The invisibility of crises in Cameroon is reaching frighting levels for those stuck in or fleeing from them. Humanitarian resources are dangerously low. Risks of conflict acceleration are glaring in our faces. Opportunities for solutions are passing by unseized, with international political attention and responses far from being commensurate to the needs and risks.
Listening to people in Cameroon and first line responders last week, I was
struck by three things: The first was people’s generosity. The way Cameroonians greet each other is telling. “Bonne Journee” is responded to by “meilleure a vous” – “may you have a better day than me”. There is no better way to sum up the culture. Secondly, the severity of two concurring conflicts in Cameroon are far from recognised, receiving almost no media attention at all: a million people uprooted from their homes, four million people in need of humanitarian assistance, displacement spreading throughout the country rising tensions with host communities over scarce resources, a spike in sexual and gender-based violence, 500,000 children without documentation nor schooling, and a 1000,000 young generation cornered with no education, no work and limited options. Adding to the ongoing conflicts, humanitarian landscape in Cameroon is also impacted by the presence of 321,000 refugees from Central African Republic adding to the needs in the Eastern regions. Thirdly, the vibrant and youthful civil society is fronting a sizeable chunk of the humanitarian and protection response. Against political stalemate, grassroot organisations are attempting negotiations. The determination in their actions brings hope.
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