THE ROLE OF NON GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS IN REDUCING RURAL POVERTY THE CASE OF WORLD WIDE FUND FOR NATURE (WWF) COASTAL FOREST PROGRAMME IN TOMBEL SUB-DIVISION
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1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Poverty has been one of the key issues on nearly every lip around the world. About 1.2 billion of the World’s population lives on less than one dollar (US $1) per day and the majority of these people die before the age of 50.
While 1% of children born in developed countries die before the age of 5, in Africa, 40 out of 100 children die before the age 5. Out of the 20 poorest countries of the world, 22 are African countries and 75% of this generation of poor live in rural areas.
Similarly, 50% of children born in Africa die of malnutrition and some become victims of the scourge of HIV/AIDS (World Development Report, 2000).
Africa and South-East Asia have occupied the central position in the World agenda for poverty eradication/alleviation because about 70% of the poorest people in the World live and die in these regions (World Development Report, 2000/2001, Fosu, Bigsten & Ryan, 2004). Poverty in Africa is a rural phenomenon, a situation that is also true of other World regions (World Bank, 1997; IFAD, 2001).
Cameroon falls among the group of African countries where majority of the population lives below the poverty lines. Considering the global economic hardship coupled with Cameroon’s socio-cultural and political problems (Sango, 2010) presently, many Cameroonians are not only unable to afford their basic necessities of life but also find it difficult living above the poverty line (Baye, 2006). Sango (2010) ascertains that Cameroon is often described as Africa in miniature because of its diverse socio-cultural, geographical varieties and broad-based economical potentials.
This alludes to the state’s potential to fight poverty and improve the welfare of the citizens.
Unfortunately, this is not the case because Cameroon falls deeply below the poverty margin according to World Bank statistics (Encyclopedia of Nations).
The state of Cameroon has moved from the status of a poor country as assessed by the Breton Woods- International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank in the recent assessment of the country’s economy.
Poverty is thus a deadly social problem in Cameroon and among the people of Tombel Sub-division in particular (Baye, 2006).
Poverty has led many people to a state of despair, powerlessness and hopelessness. It also leads to vulnerability and exposure to risk, shock and stress that may threaten the health and lead to termination of life-abruptly.
The consequences of poverty are found in social crimes such as high rate of rubbery, prostitution, child abuse, human trading and social strives, cultism and other deviant human behavior (Abdullhi & Makinde, 2000).
Poverty has earned recognition in the extent of its ravaging society and the affairs of humanity at the international, national and local levels; the need exist now for urgent actions towards its eradication and control (Obadan, 1996).
Poverty in Tombel Sub-division has partly been tackled by Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) like the Conservation and Research for Endangered Species (CRES), Centre for Environment and Rural Transformation (CERUT), Regional Centre for Organic Farming (RECOF), the Mount Kupe Forest Project (MKFP) and World-Wide Fund for Nature; WWF- Coastal Forest Programme (WWF-CFP), which is the main Non-Governmental Organisation in focus.
Working in collaboration with Community-Based organizations (CBOs) and the entire population, they introduced and encouraged conservation-based livelihood activities, thus going a long way to reduce poverty in Tombel Sub-division.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Rapid population growth all over the world has reinforced the urgent need to shift policy directions towards people-centred development while using poverty reduction as an entry point.
The unpredictability of the World’s economy and the over-dependence on cocoa and coffee which is the main cash crops in this area and whose prices in the World market are constantly falling, coupled with the unsustainable handling of the environment due to poverty in Tombel Sub-division promote the vulnerability of the people (Andrew, 2006).
Considering the presence of many NGOs in Cameroon, through their efforts, many activities are being fostered towards reducing poverty (Lotsmart, 2002). Because of increase in poverty, many strategies are put in place to reduce poverty by the government, NGOs and other organizations.
This has led to the growth of NGOs with poverty oriented goals, one of which is the WWF-Coastal Forest Programme. This study therefore aims at examining the role and contributions of Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in reducing rural poverty?
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
1.3.1 General Objective
The main objective of this study is to examine the role of the World Wide Fund Nature (WWF) in reducing rural poverty in Tombel.
1.3.2 Specific Objectives
The specific objectives of the study include the following:
- To identify the goals and activities of the WWF-CF programme.
- To identify the profile of rural beneficiaries of the WWF-CF programme.
- To examine the various livelihood activities of the beneficiaries of WWF programme.
- To examine the effects of WWF on the rural beneficiaries of Tombel.
- To identify the challenges of the WWF-CF programme in reducing rural poverty.
- To identify the constraints of the rural beneficiaries of WWF-CF.
1.4 DELIMITATION OF STUDY
This study is aimed at examining the role of the World Wide Fund Nature (WWF) in reducing rural poverty in Tombel, southwest region of Cameroon. The study is narrowed down to identifying the social, agricultural, economic and political economy of Tombel sub-division and poverty alleviation. The institutions involved are Non-Governmental Organizations, with the main actor being the World-Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
The study in no way will give a detailed account of Non-Governmental Organizations and poverty worldwide, in Africa and Cameroon and how the work to kick poverty out of the community. It is narrowed down to the role of WWF in alleviating poverty in Tombel sub-division.