20061017

 

Do No Harm: "Radio gives voice to communities"

NB: Excerpt from World Bank linked site (May 2005):

Imagine members of a Pygmy community in the Congo Basin in Central Africa gathered around a radio listening to programs in their own language and featuring their own people. Both of these scenarios are now set to become reality through the World Bank's Development Marketplace - a competitive grants program recognizing innovative environmental ideas...Pygmy Community Radio: A total of $US150, 000 has just been granted for the establishment of the first-ever indigenous forest peoples' language radio station in Central Africa. For Scott Poynton, executive director of the Tropical Trust Fund, it's a significant move. It is about giving the Pygmy communities a voice in the decision making process involving forests in their area - something they don't have at the moment, Poynton says. The Tropical Trust Fund is working with a private company, Conglaise Industrialle des Bois (CIB), which manages 1.3 million hectares of forest in the Congo Basin in Central Africa. Poynton says CIB is seeking certification to an international standard, which requires that they work very closely with indigenous people. "The problem you have with indigenous people in this part of the world is that they are very hard to contact," Poynton says. "They don't have a written tradition, so you can't send them a letter. They move around the forests - you see them one day and the next day you go back to talk to them and they are not there. "They are an egalitarian society so you can't just talk to the village head, you've got to talk to everyone."..."How to overcome all these obstacles and bridge the literacy divide is very difficult. So we talked with some experts who know the pygmy communities very well, and they said let's have a radio station. We said okay, let's try that." Poynton says the radio station will be run by the community, with the project distributing portable radios throughout the area. "It'll be run by the Pygmies. They gather the broadcast material themselves. We'll train them how to do that. So they'll have their own material on the radio and as part of that we'll also get in some debates or some discussion about forest management. They'll start getting a voice into forest management decision making which today they don't have." Poynton says at the moment, the indigenous population feels disenfranchised from the planning process for the forests. "When the company is about to harvest an area, they don't go out and sit down in the forest community and say, look, we're going to put a road through here, is that okay. They could be passing through traditional sites, religious areas -anything that's special to these communities. It just doesn't happen at the moment. The road goes through. So the Pygmy communities tend to feel a bit disenfranchised. "We can turn that around pretty quickly if we start having some dialogue."

NB: Tort in progress? The actors and modalities do raise some red flags. Commmunity radio is a powerful medium and Tropical Forest Trust in partnership with CIB is not overstating the potential impact of the project when they say "We can turn that around pretty quickly". As a mechanism for shaping perception, dialogue and attitude, community radio represents an enormous potential for positive change - as well as its opposite. In the context of the conflict-prone Congo Basin (and the specific experiences of indigenous peoples in the DRC) one wonders about the capacity of these actors to implement this potentially sensitive initiative. In a fragile, transitional environment one can only cross one's fingers and hope that the World Bank, Tropical Forest Trust and CIB are aware of what is a heightened risk of "unitended negative impacts". Do No Harm (DNH) is an analytical framework for identification and mitigation for programs to inadvertently contribute to destabilization that is recognized by humanitarian practioners as basic and fundamental "safety mechanism" in the design and implementation of programs in fragile contexts. As an elementary program "safeguard", DNH is a fundamental "rule of the road" that is about as basic as knowing the significance of the changing color of a traffic light for a driver. In this case, one can only hope that World Bank is fully cognizant of Lessons Learned by development actors that have been implementing community radio programming for the past 15 years in Latin America where such a program is not deemed a "novel innovation". If not, World Bank has effectively issued a drivers license to color-blind parties whose feet may not reach the pedals. In the event these "good intentions" backfire to the detriment of the indigenous communities involved, World Bank will be morally responsible - if not formally accountable - for what are forseeable consequences in the Congo Basin context.

20061016

 

ROC: Positive deviance and success stories in the Plateaux?

Excerpt from IRIN-OCHA In-Depth report "Minorities Under Siege: "...Some communities have shown, however, that it is possible for Bantu and pygmy groups to coexist in a more equitable way. Pygmies in the Plateaux department in central ROC are called Bambengas and Atswâs. “We call them pygmies because that’s the original name, but they are similar to us,” said Armel Mboussa, a young football coach in the town of Gamboma, the largest division in the Plateaux department, some 350 km north of Brazzaville.

Béné is a pygmy village, 3 km from Gamboma. The village houses around 200 inhabitants and spreads over 700 metres. “Even though Béné is our village, we do all our business in Gamboma,” said Ange François Leyeba, the 45-year-old deputy chief of the village. He spent most of his childhood in Béné, where he now has two wives and four children. In the Gamboma market, pygmies sell food and goods – like palm nut oil, asparagus, firewood and cassava leaves – in stalls next to Bantu shopkeepers. “There was a lot of discrimination in the past. But now we are free, and we can go wherever we want,” Leyeba said. Denial of access to medical care is a complaint in many pygmy communities throughout Central Africa. However, during vaccination campaigns against poliomyelitis and measles in Béné, the mainly Bantu doctors treat pygmy children. Some Bantus actually come to Béné to consult pygmy witch doctors and healers. “The Bantus who come to us for healing have no problem eating our cola nuts and the things we cook,” said Jean-Didier Atipo, a resident.

Pygmies also have the right to vote. “During the elections, our polling station is in the village, and no one forces a candidate upon us,” said Joseph Ngopo, a local resident. Pygmy labourers negotiate their wages with Bantu farmers. “Sometimes we ask to be paid in advance, to avoid problems when the work is done,” said Ghyslain Akabo, a field hand. Gamboma is also ROC’s third military region. “Many of our brothers are in the army. They go to work in the camp every day and come back at night. They are not troubled,” said Leyeba.

A positive integration into society. An association called Regard to Pygmies, headed by Sorel Eta, a Bantu, organized a traditional musical group who eventually presented their songs as an official gift to Koichiro Matsuura, head of the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), during the fifth Pan African Music Festival (FESPAM) in Brazzaville in 2003.

Bernard Gambou, who heads the Schools in Cooperation Project (ECCO, or Ecoles en coopération), set up in cooperation between Norway and ROC, has a theory as to why the two communities were able to integrate so successfully: “The evangelical church was instrumental in this integration, because since the 1950s, Bantus get baptised in the same pools as pygmies,” he said. ECCO rehabilitated the primary school building in Béné with the help of UNICEF and the Congolese ministry in charge of literacy. Almost 100 pupils attend the school. Congo and Norway also implemented a teacher-exchange programme in 2004-2005. “The school system is quite different from the Norwegian one,” said Norwegian teacher Randi Gramsahud. “When it rains, pygmy children stay at home,” she said. “I’ve taught them a bit of English, how to say hello and a few basic sentences.” The Norwegian volunteer organisation Fredskorpset has rehabilitated a joint pygmy-Bantu school in Oniamva, a village in the nearby Ngo district, and engages in advocacy against racism and discrimination. “If the whites have no problems coexisting with the blacks, why should the Bantus reject the pygmy, his own kind,” said Gambou.

There are even members of Bantu communities who have initiated projects to help promote pygmy culture. An association called Regard to Pygmies, headed by Sorel Eta, a Bantu, organised a traditional musical group comprised of 10 pygmies. The band issued a 10-song CD, which was presented as an official gift to Koïchiro Matsuura, head of the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), during the fifth Pan African Music Festival (FESPAM) in Brazzaville in 2003. UNESCO had contributed more than CFA 2 million [US $ 3,800] to the production costs. “The pygmy culture must be preserved and offered access to the global stage, because these people have a contribution to offer,” Eta said..."

 

ROC & Congo Basin: Map of CARPE implementation areas

*Essential reference. Map highlights the geographical scope of the CARPE project. Out of twelve implementation zones, six directly impact the Republic Congo. Over 85% of the land area of Sangha and Likoula departments have been targeted and over 1/3 of all land in the Republic of Congo will be directly affected by the 20-year USAID initiative. The specific areas targeted by the CARPE project and its conservation partners represent the traditional areas of indigenous peoples.

20061013

 

ROC-Cameroon-Gabon: TRIDOM

Excerpt from "The Global Environment Facility in Central Africa" by Emily Caruso, Forest Peoples Programme, March 2005: "..The Tri-national Dja-Odzala-Mikébé project is a protected area project to be implemented in the area ... shared by Gabon, Cameroon and the Republic of Congo. It has been selected as one of the eleven priority areas of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP). The specific objective of the project is “to maintain the ecological functions and connectivity of TRIDOM, and ensure long-term conservation of its protected area system through integrated, sustainable and participatory management in the interzone between the protected areas”...Similar to the majority of GEF projects in Central Africa, the project’s rationale is still based on the premise that people are the problem, and the provision of “alternative livelihoods initiatives to ease the
pressure on natural resources”..is, as ever, the golden solution. One of the main thrusts of the project is the “enforcement” of legislation concerning hunting and resource use. The project will even support mobile teams to carry out law enforcement throughout protected areas and forest concessions. This carries serious risks for indigenous peoples who rely on forest resources for their subsistence, and who have in the past been victims of repressive and violent law enforcement at the hands of protected area and forest concession staff. This is especially true for Pygmy communities, whose cultural attachment to their forests and their dependence on subsistence hunting and gathering makes them
extremely vulnerable to the enforcement of hunting control measures established to target commercial operators.

