The French civil society, Catholic Committee Against Hunger and for Development, CCFD, and the Foreign Affairs Ministry withdrew the finances from civil society organisations engaged in the Multi-actor Joint Programme, dubbed PCPA.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry was sponsoring the four-year programme to the tune of 2,4 million euros while CCFD and Cameroonian partners were supporting with 830,899 euros. According to Prof. Siaem Ombiono, who represented the Secretary of the Episcopal Conference during a workshop to officially close the activities of PCPA on February 13, said dysfunctions in the programme led to a request for an audit. But before this could be finalised, the CCFD announced its decision to withdraw from the programme.

This was followed by withdrawal of finances by both the CCFD and the MAE on January 1.
Meanwhile, on January 17, the CCFD organised a workshop to close the programme, during which a good number of actors of the programme were absent. This displayed cracks in the civil society with two groups closing the same programme twice.

The Episcopal Conference that signed a partnership agreement with one of the partners of CCFD maintained that the unilateral declaration of closure of the programme to them was illegal. Prof. Siaem Ombiono argued that the contract was not officially terminated and in a contract two persons are involved and any decision has to be taken by all.

Speaking to the press, Ombiono stated that the other partners were invited but none of them showed up. As to why the sudden withdrawal from the programme, Ombiono said it was due to what the partners termed mismanagement of funds.

Continuity Of Programme

However, after a two-day workshop, the Episcopal Conference, as the administrative and legal partner of civil society actors, resolved to continue with the programme through a new appellation.

The civil society actors are convinced that the gains of the programme are too enormous to be abandoned. Though there is no money to continue with the programme, they believe that if the organisation is well conceived the financial aspect is secondary. A committee has been put in place to reflect on the structure to take over from the PCPA which would organise a forum in November 2009 to finalise issues.

The PCPA Programme

The programme deigned had as major themes the promotion and involvement of civil society in public policy in areas such as debt, HIV/AIDS, gender and environment. The programme encouraged the promotion and defence of human rights and the reinforcement of capacities to take active part in local council initiatives. The Post learnt that the pilot phase of the programme which ran from 2005 to 2006 supported some 100 organisations.