Northern Cameroon

Northern Cameroon Map OTI

WHY USAID/OTI IS IN NORTHERN CAMEROON

Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa (BH and ISIS-WA) continue to pose a threat to northern Cameroon and surrounding countries. While a strong military response and improved relations with Nigeria have significantly weakened the two groups, civilian initiatives to help communities withstand and counter violent extremist threats are key to ensuring longer-term stability. 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 (LCB).

USAID/OTI’S ROLE IN NORTHERN CAMEROON

USAID/OTI works with local community leaders and groups to help counter violent extremist threats in the Far North. 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, Diamare and Logone-et-Chari departments to:

  • Stabilize communities most affected by conflict; and
  • Support locally driven initiatives to advance community reintegration.

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

  • In Cameroon, students must provide copies of their birth certificates to attend school. However, many children do not have these documents and are forced to drop out. Uneducated and unemployed youth are more vulnerable to recruitment by violent extremist groups because they may feel dissatisfied with society, making them easier targets. To facilitate continued education and reduce perceptions of a lack of opportunities in target communities, the Northern Cameroon Initiative (NCI) partnered with a local NGO to issue birth certificates to 5,000 vulnerable students.

  • In addition to CVE, the leaders of Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon are faced with the challenge of reintegrating former combatants and their families back into society. Recognizing the importance of cooperation and coordination between LCB countries, NCI and the University of Maroua hosted a cross-border reintegration workshop. The workshop brought together CVE experts, government officials, security stakeholders, and traditional and religious leaders from the four countries to share lessons learned on the challenges associated with reintegrating defectors and former affiliates of VE groups. The symposium was the first time high-level leaders from the four countries met to explicitly discuss reintegration and helped establish a network of CVE experts, government officials, and local stakeholders to encourage cooperation and learning in the region.

Last updated: March 27, 2019

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