Another important element of this project..is that of promoting ecotourism as a financing mechanism for protected areas. This, despite the complete failure of other conservation and GEF projects to deliver the results expected from the key assumption that ecotourism will help protect biodiversity...This, alongside the use of carbon forestry..shows an increasing interest by policymakers and project
managers in the financial value of ‘ecosystem services’, and how to capitalise on them. These commercial components of the project have not been agreed by communities who will be directly affected by them in Cameroon, Gabon or the Republic of Congo. This push for privatising or commercialising natural processes and areas thus threatens to exacerbate further the marginalisation
of indigenous and forest-dependent peoples, since their territories and resources will be put on a market where actors are much more powerful than them, and even less accountable to them than their own government.

The project document notes that TRIDOM will seek to address the needs of indigenous peoples in particular by 1) encouraging increased participation of pygmies in the decision-making process regarding natural resources, in particular during land-use planning exercise and (2) ensuring the
recognition and protection of their rights, systems and knowledge, especially in terms of natural resource management. This is one of the few available GEF project documents which refers to the rights of indigenous peoples. The project documents state that activities relating to indigenous peoples will build upon “the successful experiences catalyzed by WWF in implementing a collaborative
management agreement on control of hunting with the Association of Baka pygmies of Minvoul...which aims at strengthening the legal and social status of
the Baka and promoting benefit sharing from their ecological knowledge.” It is now clear, however, that WWF’s success at involving Baka Pygmies in their work has been grossly exaggerated – in most cases Pygmies are not involved in project activities, this has resulted in increased threats to their livelihoods..."

20061012

 

CAR: Census?

Excerpt from CARPE Congo Basin News Page (May 2003): "..According to Koulaninga, the conference mandated the CAR to coordinate a project for studies on the pygmies, with funding from UNESCO, the UN Development Programme, and the UN population Fund and the UN Children's Fund..." NB: No further information about the status of the CAR census could be found on the internet nor on the websites of UNESCO, UNDP or UNICEF.
----------------------------------
NB: On or about 10 October 2006, a commercial supplement to Jeune Afrique entitled "Les Guides Ecofinance: Les Cles Pour Investir - Centrafrique, Le pays et son potentiel economique" refers on p. 12 to a census. Exceprt: "Minorities: premier habitants des forets du Sud, Les Pygmees (Ba'aka ou Akas) vivent aujourd'hui de maniere autonome dans la region de la Lobaye (leur nombre est estime a 12,400, selon le recensement de 2003. Autre minoritie, les Mbororos sont des eleveurs nomades qui vivent dans la partie centrale et occidentale du pays (38,600 habitants en 2003)." Supplement notes the address for the official government site as www.rca-gouv.com but notes that the site is currently in the process of being developed.

 

Great Lakes: Promoting the rights of Batwa Pygmies

From Development Gateway website:

Title: "Promoting the rights of Batwa Pygmies"

To provide a forum for Batwa to meet, network and learn from each other. Through increasing the capacity of partners it will support Batwa people to address issues that effect quality of life and influence decision makers at all levels.

Alternate Title: Promoting the rights of Batwa Pygmies: Recognition, Representation and Cooperation(en)
ID: 001683012(DFID)
Sector: Human Rights
Keyword (en) Human Rights
Start Date: 2001-04-01
End Date: 2005-03-01
Status: Ongoing
Funding: Department for International Development - 201,907 GBP
Org Involved: MINORITY RIGHTS GROUP
Related URL: DFID Home Page
For More Information: enquiry@dfid.gov.uk

 

Cameroon: Bagyeli Pygmies Participation in Civil Society

*Key resource. Details from Development Gateway database:

DFID View OECD-DAC CRS View
Details: Bagyeli Pygmies Participation in Civil Society CSCF 179

"To promote community capacity to secure sustainable livelihoods in the long term by using a rights based approach"

ID: 012683004(DFID)
Location: Cameroon (CMR)
Sector: Human Rights
Keywords: Sustainable Rural Livelihoods/Human Rights/Strategies for Sustainable Dev
Start Date: 2002-04-01 End Date: 2006-03-01
Status: Ongoing
Funding: Department for International Development - 171,312 GBP
Org Involved: FOREST PEOPLES PROJECT
Related URL: DFID Home Page
For More Information: enquiry@dfid.gov.uk
Notes: Please quote the following department in your enquiry: 'Civil Society Challenge Fund'
Source: DFID (DbKey 012683004)
Record Date: 2002-10-04 00:00:00 AM
Harvested: 2005-04-08 00:08:16 PM

20061011

 

DRC: Indigenous projects at the Onaway Trust

Excerpt from Onaway website: "...In the last five years, Onaway has established contacts whose function is to address the ongoing plight of the indigenes whilst ensuring that traditional cultures remains intact. Our main focus is to support sustainable projects with environmentally-sound aims, improve the health of the people whilst providing spiritual upliftment to the whole community. One such project provides support to two Pygmy villages* in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Recognised by many as the first settlers in the Virunga region, Pygmies only take from Nature what they need and thus do not disturb the natural balance of their ecosystem. However, with the creation of the Virunga National Park in 1926, the Pygmies were unceremoniously evicted without resettlement or compensation from their Ituri forests where they had lived for thousands of years. In 1994 their population was reduced by 30 per cent as a result of civil war and today, in consequence, they are seriously marginalised and forced to survive by scavenging agricultural waste sites.(*Kashwa and Tchanzo in Rutshuru Province.)..Onaway supports the Pygmies through the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund (DFGF) and Eco-Action - both NGOs working in the region. In a letter to Onaway in August 2000, Judith Egerton of DFGF explained: "By improving their social, health and economic environment, the Pygmies will be in a position to end their dependence on neighbouring communities and take charge of their own destiny. If successful, this could be extended to other Pygmy communities in Eastern Congo."..Clearly, community development requires time, patience and ongoing encouragement but already, one year on, positive results are being seen. DFGF reports that:"When the project started there wasn¹t a single Pygmy household that grew produce and they showed a certain hostility to work that did not reap immediate rewards. With the help of Eco-Action, the Pygmies realised that the land itself was a source of potential wealth." With the necessary seeds and tools in place, all cultivatable land provided to the Pygmies is now being farmed efficiently. In the year 2000 alone, the production of beans increased 30 per cent on the previous year - and maize a staggering 60 per cent!...Pygmy health, too, has improved with all members of the two villages now registered at a local health centre. While workshops have been arranged to improve sanitary conditions and to organise the building of latrines. Illnesses, mainly caused by contaminated water, waste materials, malnutrition and infected wounds are declining and it is anticipated these improvements could be replicated in surrounding villages...Pottery production, sadly, is a declining Pygmy tradition. However, in the past year, through encouragement and supply of the necessary materials, each family has moulded and is now using fuel-efficient clay stoves within their homes. Surplus pots and stoves are sold at the local market - the proceeds of which are used to purchase other goods which benefit their communities. Thus, Pygmy pottery skills are being increasingly resurrected and better stoves are produced, resulting in both increased Pygmy self-esteem and a marked improvement in the overall sustainability of the villages..."

 

ROC: International Federation of the Red Cross

Excerpt from Annual Report (8/6/06) - IFRC: Republic of Congo: "..Goal: Respect for human dignity and more effective solidarity with the vulnerable are assured through the promotion of the Fundamental Principles and humanitarian values.
Objective: The level of discrimination against pygmies, people living with HIV/ AIDS (PLWHA), people with disabilities and victims of rape is reduced in the target areas (Pointe-Noire and the regions of Pool and Lekoumou. Achievements: *10 sessions were organized to disseminate the Fundamental Principles of the Red Cross to 350 people; *A weekly radio programme was broadcasted on the national station in favour of urban and rural populations;
* Six sessions were organized to disseminate the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) in four divisions of Congo; *Four issues of a quarterly information bulletin were published and distributed to the 11 divisional councils of the national society and to members of the public; *Information on Congolese Red Cross activities was sent to Yaounde for insertion in the information bulletin of the Yaounde sub-regional office. Impact: The beneficiaries adhere to the humanitarian action of the Red Cross, thanks to the impressive dissemination and promotion of Humanitarian Values, the Fundamental Principles and ideals of the Red Cross; * A significant audience is now aware of the activities of the national society and has access to the Congolese Red Cross-related information.."

