by Koh Herman
As many people might know, in the last few years Cameroon has experienced a tragic war that has fundamentally altered the socioeconomic development of the nation. This situation has particularly affected Better World Cameroon (BWC) as an organisation, and has led to the upending of most of its projects and activities in Cameroon, in favour of much promising horizons in Europe (Portugal). The crisis in Cameroon has created an environment in which it is particularly challenging to efficiently carry out any projects; this has resulted in BWC having to significantly reduce the scale of its impact on the ground. That said, this has not prevented the organisation from keeping up with its environmental commitments.
In 2020, the world experienced a heart wrenching reckoning that forever changed us as a people, in the form of the Covid-19 PandemicWe were collectively forced to reflect deeply on the things we’d so far valued and had to come up with innovative ways through which to alter the dangerously approaching decline of our planet; this is how the Healing Trees project was born.In the midst of the suffering, hurt, pain and the strife; a group of people came together, having lost/known someone who had lost a dear one to the pandemic, they thought it wouldn’t only serve them to do something that would help ease the pain that people were feeling but that will also contribute to the healing process of the planet itself.The idea was simple, create a platform that would rally and mobilise people to come together and plant a tree as a memento for the loved ones we had lost. Little did this group know that their idea would quickly gain traction and attract a ground swell of support, which soon spread throughout the world. It is at this point that Better World Cameroon got involved in the project and we made a commitment to plant 10.000 trees over the span of the projects duration. The project is a long-term project meaning there will be numerous editions that scheduled to be held yearly, in which BWC plans to fully participate.
The New Year is almost upon us and as we look back at everything that has happened in 2022, we also look ahead to what 2023 has in store for us as an organisation. In this light, we have a few things planned, first of which is developing practical projects and programs that will support the work of our volunteers on the ground in Cameroon, who are mostly refugees who lost their homes due to the war. We envision rehabilitating the Ecovillage community centre in order to revamp and relaunch some of our key programs such as HVAP (High Value Agricultural Products) and the Community Education programs. These will involve remobilising the local communities whom have been severely impacted by the crisis, towards coming together around the common cause of creating a space where they can gradually begin creating change for themselves and for the rest of their community.