2019 marks ten years of the Boko Haram insurgency in the Lake Chad Basin region. Since 2014, these attacks have continued to wreak havoc, forcing massive displacements in Cameroon’s Far North region. As of August 2019, 107,000 Nigerian refugees, 260,000 internally displaced people and 110,000 returnees were living here.
These attacks have led to acute needs. Limited resources make it difficult to meet the needs of the growing number of displaced people in the region, where 1.9 million people are in need of assistance. Many people have lost their civil documentation. Nearly 36 per cent of school-aged children do not possess birth certificates, limiting their chances of completing their education.
In the South West and North West regions of Cameroon, an internal crisis has been raging since 2016. It escalated in October 2017, leading to the internal displacement of 530,000 people and around 35,000 Cameroonian refugees in Nigeria.
In the East and North regions, 287,000 refugees from the Central African Republic call Cameroon home. Having arrived in 2014/2015, over 70 per cent of these refugees live in host communities.
People we helped in Cameroon in 2018
In response to the needs of people affected by the Boko Haram activities, NRC opened a country office in April 2017 in the Far North region of Cameroon. Since then, we have responded to the urgent needs of displaced people and host communities in the Far North region. We opened an office in the South West region in June 2018, a sub-office in North West region in March 2019, and we are providing emergency assistance to internally displaced populations in both regions. We opened a sub-office in the East region in July 2019 to provide information, counselling and legal assistance to refugees from the Central African Republic.
We support local authorities in improving children’s access to quality education. Our teams:
- train primary school teachers in psychosocial support
- rehabilitate and equip classrooms destroyed during the conflict
- distribute learning materials to teachers and school kits to children
Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA)
We identify challenges related to civil documentation and provide free information, counselling and legal assistance to displaced people, returnees and host populations. Our teams:
- visit communities to register cases and counsel displaced people who lack identity documents and birth certificates
- organise group information sessions
- support displaced people who encounter administrative hurdles in accessing civil documentation
- support registrars' offices with birth certificate registers to facilitate the transcription of birth certificate records
- train local entities involved in child birth registration
- lead a working group on civil documentation, coordinating with actors to ensure collective advocacy and harmonisation of costs, tools and procedures.
We also identify challenges related to access to housing, land and property (HLP) rights for affected populations. Our teams:
- visit communities to register HLP-related cases and counsel displaced people on their HLP rights
- train humanitarian NGOs on HLP rights as cross-cutting issues
- train local authorities on HLP rights and Collaborative Dispute Resolution
- lead a working group on HLP, coordinating with actors to ensure that HLP is integrated as cross-cutting, but also provide technical support to the humanitarian community
- we also conducted a study on housing, land and property (HLP) in the Far North region
Shelter and settlements
The increasing number of displaced people has created great need for shelter. We work to ensure that displaced people and returnees have dignified shelters for physical protection. Our teams:
- distribute mosquito nets, blankets, sleeping mats, and tools for farming
- provide emergency shelters for displaced populations in informal settings during acute phases of an emergency
- provide material support while constructing permanent shelters for returnees whose homes were destroyed during the conflict
Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) promotion
We support local authorities in operating and maintaining water systems that provide drinking water. Our teams:
- distribute hygiene kits including items like soap and cloth for filtering water.
- distribute menstrual hygiene kits to women and girls
- distribute waste bins in schools
- repair broken boreholes and construct new ones
- train and support Water Management Committees
- support councils with spare parts and borehole maintenance toolkits
- construct emergency institutional and family latrines
- conduct hygiene promotion activities
Livelihoods and food security
We provide assistance to displaced people, those who return home and the host populations, to improve their food security and revive their livelihoods. Our teams:
- distribute cash so that displaced people can access food
- conduct market monitoring surveys
- distribute small livestock, seeds and agricultural inputs
- train women’s groups in Income Generating Activities and provide them with cash grants for start-up of activities
- train women in food processing techniques
- train men and women in improved agricultural techniques and in food processing
- Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)
- Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (NMFA)
- Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)
- German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO)
- French Development Agency (AFD)
- Global Affairs Canada (GAC)
- US government (USAID)
About NRC in Cameroon
Contact NRC Cameroon
Country directorMaclean Natugasha
Phone+237 685 135 381
Africa’s next full-blown war can still be averted
Today Cameroon topped our list of the most neglected displacement crises in the world. But must the central African nation become embroiled in a full-scale war before the world responds?
Forced displacement and access to housing, land and property in the Far North of Cameroon
The ongoing armed conflict in the Lake Chad Basin region has caused mass displacement in northeast Nigeria and the Far North of Cameroon forcing people to flee the violence and abandon their homes. This Far North of Cameroon is currently hosting some 89,000 Nigerian refugees, 236,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) and 59,000 returnees. The situation remains fragile with an estimated total of 2.1 million in need of assistance.
Stabilisation in the Lake Chad Basin: A Humanitarian Perspective
The international community, donors and governments attending the High-Level Conference on the Lake Chad Basin (Oslo II) must draw clear lines to distinguish humanitarian aid from the political and military elements of stabilisation, and reaffirm commitments to meet humanitarian needs and ensure the protection of civilians.