 

Burundi: CRS initiatives to assist Batwa peoples

Excerpt from CRS website: "...Catholic Relief Services has been supporting "Action Batwa" since its inception. From 2000 to the present, CRS and the Missionaries of Africa have helped over 105 families in 20 villages with new housing, general health care and, in the face of a serious malaria epidemic, necessities such as clothes, soap, blankets, etc., and goats for animal husbandry. The collaboration will now provide new seeds and fruit plants, as well as uniforms and school fees for the children of participating families...In addition to CRS' assistance, the Missionaries of Africa have been able to open a dispensary, provide schooling assistance, liaison with local administrations for land ownership rights and foster trans-ethnic interaction by encouraging young students and craftsmen from other ethnicities to help the Batwa build..."Action Batwa" is funded primarily by The Missionaries of Africa and Catholic Relief Services, with additional funding by the McArthur Fund, Caritas New Zealand and Caritas Australia..."

20061010

 

*ROC: Renforcer l’autonomie des femmes autochtones (Bouenza et Lekoumou)

***This initiative by Azur Developpment (a local NGO of women) represents three important and innovative elements: 1) the use of ICT and blogs to share information about program activities and plans to promote coordination; 2) the incorporation of a gender and support indigenous women; and 3) active partnership with an organization of indigenous peoples which raffirms and supports the right of self-determination....well done!

Excerpt from Azur Developpment's blog "Congolese Women on the Web" (posted September 2006): AZUR Développement et l’Association des Peuples autochtones du Congo (APAC) vont travailler en partenariat pour renforcer l’autonomie des femmes pygmées dans les départements de la Bouenza et de la Lékoumou...Les deux organisations vont développer d’ici 2007 des activités ciblant les femmes pygmées : la formation et le soutien pour les activités génératrices de revenus, la promotion des droits de la femme, l’appui à la scolarisation des enfants, la prévention contre le VIH/SIDA entre autres.

 

Ruanda, Burundi, RDC: Création du réseau des jeunes Batwa-Bambuti des pays des grands lacs

Excerpt from GITPA website: "Un réseau dénommé "Réseau des Jeunes Batwa-Bambuti des pays des grands lacs" (RJB) vient d'être créé avec pour mission principale d'unifier l'action des jeunes autochtones Batwa-Bambuti pour la promotion, la défense et la protection des droits des peuples autochtones Batwa-Bambuti de la région des Grands Lacs. Le siège se trouve à Bujumbura au Burundi. Il est dirigé par un comité exécutif élu composé de représentants des 3 pays des Grands Lacs (Ruanda, Burundi, RDCongo)..."

 

Cameroun: Séminaire régional de sensibilisation sur le droit des communautés autochtones d'Afrique Centrale

Excerpt from GITPA website: "...Organisé par la commission africaine des droits de l'homme et des peuples en collaboration avec IWGIA, le séminaire a discuté entre autres, la protection légale des droits des peuples autochtones en Afrique centrale
la pauvreté des peuples autochtones et leur situation au regard de la santé et de l'éducation l'importance des terres pour la survie des populations autochtones
les facteurs responsables de leur dépossession territoriale..."

 

List of WCS Africa Projects

ROC: In addition to its environmental conservation initiatives, WCS is implementing a schools education program and environmental curriculum development. Worth checking their project list as WCS is a key conservation actor throughout the Congo Basin and works in areas where popluations of indigenous peoples are often significant.

 

Thematic List of all Projects of the ITTO

Excerpt: Sustainable forest management and trade supported by SECO..This website provides a framework for consultation and information on the activities supported by the State Secretariat for Economy (SECO) as part of its programme of "economic cooperation", specifically in promoting trade in tropical timber and non-timber forest products from sustainable sources. This service is the competence centre of the Swiss Federal Administration for sustainable economic development, and the integration of less developed and transition countries into the world economy. This website is designed and updated by Intercooperation, SECO's strategic partner in tropical forestry.

Partners: The Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) is the competence centre of the Federal Administration for sustainable economic development cooperation. Regarding commodities, it supports selected partner countries in respect to the diversification of its economic base and reduction of dependence on exports of raw materials. By doing so, SECO avoids any use of interventionist measures. The focus is on the promotion of sustainably produced raw materials. The International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) based in Yokohama and funded in 1983, facilitates discussion, consultation and international co-operation on issues relating to the international trade and utilization of tropical timber and the sustainable management of its resource base. The governing body of ITTO is the International Tropical Timber Council (ITTC), which includes all members (Producer and Consumer countries). ITTC is supported by four committees: Economic Information and Market Intelligence, Reforestation and Forest Management, Forest Industry, and Finance and Administration. Intercooperation, a non-government, non-profit making Swiss Organization for Development and Cooperation, delivers to SECO comprehensive advisory services in matters relating to tropical forestry in general, and to tropical timber trade and sustainable management of tropical timber producing forests in particular. It is SECO's strategic partner for all the activities and international debate relating to the Swiss membership in the ITTO. The cooperation between Switzerland and the ITTO represents one of the main tools of the Swiss policy towards sustainable use of tropical forests. Other actions are undertaken by the Swiss Agency for the Environment, Forests and Landscape (SAEFL) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

 

Cameroon: The Environmental Foundation plan

Excerpt from World Bank Environmental Management Plan (1999): "...Environmental Foundation Plan: In conjunction with the Project's Offsite Environmental Enhancement Program and Indigenous Peoples Plan...COTCO will make a $US 3.5 million (2100 million FCFA) contribution to an Environmental Foundation in order to: Provide defined long-term financial support for environmental enhancement activities in the Mbam-Djerem area and the Campo Reserve area...Provide defined long-term financial support for Bakola Pygmy-related development activities in the region of the Atlantic Littoral forest in the vicinity of the easement of the Cameroon Transportation System's pipeline between Lolodorf and Kribi..."

 

Forest Peoples Programme

*Key INGO actors in the Congo Basin providing timely and incisive policy analysis: Excerpt from FPP homepage: "Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) advocates an alternative vision of how forests should be managed and controlled, based on respect for the rights of the peoples who know them best. We work with forest peoples in South America, Central Africa, South and South East Asia, and Central Siberia to help these communities secure their rights, build up their own organisations and negotiate with governments and companies as to how economic development and conservation is best achieved on their lands...Founded in 1990, FPP has grown into a respected and successful organisation that bridges the gap between policy makers and forest peoples. The Forest Peoples Project is its charitable arm. Through advocacy, practical projects and capacity building, FPP helps forest peoples deal with the outside powers that shape their lives and futures. Web content: This site contains documents prepared by FPP, information from our partners, and other materials of relevance to indigenous peoples, forest-dependent communities and forests..."

20061009

 

ROC, Cameroon, CAR, Gabon: CAWHFI


 

ROC: UNICEF (2002-2003 Plan)

Excerpt from 2002 UN Plan, Republic of Congo page 73: "...Project Title: Provision of Basic Services to Indigenous Pygmies (ROC-02-N34)...Improve the health and nutritional condition, and educational status of the pygmies, while providing self-sustaining means-of-production advice and assistance
50,000 pygmy families (150,000 children) in the regions of Sangha, Likouala,
Plateaux and Lekoumou. Local and national administrative and health authorities, including international NGO’s and local communities: January 2002 - December 2003. Pygmies constitute the most vulnerable, and the most marginalised, segment of the population. This project represents a concerted effort by UNICEF to improve pygmies’ general living conditions, through better access to health-care (establishing community health centres), education (establishing community schools), and providing means-of-production advice and assistance (agricultural tools, seeds and micro-credit). 2002/2003: Equipment and supplies 300,000; Economic activity support 40,000; Basic materials 30,000; Awareness and information campaign 10,000;
Follow-up and evaluation 20,000; Programme Support 100,000; Total 500,000

 

ROC: UNDP

Excerpt from UNDP portfolio: "In the area of climate change, UNDP is assisting the Government to developing a national energy strategy, focusing on reducing the negative effects of climate change. This process is funded by GEF. To reduce GHG emissions, UNDP is also supporting the country to integrate alternative technologies to reduce the extremely high reliance on fuel wood for energy needs,currently representing approximately 90% of the population...To support the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, UNDP is implemented two GEF-funded activities under the development of the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan,beginning with capacity building exercises. GEF funding made possible the purchase of computer hardware, access to the Internet and basic training for project personnel. Assistance was also provided for project implementation and additional capacity-building assessment on biodiversity evaluation and monitoring programmes, and for preservation and maintenance of indigenous and local community knowledge..."

