who experience it, children mainly, put them in very hostile situations amidst the deadly covid-19 pandemic. Countless IDPs do not have access to education since 2016 and are more vulnerable to the global Covid-19 pandemic.
Get Involved and offer a Smile & Hope
The ACOHOF IDP Care Initiative, mindful of this need, seeks Organizations and individuals who can partner with us and fund our activities geared towards restoring hope in the IDPs. With your assistance, we will be able to respond to their needs or train them in the ACOHOF Family Farm School of Bankim and or pay the school fees of those in other schools. Secondly, to launch a fierce fight against the Covid-19 that is threatening locals in the villages by providing IDPs with coronavirus preventive kits, buckets, soap, hand sanitizers and face masks. Thirdly by distributing mattresses, bedsheets, blankets, and mosquito nets to those hiding in the forests and makeshift homes. To equip IDPs settled in localities with agricultural potentials with tools and little loans to start small scale businesses to help them survive, thereby becoming petty rural entrepreneurs. Lastly, to reopen the ACOHOF Community Radio in Bankim. This media will serve as the information hub for the community and a medium to carry out sensitization against the covid-19. Apart from that, programs that promote peace and reconciliation, gender mainstreaming, education of the Girl-Child, prevention of child marriages and all forms of sexual harassment shall be on the highlight.