Northern Cameroon

Geographical map of Cameroon


Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa (BH and ISIS-WA) continue to pose a threat to northern Cameroon and beyond. Northern Cameroon struggles with insecurity due to frequent BH and ISIS-WA attacks. A strong military response, along with improved relations with Nigeria, is producing significant gains against BH and ISIS-WA. Additional civilian initiatives to reduce BH and ISIS-WA’s ability to recruit and operate in northern Cameroon bolster this progress. In conjunction with USAID/OTI programming in Niger, Nigeria and Chad, the program links efforts across the political, social and economic spheres of the Lake Chad Basin.


USAID/OTI strengthens local community leaders and groups to counter violent extremist threats. USAID/OTI programming addresses several drivers of extremism including lack of economic opportunities, intergenerational conflicts and feelings of marginalization. Together with longer-term investments, USAID/OTI programming allows communities in northern Cameroon to return to normal. The program works in the Mayo-Sava, Mayo-Tsanaga and Diamare departments in the Far North region to:

  • Reinvigorate positive intercommunity relations between vulnerable groups; and

  • Strengthen local initiatives that create a sense of agency in addressing violent extremism.


  • Northern Cameroon hosts a diverse mix of different ethnicities and religions that BH and ISIS-WA use to exploit and create cleavages in society. In response, USAID/OTI hosted an interreligious dialogue with 200 participants that promoted values of tolerance and understanding among communities. Participants said the lack of dialogue between different communities, coupled with limited opportunities, are a motivation for joining BH and ISIS-WA. By building stronger intercommunity relations, USAID/OTI denies extremists the space to recruit and operate in northern Cameroon. 
  • Music is an essential part of everyday life in northern Cameroon. Communities use music to tell stories, celebrate life events and enjoy each other’s company. Recognizing the importance of music and storytelling, USAID/OTI supported a World Music Day celebration focused around the theme of countering violent extremism. Popular local musicians composed original songs that promoted peacebuilding and social cohesion to spread awareness of BH and ISIS-WA and motivate people, particularly youth, to reject extremism and celebrate their diverse communities.

Last updated: February 28, 2018

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