 

ROC: UNFPA Draft Plan for the Republic of Congo (2004-2008)

Excerpt from 5-year draft plan of the United Nations Population Fund in the Republic of Congo: "...25. The population and development strategies component aims to: (a) gather data and establish and update a database of reproductive health indicators; (b) support a demographic and health survey and a general population and housing census; (c) support specific studies the situation of vulnerable populations,including pygmies, disaster victims, displaced persons and refugees;
(d) establish a national population, development and gender database
and information system; and (e) strengthen technical capacity-building in data collection and analysis, publication, dissemination and utilization.."

 

Cameroon: CODEBABIK in Bipindi & Kribi

Excerpt from article: "...These activities have driven them from their ancestral land - as has happened to indigenous people elsewhere in the world - cut
them off from their traditional way of life and compelled them to
integrate with the dominant Bantu society in Cameroon...To face up to this challenge, the Bagyeli formed the Committee for the Advancement of the Bagyeli people of Bipindi and Kribi (CODEBABIK) in 1994 with the help of Catholic missionaries. Three years on, they are proud of their achievements so far. "When one enters a Bantu kitchen, one is struck by the quality and quality of utensils one finds there and the clean environment," says 40-year-old Jeanne Mbamitoo, who is in charge of hygiene and women's activities in CODEBABIK. "Thanks to our self-help loan-thrift society, we can also aspire to having half if not as much as Bantu women have." ..."Pygmies who still wander around, live on hunting and fruit gathering are those of the older generation," says another member
of the group. "Today we are settled and agriculture is our main activity... The Bagyeli have also understood the importance of education and now send their children to school. "Education is the key to our further progress," says 44-year old Joseph Nkoro, three of whose five children are in school -- the eldest is attending high school in Yaounde. "When I arrived here in 1994, there were only seven Bagyeli children in school," recalls Jean Paul Mimboh, headmaster of the
primary school at Nkoungio, a locality in the area. "Today they are 60 and are among the best pupils." A government programme to provide free education to pygmy children is yet to take root. The only assistance some of them receive is from church missionaries. Otherwise they pay for their children's education with their earnings from farming and small-scale livestock rearing. However, the government has provided some primary health care. Each week, a team of health professionals headed by the chief medical doctor for the district of Lolodorf travels around the Bagyeli camps (small villages) consulting and giving practical lessons on primary health care and hygiene and sanitation... "It is true there has been a net improvement in our standards of living," CODEBANIK Secretary-General Jacques Ngoun, a teacher who was trained by Catholic missionaries, tells IPS. ''That has not come about in three days. It has taken time.'' The Bagyeli still lag behind their Bantu neighbours whom they have traditionally served as house boys and guards. However, Ngoun is optimistic that this gap will some day be closed. ''Development takes time, patience and hard work," he says. "Our primary goal is to strengthen Bagyeli unity and, depending on our own efforts to improve our overall conditions of living. "It is encouraging to note that the number of camps that are members of CODEBABIK has increased from 13 in 1995 to 20 today and that more and larger farms are created each passing day, ensuring our survival." According to Sister Dolors of the Congregation of the Small Sisters of Jesus, the missionary group that helped found CODEBABIK, the Bagyeli have today reached the stage of fighting not just for survival but for real progress. The Congregation has been working among the Bagyeli since 1952, she says, adding: "We can leave them today and go to help others elsewhere. We are sure they will stand on their own and, given the opportunities, can even beat their Bantu countrymen." "I only fear that while moving ahead they may forget or lose their own rich cultures - their dance, music, etc..."

20061008

 

Outcomes?

*Critical dynamic. Excerpt from WCS website: "...Emergency Workshop in Brazzaville is first to develop a multidisciplinary approach to solving the continuing Ebola Virus crisis in Central Africa: A workshop was organized in March of 2003 to bring together regional government authorities, NGO’s (both conservation and human medicine) and virology experts to address the current Ebola virus outbreak in northwest Congo. The workshop was sanctioned by the Congolese Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Forests, with additional participants from the Ministry of Agriculture. Experts and representatives from the Congo, DRC, and Gabon participated to provide insights from the previous outbreaks in those countries. Representatives from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, Doctors without Borders, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and the World Wildlife Fund also participated. The workshop was organized by ECOFAC (a regional conservation initiative of the European Community and the Wildlife Conservation Society under the auspices of the Congolese government)...1) The two lead Congolese ministers (Health and Forestry) opened and closed the workshop at public events which included local and international press. At these “ceremonies,” their commitment to work collaboratively and invite external participation with the mutually reinforcing goals of protecting people and wildlife was clearly stated. This provides an essential framework of authority within which conservation efforts can legitimately help address health issues and formalizes the linkages among the disciplines that can contribute to the urgently needed actions. 2) Immediate needs agreed upon by all representatives at the workshop included: (a) Community outreach programs among local villages to establish the linkages between conservation and health efforts. The virtual abandonment of rural communities over the last 10-20 years has resulted in isolation, mistrust, and few or no education or health care programs. The resulting lack of trust and hostilities at the local level has resulted in both the rejection of human health care efforts as well as disruption of all ongoing conservation activities whenever an Ebola outbreak occurs. Contact with villages must be established immediately and an assessment of their health and education needs must be performed as soon as possible to begin intervention programs to protect the health of people and of wildlife.(b) Educational components used by conservation teams in Congo have already shown that disease risk education in villages can reduce primate hunting and consumption. This needs to be expanded into areas threatened by Ebola. (c) Research needs to be supported in the area of current outbreak to understand the disease process, to help identify great ape populations at greatest risk, and to assess intervention strategies. This meeting represented the first multidisciplinary experts forum to address Ebola and the relationships between human and wildlife health. In itself, this was a groundbreaking step, shifting from the old paradigm of competition for resources toward building the collaborative teams essential for tackling these complex issues of common concern..."

 

ROC: Congolaise industrielle des bois (CIB) & Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in Sangha - CARPE

Excerpt from CIB commissioned report "L’entreprise au fondement de la cité" about CIB activities (including a school w/ 1000 students and health services) in Pakola, Department of Sangha: "...La CIB appartient à un groupe européen, Hinrich Feldmeyer et tt Timber International, de négoce et de transformation du bois. Sa création (par fusion-acquisition de deux sociétés) remonte à 1972. Première entreprise forestière du Nord-Congo, elle exploite une unité forestière d’aménagement (UFA) de 870 000 ha...Etroitement surveillée par des ONG environnementalistes, commes toutes les autres entreprises forestières du bassin du Congo, la CIB a choisi pour sa part le dialogue et la coopération. En décembre 1995, l’entreprise a signé avec les habitants de Pokola, les autorités régionales et la Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), ONG nord-américaine en charge de la gestion du parc national de Nouabalé N’Doki, un « Protocole d’accord concernant la conservation et l’utilisation de la forêt et de la faune », dans lequel elle s’engage à lutter contre le braconnage des espèces en danger (notamment les grands mammifères)..."

20061007

 

Cameroon & DRC: Community mapping captures human realities

Excerpt from DGroups network: "...Using modern mapping techniques, satellite images have been used for forest zoning in Cameroon to determine conservation areas and regions to be opened up for industrial exploitation. These areas are all seemingly devoid of human habitation as the satellite imaging fails to register such low level human activity deep in the forest. Meanwhile areas for community use are allocated alongside roadsides, which are already under intense competition for agriculture and agroforestry. Conflict has been inevitable as Baka pygmy communities have failed to benefit, with customary land rights not recognised and their traditional fallows destroyed...Revealing the reality: But the Baka people are beginning to appear on the map. Through work with the Rainforest Foundation and its local partner organisation, the Centre for Environment and Development in Yaounde, local people have been trained up as cartographers. These community mappers have begun to work with their people to define significant areas, including hunting grounds, areas for gathering specific forest products, fishing and sacred sites. It is hoped that these maps will reveal the true value of the forests and that the 'official' zoning maps and plans for logging concessions can be modified to take into account the reality of the livelihoods of Baka forest people as well as Bantu farming communities...The DRC is about to undergo its own forestry zoning exercise, sponsored by the World Bank. "This presents a threat, because the Government's process might simply repeat the mistakes of forest zoning in other countries, such as Cameroon, where forest communities have disappeared off the map. But it can also be a real window of opportunity," says Simon Counsell, Director of the Rainforest Foundation, who believes that community mapping in DRC would allow traditional land claims to be recognised as the national forest zoning plan is developed. "The process is not difficult," he continues. "Although the communities we are working with are largely illiterate and innumerate, they are still quite capable of grasping the principles of mapping and of understanding some of the fairly advanced technologies that are being used in the process..."

