In 2020, the humanitarian crises affecting Cameroon deepened due to Covid-19 measures. Limited resources make it difficult to meet the needs of the 1.9 million people affected by displacement in the country. 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.
Since 2014, attacks by Boko Haram insurgents have continued to wreak havoc, forcing mass displacements in Cameroon’s Far North region. As of December 2020, Cameroon is home to 117,000 Nigerian refugees, 321,000 internally displaced people and 123,000 returnees. In the South West and North West regions, an internal crisis has been raging since 2016, leading to the internal displacement of 711,000 people and around 63,000 Cameroonian refugees in Nigeria.
Following election violence in Central African Republic (CAR) in December 2020, new refugees arrived, joining those already in Cameroon since 2014/15. More than 317,000 refugees from CAR call the East and North regions of Cameroon home.
People we helped in Cameroon in 2020
In response to the needs of people affected by violence and displacement, NRC opened a country office in April 2017 in the Far North region of Cameroon. We opened an office in the South West region in June 2018, and a sub-office in North West region in March 2019, where we are providing emergency assistance to internally displaced populations. We opened a sub-office in the East region in July 2019 to provide information, counselling and legal assistance to refugees from CAR.
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 damaged during conflict
- distribute learning materials to teachers and school kits to children
- support access to accelerated education for out-of-school 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 childbirth 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
Shelter and settlements
The increasing number of displaced people has created great needs 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 other essential items
- provide emergency shelters for displaced populations in informal settings during acute phases of an emergency
- provide material support to construct permanent shelters for returnees whose homes were destroyed during the conflict
Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) promotion
We support local authorities and communities in operating and maintaining water systems to provide safe drinking water. Our teams:
- distribute hygiene kits
- 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 including cholera prevention
- raise awareness on Covid-19 and measures to reduce the risk of infection
- distribute chlorine to health districts in cholera affected areas
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 and basic needs
- 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
- 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)
- French government (Centre de Crises)
- Innovation Norway
- The European Union
Contact NRC Cameroon
Country directorMaclean Natugasha
Phone+237 685 135 381
About NRC in Cameroon
A failure to address the vulnerability of men and boys
The patchy attention given to adolescent boys and men has not allowed for understanding the gendered impact that crisis has on them. We need to expand our vision of who persons of concern should be, writes Delphine Brun, senior GenCap adviser at United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Cameroon.
Gender-based violence beyond the crises
As seen with the covid-19 pandemic, gender-based violence is often exacerbated by crises. But in order to combat violence towards women and girls, we need to address the underlying causes that were already in place before emergency struck, writes Delphine Brun, senior GenCap adviser at OCHA Cameroon.
NGOs call for drastic scale-up of assistance amid soaring needs in Far North Region of Cameroon
Relentless attacks on civilians, large scale floods and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic are exacerbating an already critical humanitarian crisis in Cameroon’s Far North. International NGOs active in the region are calling for a drastic scale-up of the humanitarian response to address the needs of the most vulnerable.
Development Actors and the Nexus; lessons from crises in Bangladesh, Cameroon and Somalia
This report explores, from the vantage point of development cooperation, how to operationalise the ‘triple nexus’ of humanitarian−development−peace action across five key areas.
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.