Refugees in Garga Sarali, Ngoura sub division in the East Region of Cameroon have expressed satisfaction after benefitting from a week-long UNDP program aimed at economically empowering the community and making them resilient in the face of the COVID-19.
According to the Mayor of Ngoura, the locality hosts about 3,000 refugees from the Central African Republic with a larger concentration around Garga Sarali.
“I have been in Garga Sarali for the past eight years and I have been farming to feed my four children,” Salamatou Hamatou, a refugee who has been in Garga Sarali since 2012 said.
Salamatou is among over 90 women who are being trained on the transformation of cassava into garri, production of hand sanitizers as well as soap.
“I feel fortunate to have been selected among the women in my neighbourhood to undergo this training. I have learnt how to produce soap and I hope to go back home and teach my children as well as other women in the community,” she said.
Above all, Salamatou said she already projects starting a soap business when she must have completely mastered the production techniques.
“With the business, I think I can help raise money to send my children to school,” she says.
This is actually the objective of the program piloted by the Government of Cameroon, the United Nations Development Program and other partners.
At the end of the training, the women were handed materials which will help them to produce on a larger scale.
In addition to the training, the women as well as their peers in the community and men were equally handed cutlasses, seeds (beans and groundnut) which they now look to plant on their farms.
“We have come to accompany the community and help them become more resilient in the face of the pandemic. We have taken into account sanitary measures, reason why they were taught to produce hand sanitizers, we also want to reinforce subsistence that is why we have trained them in producing soap and transforming cassava into garri and we are project for an improved development, reason why we gave them seeds and farming tools,” Jean Vincent Gweth, UNDP project coordinator who supervised the operations said.
Mr Gweth as well as local administrative and traditional rulers were impressed by the demonstrations from the women who were given the opportunity to demonstrated to the community what they halve been learning for the past days.
He urged them to work in teams so as to better put into practice, stressing the UNDP and partners will constantly be on the field to monitor their evolution and progress.
Immediately after the week-long training, the women from the refugee community who had been trained gathered their peers the next day under the supervision of the refugee head of the refugee community, Adamou Moussa, to equally teach them what they had learnt.
“Our community is very delighted and satisfied with the training, the women who were at the training are very dynamic and want to continue the work you started in our community,” Adamou Moussa told the UNDP project coordinator who made a stop the next day at the refugee camp.
Moussa added that they are already looking forward to organize themselves to start tilling and planting the seeds that they recently received from the UNDP.
Before leaving, the UNDP project coordinator reiterated to them that further assistance will be determined by their commitment and determination and this project could serve as a benchmark to the implementation of a similar drive in other communities.