 

Cultural mapping, land tenure and potential relevance of UNESCO

Excerpt from Poole report for UNESCO: "...It is clear that the main cause of cultural disintegration amongst Pygmy societies is the destruction of their forests or their eviction from them. To that extent, any programme of cultural revitalisation cannot hope to succeed if it fails to first address the issue of security of tenure. The agencies and interests responsible for this situation - governments, logging and mining companies, rival land-users and conservation agencies – are evidently unmoved by the admonitions and sentiments expressed in the UDCD and have shown no interest at all in addressing the issue of secure access to cultural resources – a pre-condition for Pygmy peoples to enjoy the liberating and developmental effects of cultural diversity outlined in these two Articles and the UDCD as a whole. Although the UDCD evidently does not carry enough weight to compel or persuade national governments to adopt and implement policies of cultural pluralism that could alleviate the predicament of Pygmy peoples, section 2.3.outlined other instruments and programmes that UNESCO has at its disposal and which could be mobilized towards that end, specifically the Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB) and the World Heritage Convention. These instruments are designed to accommodate land-based peoples within conservation regimes than have a global reach. However, the exponents of both these programmes have rarely been proactive in exploring ways in which people and conservation can co-exist; more often, land-based peoples are passively accommodated within these UNESCO conservation area categories - as long as they behave in an approved “traditional” manner. If they happen to live within “stricter” conservation areas, such as national parks, they are likely to be expelled. UNESCO has a potentially positive role to play here, towards generating the conditions of relative land security under which Pygmy communities could realistically undertake projects for cultural revitalisation. This UNESCO contribution could range from relatively passive interventions, such as resisting the up-grading of the Dja Biosphere Reserve to national park status (2.3.) to more actively informing Pygmy peoples about the objectives and implications of conservation areas and enabling them to decide how to respond to them..."

 

ROC, Cameroon, Gabon: Tri-national Dja-Odzala-Mikébé project

Excerpt from Forest Peoples Programme's "The Global Environment Facility in Central Africa" March 2005 report:.. "project document notes that TRIDOM will seek to address the needs of indigenous peoples in particular “by (1)encouraging increased participation of pygmies in the decision-making process regarding natural resources, in particular during land-use planning exercise and (2) ensuring the recognition and protection of their rights, systems and knowledge, especially in terms of natural resource management”. This is one of the few available GEF project documents which refers to the rights of indigenous peoples. The project documents state that activities relating to indigenous peoples will build upon “the successful experiences catalyzed by WWF in implementing a collaborative management agreement on control of hunting with the Association of Baka pygmies of Minvoul (Northwestern of the Minkebe Forest Block), which aims at strengthening the legal and social status of the Baka and promoting benefit sharing from their ecological knowledge.” It is now clear, however, that WWF’s success at involving Baka Pygmies in their work has been grossly exaggerated – in most cases Pygmies are not involved in project activities, this has resulted in increased threats to their livelihoods..."

 

ROC: UNICEF

Link to report "Action humanitaire de l'UNICEF-Congo en 2006". Although this report does not specifically address indigenous populations, UNICEF-Congo/Brazzaville has conducted a number of activities since 2001 (vaccination, treatment of pian, birth registration, construction and rehabilitation of schools and support for advocacy activities) to benefit indigenous (pygmie) children and their non-indigenous neighbors, principally in the departments of Sangha and Likoula in the north of the country.

20061006

 

ROC: Treatment and prevention of yaws (pian) by UNICEF

Excerpt from Les Depeches de Brazzaville: "...La maladie du pian fait des ravages auprès de la population pygmée des départements de la Likoula et de la Sangha. C’est ce qu’a rapporté le bureau du Fonds des Nations unies pour l’Enfance (Unicef) au Congo, à l’issue d’une mission humanitaire effectuée récemment avec le gouvernement dans cette localité. « Le pian est une maladie endémique, handicapante et défigurante, qui fait des ravages, en particulier chez les Pygmées de la Likouala. Les enfants sont généralement les premières victimes, » commente l’Unicef dans un reportage effectué sur le sujet. La maladie atteint principalement les communautés rurales défavorisées. Elle est aussi présente là où l’accès aux soins de santé demeure difficile. Les populations pygmées sont également victimes de la lèpre et de la filariose. La mission conjointe Unicef/gouvernement s’est donc présentée comme une urgence humanitaire dans une localité où, selon l’Unicef, le taux de mortalité infantile est le plus élevé du pays. L’accès à l’eau potable et à l’hygiène ainsi qu’à l’éducation, y demeure inexistant. Cette mission humanitaire s’est effectuée à partir d’Impfondo, vers Betou, le long de l’Oubangui, sur les fleuves Ibenga et Motaba. Puis, à partir d’Enyelle, vers Mimpoutou et Berandzokou, et à partir d’Epena, vers Boua et la terre des Kabounga..."

 

ROC: Local NGO initiatives to promote rights and build local capacities

Excerpt: "...A 'solidarity network' for indigenous peoples in the Republic of Congo was launched on Friday in the capital, Brazzaville, at the end of a three-day meeting among groups involved in the protection of minority rights across the country. The network, to be headed by local human rights defence NGOs, will be responsible for maximising efforts to promote the rights of the Congo's indigenous populations, commonly referred to as "pygmies". "We are friends of the pygmies. Together with other NGOs involved in this domain, we will work to ensure that this network truly serves the interests of pygmies," Loamba Moke, president of the Association pour les droits de l'homme et l'univers carceral (Adhuc), a national human rights group, told IRIN...The three-day conference was attended by about two dozen people, including a dozen pygmies, from the departments of Sangha, Plateaux, Lekoumou and Likouala, with the objective of providing a better understanding of human rights. "All of us here benefited from a short training programme a few months ago," Paul Assane, one of the pygmy participants, told IRIN. Assane works as a primary school teacher in his village of Mbaloula, 5 km outside of Ouesso, the main town of Sangha department. "Now we have come to participate in this supplementary training, and we believe that things are going to change. From now on, I will be able to hold my head high as I tell those who consider us to be inferior beings that all human beings are equal, and that human rights are immutable and valid for all."

 

DRC: Asserting the right

In the DRC, there's good news and bad news. The bad news is that it seems the World Bank as an learning organization is not the swiftest coach on the road. Moving from the pipeline investment in Cameroon to promoting logging in DRC, it appears that World Bank has again targeted forest areas where peoples have lived since time immemorial and again has neglected to ask them what they think about it. No gold stars for Lessons Learned. On the positive side, what you see in the DRC is local organizations of indigenous peoples and local and international organizations that support indigenous peoples working together to assert the right of people to be involved in processes that affect them. As nothing can be characterized as "all good" or "all bad", the ability to repeat the identical mistake in such a short period of time may be best characterized as remarkable....and whoever has money in this time might do well to recall the experience of Exxon's early investors in the last saga of indigenous peoples, pygmies and World Bank services.

 

CARPE Strategic Plan FY 2003-2010

ROC and other countries of the Congo Basin. The CARPE program is an important (if not THE most important) intervention in the Republic of Congo in terms of impact and consequences for indigenous peoples. See CARPE program note in the section "Essential References". Specific information and maps of implementation areas can be found in the section "Land & Natural Resources".

20061005

 

CAR: HIV/AIDS and STD prevention

Excerpt: "...The United Nations Volunteers programme (UNV) has financed a training programme, undertaken by an NGO in the Central African Republic (CAR), to sensitise the Batwa, or pygmies, on protection against HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases...The UNV programme officer in the CAR, Amadou Diallo, told IRIN on Saturday that 53 pygmies took part in the US $1,000-training programme that was held from 17 to 20 March in the town of Pissa, 80 km southwest of the capital, Bangui. The Organisation des Volontaires pour le Development en Centrafrique (OVDC) conducted the training in three centres - Bokanga, Banda and Sangala - where the pygmies learnt how to use male and female condoms as a means of protection against HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)..."

 

ROC: Music as an advocacy medium

Excerpt: "...produced with funding from UNESCO, the debut CD includes 10 tracks by pygmy band Ndima from the Republic of Congo, one of a few countries in central Africa where tribes of pygmies cling on to their traditional way of life. "This disc aims to promote the culture of a people threatened with extinction," said Sorel Eta, who coordinated recording on behalf of the Association for Respect for Pygmies. The group uses traditional instruments such as animal horns, stretched jungle creepers, wooden hide drums and pipes made from bamboo and tree trunks. They sing about the difficulties of day-to-day life in the jungle, but also the pleasures of hunting and fishing and their desire to preserve their ancient way of life..."

