AWF Organizes Tree Planting Days in the Faro Technical Operational Unit
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The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) in partnership with Ecole de Faune de Garoua (EFG), a higher institute specialized in wildlife, has launched Operation Reforest Faro as part of an Environmental Education Program in the Faro Technical Operation Unit. The event, which took place on June 25 and 26, 2021, was chaired by Aminou Hamadou, representative of the Sub Divisional Officer of Beka Sub-Division.
About 2,000 tree seedlings were distributed in the localities of Tchamba, Voko, and Fignolé. Most of these trees consist of Azadirachta indica, Mangifera indica, and Anacardium occidentalis. They are all indigenous seedlings obtained from the Maroua Agricultural Research Institute for Development, IRAD.
According to Metouma Ismaël, an engineer in environmental sciences, who doubled as one of the initiators of this project, the exercise was an enriching one.
“The training has inspired me in two ways; first, it has encouraged me to set up more projects on environmental education for the population living in the vicinity of our protected areas. Secondly, the enthusiasm displayed by actors during the workshop and who have also shown determination and availability to the project,” he said. Metouma’s next step is to update the logical framework by integrating the participants' observations and to quickly put together an annual work plan that will be accompanied by a chronogram of activities.
The event was attended by guests from EFG, the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife, Ministry of Basic Education, Ministry of Secondary Education, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ministry of Territorial Administration, Ministry of Decentralization and Local Development, Traditional Authorities, World Agroforestry Centre, Women and Youth Association, as well as teachers and students. Participants were grouped into four where they discussed the environmental education tools proposed by EFG. At the end of these discussions, it was decided that students who take good care of their trees will receive an award which will include scholarships to cater for their school fees and learning materials. The program has been popularized under the name Operation One Student One Tree, One Teacher One Tree and One Household One Tree.
According to Dr. Danboya Emmanuel, a lecturer in EFG, this initiative will boost environmental education, restore the ecosystem, and promote sustainable agriculture in the landscape. “Northern Cameroon in general and the north region in particular, is largely made up of savannah ecosystems. These savannahs face anthropic activities such as agriculture, the search for firewood, and gold panning. Several scientific studies have shown that each year we lose a considerable area of natural vegetation because of these activities. This is due to the fact that the people living near the resources are mostly unaware of the consequences of their acts. Therefore, the organization of an environmental education project coupled with the launch of the village tree day would undoubtedly provide an appropriate solution for not only the restoration of degraded areas, but also for the conservation of untouched parts," Dr. Danboya outlined.
Adamou Aboubakar, AWF’s Community Development Officer for Faro says that since the tree planting program was initiated, the population has been very responsive.
"This is the third year that we are implementing this activity in the Faro Technical Operation Unit. I must admit that we've seen progress in the commitment and involvement of partners and stakeholders of the landscape especially from schools, traditional rulers, and civil society organizations (youth and women associations). Involving this category of persons will go a long way to prepare future conservation champions in a modernizing Africa. I believe that schools are the best agents to tackle the twin problems of climate change and environmental degradation,” he said.
This tree planting initiative is part of the ECOFAC6 program funded by the European Union. Other activities under this program include ecological monitoring in the landscape, the training and equipping of anti-poaching units, and the creation of a General Management Plan for the park.