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.

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