 

Rwanda & DRC: Interventions by the Gorilla Organization

Excerpt from Gorilla organization's website: "...The Batwa and Bambuti pygmies of Rwanda and Congo: Increasingly seen as conservation’s unintended victims, the indigenous people of the Virunga volcanoes rainforest were ejected from their traditional foresthomes with the creation of the national parks. Unable to scrape a living outside the forest and rejected by local communities their lives deteriorated to near desperation. Recognising a real opportunity to redress the balance, the Fund, with its partners Eco-Action, in Congo, and AIMPO, in Rwanda, has provided land, tools, seeds, training,healthcare and assistance in making and marketing fuel-efficient stoves and traditional pottery to generate income. As a result, healthcare and nutrition have improved dramatically, 23 pygmy children are enrolled inschool and adult literacy classes are well attended..."

 

Cameroon: Promoting Bagyeli Land Rights and Sustainable Livelihoods

Excerpt from FPP website: "...In Cameroon Forest Peoples Project is working with the marginalised Bagyeli people of south-west Cameroon. The project originated as a result of the Bagyeli's request to FPP to help them deal with the World Bank-endorsed Chad-Cameroon oil pipeline, which crossed their lands and was implemented without proper consultation with Bagyeli. The few compensation measures agreed for those communities affected by the pipeline were delivered in a way that further marginalised the Bagyeli in their dealings with their Bantu farming neighbours, and the Bagyeli have yet to benefit from the local and regional development initiatives associated with the pipeline...Our project is helping Bagyeli reduce their social marginalisation by enabling them to obtain information and develop their knowledge and skills to engage with civil society and policy makers and defend their rights, including their rights over their traditional lands. The project is supporting Bagyeli communities to meet and explore new ways of representing themselves in dialogues with Bantu communities, government and agencies responsible for the implementation of local development and conservation projects to mitigate the impacts of the oil pipeline. These are key steps to enable Bagyeli to reduce their poverty and secure sustainable livelihoods in the long term. The project is being implemented in collaboration with two local NGOs, CED (Centre pour l' Environnement et le Développement) and Planet Survey, and is funded by Comic Relief and DfID..."

 

Uganda: Supporting Batwa peoples and UOBDU

Excerpt from FPP website: "...Since 1999 Forest Peoples Project has supported the Batwa in South West Uganda to help them resolve their problem of lack of land and develop sustainable alternative livelihoods. The Batwa's landlessness and acute poverty results from their expulsion from the Bwindi and Mgahinga forests and highly restricted access to forest resources when the forests were gazetted as national parks in 1991. FPP helped the Ugandan Batwa set up a community-based organisation UOBDU (United Organisation for Batwa Development in Uganda) to represent Batwa interests. With funding from the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, Comic Relief, Minority Rights Group and Netherlands Centre for Indigenous People, FPP is helping UOBDU build its capacity, obtain land outside the parks and begin dialogue with conservation agencies about access to park resources. We supported UOBDU to consult with the Batwa communities to identify their main problems and areas where they need support, and present the resulting agenda for Batwa development to donors and national agencies..."

 

Rwanda: Income-generation through Fair Trade

Excerpt from FPP website: "...This project (Forest Peoples Project), also carried out in collaboration with CAURWA, is improving Batwa people's living conditions, by commercialising their traditional craft of pottery and developing a small business enterprise, "Dancing Pots", based on Fair Trade principles, that will eventually be run by Batwa. The project works in an integrated way on all aspects of pottery development including product quality, marketing, and business training, and strengthening potter groups' organisational capacity. As well as increasing potters' incomes from pottery, the project is also promoting Batwa culture and dance, and is fostering links between Batwa communities and tourism in Rwanda. The main donor is the Community Fund with additional funding from UK Trusts including the Onaway Trust and Rowan Trust, Norwegian Church Aid, Canadian Cooperation and Christian Aid in Rwanda..."

 

Rwanda: Sustainable livelihoods and community development

Excerpt from FPP website: "...This five-year programme works with our Batwa partner CAURWA (Communauté des Autochtones Rwandais) to decrease the marginalisation and poverty of the Batwa, the indigenous people of Rwanda. It builds on five years' prior work with CAURWA to build CAURWA's institutional capacity and develop its knowledge and skills to advocate for equal rights for Batwa people...The programme integrates human rights and advocacy work, education and income-generating activities. It is funded mainly by Comic Relief, with co-funding from Trócaire, the EU, Act!onAid, MRG and the British Embassy in Kigali. Forest Peoples Project is helping CAURWA to build its capacity to represent the Batwa, advocate for their rights and provide effective development support for Batwa communities. This work involves training and coaching in managing and implementing the programme of work, organisational management and development, training on human rights and advocacy and supporting CAURWA's work in regional and international indigenous rights processes..."

 

Cameroon: Community Legal Workers Project

Excerpt: "...This project (Rainforest Foundation) aims to help forest communities to benefit from the opportunities that exist in the Cameroonian legal system to reduce poverty and increase civil rights. To date the majority of forest communities have been unable to exercise their rights under Cameroonian law because the laws are highly complex, and communities don’t have access to legal knowledge or understanding of how it can be used...In early 2005, ten young Cameroonian law graduates were recruited and trained in human rights and forest/environmental law. These young lawyers are now working for non-governmental organisations and community groups working in eight districts in southern Cameroon...The Community Legal Field Workers are providing advice and training to forest communities on issues such as the prevention of illegal logging, establishing community forests, and ensuring that revenues from forest exploitation are returned to forest communities and spent on village development projects...One of these young lawyers, Bakker Nongni has been placed with an organisation called Global Village, they are monitoring the plans to develop a new dam which could flood large areas of forest in the East of Cameroon. As a start they are training community resource people so that they can monitor the planned Environmental Impact Assessments to ensure they are done properly, with the full participation of local communities..." *NB: This is an interesting project that could also be highly relevant in other Congo Basin countries, particularly ROC.

 

Congo Basin: African Forest Law Enforcement and Governance Initatives of the Rainforest Foundation

Excerpt from Rainforest Foundation website: "The alleviation of poverty has been the purported aim of many international interventions in forestry in Africa. However, the Foundation believes that international efforts to enforce existing forest laws in Africa, especially in the Congo Basin region, will not necessarily serve to reduce poverty – and indeed may be counterproductive – because the laws themselves, or the way in which they are usually implemented, are often fundamentally ‘anti-poor’...Almost without exception, little or no provision is made within the laws of Congo Basin countries for community access to forest resources. Logging concession systems in which ‘production forests’ are allocated to commercial forest enterprises have been demonstrated to actually impoverish rural communities. In the few instances where laws permit direct community benefit from forest management, most forest communities have little or no information about their rights under that law and are thus unable to exercise them...The Foundation aims to encourage the international community to promote the adoption of better laws in Congo Basin countries, such that the rights of forest communities are strengthened. We believe this will be necessary if 'African Forest Law Enforcement and Governance' is to promote achievement of the Millennium Development Goals..."

 

ROC: National legislation on the rights of indigenous peoples: participation, capacity-building and rights

Excerpt: "...In 2004 OCDH (supported by the Rainforest Foundation) published a report which illustrated the extent to which indigenous peoples’ rights were being abused. The Ministry of Justice then drafted an outline law to protect ‘pygmy’ peoples’ rights, and invited contributions and comments from civil society organisations. The Rainforest Foundation, welcoming this positive initiative on the part of the government, secured funding from the British government, Department for International Development (DFID), to support civil society to make an informed contribution to this law and to do lobbying and advocacy work to ensure that the law is passed...The Congolese groups, working in collaboration with staff from the Ministry of Justice, have now produced their analysis of the national context and their recommendations for a future law protecting the rights of indigenous peoples in the Republic of Congo. This involved four months of desk studies, training, and preparation, followed by six months of field work and analysis, culminating in a week-long workshop held in May 2006. In this meeting the field work and the desk studies were brought together and 60 recommendations concerning the law were developed... During the field work, research teams, trained in participatory research methods by the Rainforest Foundation, discussed and analysed issues around equality, citizenship, self governance, cultural integrity, land and natural resources and social and economic rights with indigenous communities in all the major regions of Congo. The results enabled an analysis of the extent to which the national legal context affords adequate protection for indigenous peoples in Congo. This analysis along with civil society’s recommendations for a future law, is presented in ‘Les Droits des Peuples Autochtones en République du Congo: analyse du contexte nationale et recommandations’. This report and recommendations have been presented to the Ministry of Justice...The Rainforest Foundation has also worked with the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Programme of the University of Arizona to complete an analysis of the international legal context. This paper sets out clearly the commitments in the conventions and treaties that Congo has signed, and the accepted international norms concerning indigenous peoples’ rights...The Ministry of Justice has now re-drafted the proposed law working from the recommendations of their workshops, and the detailed recommendations from civil society. This draft will be discussed and if necessary amended at a further workshop, for all key partners, to be held at the end of July 2006...The Rainforest Foundation and OCDH believe that following the re-drafting of the law, it is critical that the peoples concerned are consulted about its contents before it is submitted to the Council of Ministers. Indigenous peoples in Congo need an appropriate mechanism through which they can provide input on the proposed law, and through which the proposed law can be amended before being presented to government. The right to consultation is a fundamental principle of Convention 169 of the ILO, the most widely recognised international standard for indigenous rights. Following good consultation with indigenous peoples, the focus of the project will be on working with ministers and MP's to ensure that the law is passed by the government..."

