Dialogue platforms are integral to our efforts to reduce violent conflict between crop farming and cattle grazing communities in North West Cameroon. These are group meetings where farmers and herders can talk about problems such as cattle grazing, crops or water supplies before they escalate into conflict.
Recent studies have shown that conflict between herders and crop farmers is on the decline in all 23 communities in the North West region of Cameroon, thanks to our project establishing these Dialogue Platforms. Before the Dialogue Platforms were introduced, communities relied on legal platforms, but this reliance was not helping to mediate the true reasons for the conflict. By developing dialogue platforms, we are helping to mediate the conflict through a more sustainable community-led approach.
Due to years of conflict the relationship between herders and crop farmers was severely strained. However, with the dialogue, conflict resolution has enhanced peaceful cohabitation within the communities. For example, through the dialogue platforms, 92 farming alliance pairs in the communities are currently benefiting from working in partnership. Thanks to the partnerships, the crop farmers are seeing improved crop yields, and herders are seeing increased cow fertility and milk yields.
The platforms are managed by male and female herders and croppers elected democratically by the communities. They lead the dialogue process and mediate between herders and crop farmers when conflicts arise. In addition to reducing conflicts between herders and crop farmers, this approach has also led to shared use of agro-pastoral resources and consequently a more peaceful cohabitation of herders and crop farmers of the beneficiary communities.
Alhadji Useini Adamu (pictured) is the Dialogue platform president of Wum Central, the third biggest town in North West region of Cameroon. His duties and responsibilities help to keep peace between herders and grazers community in the region. He says, “We used to have many cases to mediate, as many as 30 cases in a month, this time we can have just 2 to 3 cases to address thanks to continuous sensitisation and counselling of conflicting parties, the situation has greatly improved. Sometimes we can even go for a month or two without any case. The situation has greatly improved”.
Find out more about this project here, or call us on 01629 814 434.
This is a guest blog written by our wonderful office volunteer Yetunde Ottun.