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FAP NGO Human Rights

FAP NGO HUMAN RIGHTS
                                       
Presentation on water Stigmatization for the Mbororo indigenous minority group in Cameroon
 
 
 

How they are affected:
The stigmatization of the Mbororo communities to provide them save drinking water is actually seen in the fact that after catching water around their residence by the non Mbororos a solid fences is constructed to protect the water sources, no standtap is provided to them to have access to save drinking water, stand taps are constructed some 7-12 kilometers away from the Mbororo residence which means for them to get access to save drinking water they have to trek to 7-12 kilometres while the non mbororos cluster villagers access save drinking water within few meters. This puts more work load on to the Mbororo women who are the principal household choirs workers. Sometime people are force to make use of water of doubtful quality which usually results to some water borne deseases such as cholera which has been in alarming in Cameroon in the past two years. The fact that the Mbororo people are not seen as members of the village and therefore puts them is a stage of strangership, the Mbororo community is excluded from water management committee as well as from the initial planning phase to develop and protect water source. This is a recurrent problem in the entire region and this puts the Mbororo community as a group of people who are experiencing stigmatization
They graze their cattle in a purely traditional manner, but migrate to the valleys during the dry season in search of green pastures for their cattle in a practice called transhumance. They are equally stigmatized by farmers who block canal and water drinking points from their cattle during the transhumant period.
 
Relevance to stigmatization: The Mbororos migrated into Cameroon when all other tribes had settled on defined pieces of land and as a result, they are considered by their farming neighbors as strangers who should not own land despite the fact that they need land, pasture and water at all cost for grazing. When the Mbororos came into Cameroon, they established a tradition to pay royalties to non Mbororo traditional leaders to permit them graze their cattle within a particular chiefdoms. The quest for grazing land in an environment of increasing population of farmers puts the Mbororos on daily conflicts with neighboursand stigmatisation by the same people. Farmers cultivate crops along the valleys and block their cattle accessing drinking water. Despite the fact that there is a national law {Article 15 of Ordinance No. 74 – 1 of 6th July 1974} establishing rules governing land tenure in Cameroon.
The Mbororo community and their cattle are living close to the water that they have been exploiting freely but because of the non Mbororo villagers interest in catching water to the more cluster settlement about 7-10 kilometers they are deprived their rights and that of their cattle from exploiting the available water source, pastoral resources and other natural resources.
 
Identifying those who suffer from stigmatization is important because measures can be taken towards creating awareness and supporting the stigmatised people and involving them in water project and other projects within the community they belong. Also the Mbororo people live more closer to the water catchment areas and can play a very vital role in protecting the water sources from wild fire and water catchment from animals thereby adding value to the water catchment source and making water more available especially during the dry season when water is needed most.
The frequent destruction of catchment areas either by wild fire or animals that results to contamination of water sources can be attributed to non involvement of the mbororos in water projects and management committees of these projects.
The mbororo/grasers that do not see themselves as part of the beneficiaries of these water projects therefore have no stake in the water chain management. This makes the water catchment areas to be invaded by wildfire each year and they are accused by the non-Mbororo villagers as the authors of the wild fire which most often comes from hunters who are non mbororos.
Women faces the impact of this stigmatization more because they are traditionally responsible for domestic activities such as washing of dresses, preparing food for the family, fetching of drinkable water etc. They trek for kilometers to fetch water for the domestic use.
 
Measures taken to address stigmatization: The Mbororo Social and Cultural Association better known by its acronym MBOSCUDA was set up in 1992 in conformity with the law on freedom of Associations. It is an umbrella association of the Mbororo people that is working towards the demarginalisation and stigmatization of Mbororo people in Cameroon especially in the North West Region.
 
FAP NGO Cameroon went into partnership agreement with MBOSCUDA to work together in the North West Region to creat and implant farmers-grazers dialogue platforms. This partnership started in 2008 with an aim of reducing the violation of the Mbororo people’s right and improving their access to land and pastoral resources. The pilot phase of the process of access to land and pastoral resources was in Ngoketunjia division which is only one out of the seven Divisions in the North West Region. Some of the main activities carried out included putting in place dialogue of platforms and the holding of sensitization workshops. The outcome of this is that Mbororo grazers are seen fully involved in amicable dialogue process to resolve farmers/grazers conflicts.
 
FAP NGO Cameroon and MBOSCUDA with the support of the Netherlands Development organization started the pilot phase which was very successful in resolving many conflicts and stigmatization of the Mbororo people.
Many conflicts that the government officials extort money from were resolved amicably by the platform members who are made up of farmers, grazers and some administrators.
This approach can be used to resolve water stigmatization in Cameroon.