 

Cameroon & DRC: Promoting rights

Excerpt: "...Working with local partner organisations, the Rainforest Foundation has started a long-term advocacy progamme to encourage the adoption of new policies, and the better use of existing legal provisions, in order to promote the well-being of pygmy communities in Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The campaign involves a team of specialists, based in London, Yaounde and Kinshasa...At the local level, key obstacles to the exercise of stronger rights by Pygmy people will be identified. This will be used to inform work at the national level in the two countries, which will seek policy and administration changes that address these obstacles. At the international level, the campaign will seek to use relevant international agreements and standards, and will encourage the proper implementation of these in Cameroon and DRC..."

 

Cameroon: The Baka Project

Excerpt: "...The Baka Project was initiated in 1990 by Father Sergio Janeselli. The goal of the project is emancipation of the Baka Pygmies in their traditional environment...The project is active in the regions of Djoum and Kribi in the South Province of Cameroon...and carries out activities in three major areas: Agriculture;
Health and Sanitation; and Education..."

 

Forest Peoples Programme 2005 Annual Report

The Forest Peoples Programme is a leading INGO actor in promoting the right of self-determination of indigenous peoples in the Congo Basin, as well as other regions of the world. It's 2005 report includes an overview of its initiatives in land policy, enforcement of rights, advocacy and supporting organizations of indigenous peoples to represent the interests of their own communities. Their programming represents scope, depth and overall quality in approach, analysis and outcomes achieved.

20061004

 

Etude approches autopromotion des Pygmee d'Afrique Centrale

While multi-stakeholder dialogue is essential, so is the need for framing events within a larger process that provides for systematic follow-up on recommendations, tracking progress and building networks for on-going information-sharing and coordination...It might also be nice if indigenous people themselves could also participate in discussions about "auto-promotion of pygmies", n'est pas?

 

ROC: Access to education

Excerpt: "...US-based NGO International Partnership for Human Development (IPHD) is helping ensure that 737 indigenous (or "pygmy") children remain in school in Sibiti District, in the Lekoumou Department...children received school supplies, uniforms and laundry soap," Mouanga said in the nation's capital, Brazzaville. "We also help to ensure they receive medical attention on a regular basis. And so that they do not abandon classes during the harvest or hunting seasons, canteens have been installed so they can eat at school." The project, which is run in collaboration with the Ethnic Minority Pygmy Association (l'Association Minorite Ethnique Pygmee), targets 14 schools at present...IPHD hopes to launch a similar education project for pygmies in northern areas of the country, particularly in the departments of Sangha and Likouala...It also plans to organise...in Zanaga, Lekoumou Department, a conference to promote the socio-economic integration of pygmies. "The objective of this meeting is to contribute to the mobilisation of material and human resources in order to help pygmies be integrated into society," Mouanga said. "Above all, we hope to draw the attention of public authorities to the need to give this important matter greater attention..." (2004)

 

ROC: Village Informatique

Hey Donors! Potentially a very cool local initiative - check it out and see how your programs might tie-in and compliment. Excerpt: "...Village Informatique is a model of a sustainable development aiming to build a pilot computer center in order to bring the information and communication Technologies near the remote area farmers so that they could improve their livehood and contribute to the international development by seeking partners, funding, equipments, information and communicating with experts...The main aim of “Village Informatique” project is to create some computer stations where deprived groups like farmers, women and pygmees living in remote areas will receive computer and internet training to allow them get some skills in information, partners, agriculture best practices, equipements, agriculture intrants and funding seeking; improve linkages between users and experts, research institutions, needy retailers, decision makers and their relatives living elsewhere; reduce digital devide; promote local culture; initiate distance learning ang training; improve livelihoods, environment awareness and sustainable natural resource management; increase agriculture productivity; build agriculture data banks We intend to establish a pilote “village informatique” at Sibiti, in Lekoumou department, in the the Republic of Congo southwestern, where we assist farmer organisation in some agriculture activities..."

 

ROC & RCA: Valorisation de la culture pygmee

Excerpt: "...Le gouvernement congolais et l`Organisation des Nations Unies pour l`Education, la Science et la Culture (UNESCO) viennent de signer à Brazzaville, un accord en vue de sauvegarder et de promouvoir les traditions orales des pygmées Aka de la République Centrafricaine (RCA) et du Congo...Cette richesse culturelle est considérée comme un chef-d`oeuvre du patrimoine oral et immatériel de l`humanité, a annoncé ce jeudi une source proche du ministère congolais de la Culture, des Arts et du Tourisme...L`accord signé par le ministre de la Culture du Congo, Jean- Claude Gakosso et la représentante de l`UNESCO, Mme Robertine Roanimahary, a pour objectif de garantir une meilleure protection des traditions orales des Pygmées Aka, par la recherche, la documentation, la préservation, la mise en valeur et la promotion de ce patrimoine culturel exceptionnel...L`accord prévoit aussi la collecte de données, à savoir des textes, images et des sons, afin d`établir des banques de données typologiques et anthropologiques sur la polyphonie, la musique et les danses des pygmées Aka et l`édification d`un centre de référence pour l`étude, la protection, la promotion et la diffusion des traditions orales de cette population...Selon le texte, les communautés des pygmées Aka de RCA et du Congo, vont être formées et impliquées entièrement dans toutes les activités de ce plan d`action, tandis que l`opinion nationale et internationale sera sensibilisée par la diffusion des résultats de la recherche...Durant la période d`exécution de ce projet dont le budget est estimé à 200.348 dollars, y compris 13% de dépenses d`appui au programme, l`UNESCO qui fournira le matériel et les autres services de soutien technique et administratif, mettra au point des arrangements contractuels concernant l`exécution et le contrôle dudit projet..."

 

ROC: Les Pygmees inquiets des ravages du sida dans leur communaute

HIV/AIDS: Excerpt "...Le Conseil national de lutte contre le sida (CNLS) a commencé, avec l’appui d’ONG locales, à organiser des campagnes d’éducation sur le VIH/SIDA auprès des communautés...«Des animateurs pygmées ont déjà été formés sur la communication sociale dans les départements, d’autres le seront bientôt sur les conversations communautaires», a affirmé Alexis Boyoko, assistant à la réponse communautaire auprès du CNLS, tout en reconnaissant que ces efforts étaient encore timides...Pour aider ces communautés à combattre les infections liées au VIH/SIDA, des activistes de la lutte contre le sida au Congo et des droits des Pygmées tentent aussi de convaincre les autorités qu’en l’absence de centres de santé et de pharmacies, une attention plus grande devrait être accordée aux compétences reconnues de ces communautés en matière de pharmacopée traditionnelle."

 

ROC: Vers la promotion et la protection des droits des peuples autochtones au Congo

Excerpt: "...Les peuples autochtones disposeront dans les prochains jours du droit de vote et d’enregistrement de leurs enfants à l’état civil en République du Congo. Un projet de loi est en cours d’élaboration portant sur la promotion et la protection des droits des peuples autochtones. Ce texte, une fois finalisé, sera soumis au conseil des ministres et au Parlement en vue de son adoption..."

 

ROC: Capacity building

Excerpt: "Selon ses statuts, le CDHD a pour, entre autres missions, la sensibilisation, la formation et la recherche dans le domaine des droits de l'homme et du développement durable. C'est à ce titre qu'il a organisé et organise des formations en droits de l'homme au Cameroun et au Congo-Brazzaville. Le CDHD organise une session de formation de cinq mois (y participent : 30 responsables d'ong et 20 journalistes) à l'ENAM de Brazzaville...Grâce à un appui financier de la Rainforest GB, le CDHD et plusieurs acteurs de la société civile rédigent une proposition de loi sur les pygmées ; proposition qui sera soumise au gouvernement...A titre individuel, le CDHD entend approfondir son programme de renforcement des capacités des pygmées. Il s'agit d'un programme qui accompagnera les Pygmées dans la création d'une association, dans l'animation de celle-ci ainsi que dans sa gestion de façon autonome. Le CDHD leur fournir le cadre et le matériel adéquat..."

