LUKMEF Builds capacity of 100 Religious persons on Humanitarian Intervention and Coordination in NW

CEO LUKMEF Addressing the Press

At a time when the entire humanitarian corps put together can only respond to 20% of the entire humanitarian needs of the war affected populations of the North West and South West regions of the Republic of Cameroon, the need to build the capacity of humanitarian actors in emergency humanitarian interventions has become primordial.

Aid has often reached the wrong people in the ongoing humanitarian aid distribution in the North West and sometimes the intervention is poorly done. It is on this backdrop that Martin Luther King Junior Memorial Foundation a Cameroon born NGO that now operates internationally with branches in Ghana, Switzerland, Kenya and soon to go operational branches in Nigeria and other countries around the world brought together 100 religious men and women from all the popular faiths in Cameroon including Muslims to build their capacity in humanitarian intervention and coordination

Cross section of participants

In a two days workshop sponsored by UNICEF through LUKMEF, participants were drilled on the core humanitarian principles of humanity, impartiality, independence and neutrality with a special input of the principle of Do no harm as well as the core humanitarian standards (CHS) that describes the essential elements of principled, accountable and high-quality humanitarian action. Other areas of particular impact were child protection respond services, Gender based violence, and UNICEF specific intervention. Participants were made to understand the notion of GBV, and to know the available responds services for GBV as well as for child protection respond services and the child protection referral pathway for the North West.

Participants working in groups

There was also a focus on the safe guarding of Unaccompanied and Separated Children (UASC) in times of crisis like in the North West region where many children have lost their parents and homes to the ongoing war.  The presenter of the module Mr. Tanyi Christian stressed that such children must first of all be treated as humans before being given help and that communities or individuals hosting such children must take absolute care of them as they are usually at the most vulnerable stages of their lives which can lead to extreme radicalization or depression if they are not well handled.

To Mr. Tanyi Christian, CEO of LUKMEF, the choice of religious leaders for the training is justified by the fact that they are usually the last persons to leave a war zone. “In a community that is broken or highly affected to the extremes, it is very likely that the one man you will still find there will be the religious persons. LUKMEF cannot do it all alone, therefore the need to properly integrate them into the humanitarian response process. In terms of access, they need to be the ones to tell us what their communities need and how we can get that aid to them and if we talk about accountability to affected population, it means they are supposed to be at the center of the response. Within the frame work of UNICEF’s intervention in the two regions, they have recognized the key role that religious bodies can play in humanitarian intervention such that it has moved beyond UNICEF to other humanitarian agencies embracing the approach”.

According to Pastor Innocent, the neutrality and non political leanings of religious leaders sometimes make them free minded and have nothing pushing them away. “It is for this reason that we think we can capitalize on our presence and efforts towards assisting the needy to build our capacities so that we can better deliver. We also believe that if we work as an inter faith based movement, we can have substantial aid from humanitarian agencies to better help our communities.”
Community humanitarian assistance in the North West especially in the far off divisions away from Mezam remain a big challenge.

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