This is the result of 5 days of participatory exchanges with local stakeholders from the Tête d’éléphant, Liguim and Lom 1 villages on the outskirts of the Deng Deng National Park (PNDD)..
From June 19 to 24, an information and awareness-raising tour was undertaken by the implementation team of the project “Optimizing the conservation of Deng Deng National Park through capacity building of local riparian communities on agroecological practices”, accompanied by a representative of the PNDD conservation department. This project is implemented by SAILD with the support of IUCN through the BIOPAMA Program, an initiative of the ACP group financed by the 11th EDF of the European Union. The field trip enabled the communities of the Tête d’éléphant, Liguim and Lom 1 villages to be made aware of the conservation objectives of the PNDD. The opportunity was also taken to inform local authorities, including the sub-prefect and mayor of Bétaré-Oya, as well as traditional chiefs, about the project. The authorities met said they were ready to support the project, which complements their own actions.
In addition to raising awareness among local stakeholders, the difficulties and expectations of the communities were gathered during focus group meetings in each village. “We are aware of the importance of conserving the forest and the animals so that our children can benefit from them. But our sources of income come from the fields that existed where the park was created. What’s more, how are we going to live without land for farming? Our land has already been considerably reduced by the railroad and the Chad-Cameroon pipeline, as well as the community forest,” laments the president of the Liguim village development committee, as other community members look on approvingly.
The sentiment shared in Liguim is virtually the same in the other two villages located in the northern zone of the PNDD. Despite these difficulties, the communities remained receptive to the proposals made by SAILD for the participatory conservation of the PNDD; these proposals include the refreshing of the boundaries of the PNDD, the setting up of income-generating activities to alleviate the decline in the communities’ incomes, and support for the communities in adopting agroecological practices for the sustainable management of agricultural land outside the park..