 

ROC: ""Création d'un réseau de solidarité des peuples pygmées"

Excerpt: "...Un réseau de solidarité des peuples pygmées a été crée vendredi dernier à Brazzaville, la capitale de la République du Congo, à l'issue d'un séminaire de trois jours réunissant des dirigeants bantous et pygmées d'associations de défense des minorités...L'objectif principal de ce réseau, dirigé par des ONG locales, consiste à maximiser les actions entreprises en matière de promotion et de défense des droits de la population minoritaire: les pygmées. Les droits de ces derniers sont souvent violés, les pygmées étant considérés par certains comme des êtres inférieurs. "Nous sommes les amis des pygmées. Avec les autres ONG qui s'intéressent à ce domaine, nous allons œuvrer pour que ce réseau serve vraiment la cause des pygmées," a affirmé Loamba Moke, le président de l'association pour les droits de l'Homme et l'univers carcéral (Adhuc)...Une douzaine de pygmées venus des départements de la Sangha, des Plateaux, de la Lékoumou et de la Likouala a ainsi été une nouvelle fois sensibilisée à la défense de leurs droits..." (2003)

 

ROC: Renforcer l'autonomie des femmes pygmees"

AZUR Developpement and ACPAC are local NGOs working in ROC. Excerpt: "...AZUR Développement et l’Association des Peuples autochtones du Congo (ACPAC) ont accepté de travailler en partenariat pour renforcer l’autonomie des femmes pygmées dans les départements de la Bouenza, de la Lékoumou, et du Niari...Les deux organisations vont développer d’ici 2007 des activités ciblant les femmes pygmées: la formation et le soutien pour les activités génératrices de revenus, la promotion des droits de la femme, l’appui à la scolarisation des enfants, la prévention contre le VIH/SIDA entre autres. Pour plus d’informations, écrire à programmes@azurdev.org..."

20061003

 

CAR: Promoting socio-cultural image

Excerpt: "...Italian NGO Cooperazione Internationale (COOPI) has embarked on a project to improve the socio-cultural image of a group of the minority Batwa people in the Central African Republic...the EU-funded project was aimed at reinforcing activities to fight discrimination of the Aka - a sub-group of the Batwa community, commonly referred to as "Pygmies" - in the southwestern province of Lobaye...project has four objectives: to raise awareness and to promote human rights of the Aka; to create a monitoring system of discrimination; to favour participation of Pygmies in public life; and, to promote and spread respect of cultural, linguistic and religious identity of the Pygmies..."

20061002

 

ROC-World Bank: "Support to Basic Education Project"

*Although grant/loan amounts are unstated, this large-scale, multi-year program specifically aims to provide basic education services to indigenous children. Actors in the education sector should track progress toward stated outcome indicators and coordinate plans and activities to ensure implementation and activites are complimentary. Methodologies, approaches, lessons learned and best practices should be shared widely and current information made readily available on the web.

20061001

 

DRC: Baptist World Alliance Project

Excerpt:

"...Pygmy Education: Funding Goal: Yr 1 $13,354; Yr 2 $6,999; Yr 3 $6,999 Baptist Community in Central Africa (CBCA). The Baptist Community in Central Africa has worked with pygmies since 1986 when they built a school and dispensary in Buziralo/Kalehe and purchased ground for them to plant. Work has continued and there are now 83 pygmy families on the ground who now have a stable life and live on agriculture, producing beans, coffee, maises and other plants. Seventy six (76) pygmy children attend the Buziralo primary school and 14 at the Bugarula primary school. This project is to help youth education and to rehabilitate the dispensary for the Pygmy health care. It is hoped to 1) help pay school fees for 90 young pupils in the Buziralo and Bugarula primary schools for 5 years and 2) rebuild the Buziralo Dispensary..."

 

Voluntary Fund for the International Decade of Indigenous Peoples


 

Bakola Peoples of Cameroon

"Indigenous Peoples Plan: Environmental Managment Plan"

 

DRC: Batoa Peoples of Pendjua


 

Cameroon: Red Cross Red Crescent (IFRC)


 

ROC: CIB "Foyer Frederique Assistence Bayaka"


 

Aide a l'Enfance, Congo-Brazzaville

Aide à l'Enfance Congo-Brazzaville (October 2005/Funding: 34,000 Euros)
Programme d’éducation,d’information, de formation et de plaidoirie pour la protection de la forêt tropicale humide du mayombe et de sa biodiversité.
Protection of the rainforest by training and information dissemination

 

Solidarity Network of Indigenous Peoples in ROC (2003)

Excerpt: "...(On) 19 September...a 'solidarity network' for indigenous peoples is launched in Brazzaville, at the end of a three-day meeting among groups involved in the protection of minority rights across the country..."

 

ROC: US to support human rights education for indigenous populations (2002)

Excerpt: "...A programme to educate indigenous populations in several regions of the ROC on their basic human rights will begin in August, the Association pour
les droits de l'homme et l'univers carceral (Association for human rights
and prison conditions) told IRIN on Tuesday. Funded by the US embassy, the
US $24,000 project will target 120 indigenous people in the regions of
Likouala, Sangha, Plateaux and Lekoumou over one year. 'We want to
encourage the education of indigenous populations both in their
traditional culture and in modern ways as a means of helping them cope'
with modern realities, Ruth Parent of the US embassy told IRIN. She said
although these indigenous people were commonly referred to as pygmies,
they referred to themselves as belonging to a particular ethnic community,
such as the Ba-Aka..."

 

Forest Peoples Project: Africa

The initiatives of the Forest Peoples Project & Forest Peoples Programme encompass human rights, land tenure and fair trade. FPP is a key actor in the Congo Basin and its approach to working with indigenous communities through organizations of indigenous peoples to support meaningful participation, self-determination and self-representation represents sustainable and sound modalities that are effective, respectful and appropropriate. FPP has an established history of successful work with organizations of indigenous peoples in Rwanda, Uganda, Cameroon and DRC, with some activities in ROC.

20060930

 

School Gardens Program

Program Background: Building on existing AEI program and FFE (McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program) activities in the Republic of the Congo, AEI team members traveled to Lekoumou Province in the Congo in January 2005 to determine how aspects of both the AEI and FFE program could be combined. These programs had increased school attendance, especially for girls, because lunch was being served. The FFE program in Congo, administered by IPHD (International Partnership for Human Development), had been in operation for three years...The school garden program compliments FFE and contribute to the long-term sustainability of school feeding programs.

 

Advocacy action by inidgenous peoples concerning EERSP & TSERO

Excerpt: "...The Organisations Autochtones Pygmées et Accompagnant les Autochtones Pygmées en République Démocratique du Congo submitted the Request on their own behalf and on behalf of affected local communities living in the Democratic Republic of Congo..." Report documents the findings of the Inpection Panel, which recommended an investigation concerning the Emergency Economic and Social Reunification Support Project (EESRSP) and the Transitional Support for Economic Recovery Credit Operation (TSERO). The projects where part of a series of World Bank funded instruments that included support for forest sector reform in DRC.

 

Research and Rural Development Work Sessions, Dzanga Sangha Dense Forest Reserve, Central African Republic

Excerpt: "...In fact, our overarching session goals were dual: • Contextualize and analyze the roles of scientific research as a process of rural development in protected areas of the trinational Sangha region (C.A.R., Cameroon and Congo), and • Establish the core of a broadly regionally based network for African researchers, be they based in a university, a local community or a project, for further collaboration on connected aspects of tropical forest management. This network, we hope, will develop in tandem with—indeed within the international Sangha River Network for researchers, based at Yale University and the ERMES-ORSTOM lab at University of Orléans, in France..."

 

Project to Promote ILO Policy on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples

Excerpt: "This study has been undertaken within the context of an ethnic audit of Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) in 14 countries. The essential objective of the study is to assess the degree to which the cultural specificities of indigenous and tribal peoples in Cameroon have been taken into account in national poverty reduction efforts. It analyses the socio-economic situation of indigenous and tribal communities, and describes national poverty reduction
efforts and the mechanisms for the consultation and participation of indigenous and tribal peoples in the national poverty reduction strategy. The study also documents these peoples perceptions and indicators of poverty, and describes their strategies to fight against poverty, as well as identifying the impact of poverty reduction programmes on them..."

 

PNDP Program

PNDP (Indigenous People Development Plan) Report (2002). World Bank program targeting indigenous peoples of Cameroon as a related requirement of the Chad-Cameroon pipeline. Report contains significant information about demographics, baseline statistics, peoples, social organization, traditional activities, inter-community relations, economy and the environment, as well as documents activities funded.

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