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WWF Trains 38 NGOs On Public Policy, Advocacy 

 By Collette Lukong

Thirty-eight civil society members in Cameroon have been trained on public policy, advocacy, monitoring and denunciation. The WWF Global Forest and Trade Network, GFTN, Cameroon organised the training that took place from September 16 to 19, 2014, in Bertoua, East Region of Cameroon. 
The skills acquired by the NGOs drawn from Centre, South, Southwest and East regions of Cameroon, will contribute to Cameroon Government’s vision of becoming an emerging economy by 2035 by effectively influencing public policy development related to the environment.
Financed by the Norwegian Development Cooperation Agency, NORAD, the workshop is part of a training program WWF established in 2012 targeting wholly local NGOs that focus on the environment. “The training comprised four workshops which started in 2013 with Corporate Social Responsibility and conflict management; international norms and standards applicable to the environmental domain; Environmental and Social Impact Assessment and Environmental and Social Management Plan; and Public Policy, Advocacy, Monitoring and Denunciation,” said Norbert Sonne, head of WWF Cameroon Forest Program. The need to impart sorely needed skills to civil society organisations so they could serve as catalyst for Cameroon’s economic development, while acting as vanguard for environmental protection, prompted the organisation of these workshops.“We think the NGOs are now equipped to face the challenges that await them,” Norbert said. “
Marie Ba’ane, coordinator of a platform of NGOs in the South of Cameroon, said they had difficulties influencing policies at the local levels because they did not have the required skills and information to do so. “Where we work, there is a problem of community access to land because of forest exploitation, mining, road construction, and the creation of agro-industries that have reduced the quantity of land available to the essentially agrarian local community. Now we have the knowledge and skills to help change things,” said Ba’ane.
“We learnt advocacy techniques and how to denounce environmental wrongdoings,” says George Tsayid, head of a local NGO based in the East of Cameroon. “It is now clear to me that public policy advocacy begins with a problem, should be accepted by decision makers and should be engaged at the appropriate moment,” Tsayid said.
According to Patrice Logo Begombe, consultant and facilitator of the workshop, “There was strong interest from local NGOs to work on issues of public policy advocacy. In fact the NGOs had been doing some advocacy, monitoring and denunciation but this workshop provided them with the skills to carry out their actions in a more professional way,” he explained.
Begombe said, henceforth, WWF will be likely overwhelmed with requests from local NGOs for further support on public policy advocacy. “WWF has to prepare a strategic response to these requests as the organisation now has a moral responsibility to assist the NGOs in this domain,” he said.

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