International Workshop on Community Organizations and Networks:
Sharing experiences from around the world
This forum convened to provide representatives of community organizations and networks from forest zones in Cameroon the opportunity to share governance experiences with each other, and compare these with lessons from Asia, Latin America and other parts of Africa.
In total more than 60 participants took part in this forum, one third of who were women, sharing lessons from seven countries and three continents. The forum convened in a national context where local forest communities seek to claim their rightful political space. Having lost considerable ground, voice and identity through non-inclusive, ineffective and self-serving representation, communities reflected for two days on how to be better organized and network to strengthen existing leadership structures and where appropriate to become credible partners to government and elected officials.
At the end of the workshop representatives from two working groups resolved to develop an advocacy and lobbying platform to support community organizations and influence the policy environment of small forest enterprise, connecting to one another organically and maintaining the integrity of their own organizations.
Read more about the background to the workshop, papers and experiences shared, and outcomes in the workshop summary:
Highlights from Participants' Perspectives
"In all the time I have been involved in community forest forums in Cameroon, this is the first forum on forest-related governance--national or international--where the overwhelming number of participants (>80%) have comprised of communities, where a third are women, and the main agenda on the table has been community affairs." -- Chief Tanyi Robinson, President, community forests federation, Cameroon
"We understand that taking the policy advocacy process by community organizations and networks forward depends on us. We also understand that in these changing times we can no longer depend on NGOs, donors or the government but ourselves to determine the direction." -- Chief Bruno Mvondo, President, non-wood products marketing network, Cameroon
"As community representatives charged with managing limited community forest resources, we are grateful to NGOs, donors and government for providing us with the materials, technical support and contacts. We however, feel increasingly that many of our collaborators have become predators holding us as hostages, standing between us and the government and markets; preventing us from expressing our own capacities." -- anonymous community forest bureau member, Cameroon
Photography Credit: Solange Bandiaky, RRI