IOM Cameroon’s strategic crisis response approach rests on two key pillars: emergency response to crisis and peacebuilding, transition and recovery while mainstreaming the Humanitarian-Development-Peace Nexus into its work. To this end, IOM Cameroon provides critical information on displacement and needs, and tailored lifesaving assistance and protection, with a community-based approach. This approach aims at addressing the underlying causes of crises, opening avenues for durable solutions to displacement, and supporting mechanisms of conflict management and reduction while building community resilience so that communities progressively transition from urgent needs toward sustainable development.
In the context of overall low donor funding, IOM will aim at providing a more holistic Rapid Response assistance in line with the Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) and strengthen the Area RRMs in both crisis areas, to the most vulnerable IDPs, refugees outside camps, returnees, and vulnerable host communities identified through vulnerability assessments (based on national cluster guidelines and including persons with specific needs, single female-headed households, the elderly, families at risk of imminent eviction etc.) throughout 2023. Assistance to address urgent needs and alleviate suffering, with specific planned actions will include:
- Provision of NFI and emergency shelter kits (in-kind or conditional cash).
- Provision of transitional shelter solutions (in-kind or CBI solutions).
- Distribution of RRM Kits, including shelter, NFI, dignity and hygiene items including menstrual hygiene management (MHM) items.
- Supporting host communities through cash-based interventions (CBI) for a range of purposes including shelter construction and rehabilitation, cash for NFIs, cash for rent.
- Production and dissemination of Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials for community sensitization and inclusion as well as sharing technical guidance on shelter construction. Training for local young people including young women in shelter construction techniques and forming of housing assistance committees will also be provided.
- Supporting access to House, Land and Property for the displaced aiming at the endurance of transitional shelter solutions and the protection from evictions of the displaced populations, given that many displacements last for several years.
All interventions will be in line with the Shelter/NFI and WASH Clusters guidelines and the Cash Working Group guidelines with different modalities (e.g. in-kind support with emergency shelter kits, transitional shelters, and RRM kits and cash-based interventions such as for NFIs, housing rehabilitation, or rental support, among others) depending on the needs, vulnerability criteria and local context, and throughout interventions will ensure separate spaces for men, women and families to mitigate GBV risks.
Following the IASC Guidelines on MHPSS in Emergency Settings and IOM’s Manual on Community-Based Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergencies and Displacement, IOM will provide MHPSS services to conflict-affected populations in the NW-SW as well as the Far-North region of Cameroon with a range of needs, including GBV survivors, and children (especially if unaccompanied or separated), and victims of trafficking (VoT). Initiatives will include:
IOM plans over the course of 2023 to continue supporting local communities with better access to clean and drinkable water, with specific activities to:
- Build and repair local community infrastructure (water points) based on community diagnostic and planning processes, for improving communities' access to safe, clean and sustainable sources of drinking water as well as to appropriate water sources such as raw water for livestock or greywater for agriculture that will be sourced to support livelihoods and transhumance practices.
- Promote and support the creation of water committees if no prior water infrastructure governance exists, and build their capacity for the proper management of the built community infrastructures.
- Build household and community sanitation infrastructures and promote their proper use as well as other hygiene good practices to avoid the spread of cholera and other WASH-related and communicable disease outbreaks.
At all times, WASH interventions will be aimed at alleviating existing community tensions and underlying factors to small conflicts, for improving access to shared water resources where they are needed most. Interventions will make use of local labour wherever possible using cash-for-work and will be supervised by IOM’s technical staff to ensure the highest quality installations.
IOM plans over the course of 2023 to continue assisting crisis-affected populations with protection assistance, including by:
- Safeguarding protection principles to ensure safety and dignity, avoid causing harm and guarantee meaningful access to assistance for all persons in need, without discrimination.
- Ensuring close coordination with community leaders and members of community associations and other community members will be maintained, to identify the most vulnerable populations to be targeted.
- For relevant interventions such as WASH and Shelter/NFI, conducting post-distribution monitoring assessments to obtain beneficiary feedback on the quality and suitability of assistance.
- In MHPSS activities, support will be provided from different aspects, from the construction of safe spaces to GBV case management, through the lens of protection, especially for GBV survivors, children and other vulnerable populations.
- Including GBV risk mitigation as well as Disability Inclusion of Persons throughout the program cycle.
- Ensuring effective participation and empowerment of the community, ensuring that Complaint and Feedback Mechanisms (CFM) and other reporting mechanisms related to Prevention against Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA) and the Child Safeguarding Policies, to prevent misconduct and guarantee accountability to affected populations, in line with the IOM AAP Framework.
Address the drivers and longer term impacts of crises and displacement through investments in recovery and crisis prevention
- IDPs, community members, and returnees, particularly youth, in the Far North region who are at particular risk of inter-community tensions, exploitation and recruitment into armed groups.
- IDPs, host communities and IDP returnees in North-West, South-West, West, and Littoral regions, with key vulnerabilities including low access to protection, livelihoods and basic services (including shelter, WASH, education and healthcare).
- Populations affected by agro-pastoral conflicts, including herders and farmers, refugees, women and youth in the Far North, East, North and Adamawa regions of Cameroon. All stakeholders involved in conflict prevention and resolution mechanisms in these regions ('commissions consultatives' and local conflict management committees).
- Civil society groups across all crisis areas who seek greater technical and financial support to be more involved in community engagement and reconciliation activities.
- All stakeholders of the Humanitarian-Development-Peace Nexus Task Force through strategic direction and coordination as well as additional contextual knowledge for targeted high-quality programming
IOM will continue its active participation in the Humanitarian-Development-Peace Nexus (HDPN) Task Force to unite key stakeholders, including UN agencies and governmental counterparts, that are working on the development and implementation of durable solutions for displacement affected-populations. IOM supports the UN Secretary-General's Action Agenda on Internal Displacement and plans to:
- Lead/support the development and implementation of the strategy to adopt the HDPN approach to mainstream humanitarian, development and peace interventions, notably in the areas identified by the Task Force as a priority to receive these interventions.
- Apply principles from IOM’s framework on the Progressive Resolution of Displacement Situations in the planning of emergency response, peacebuilding and community stabilization programmes to build community resilience and address factors causing displacement, by working to improve access to basic social services, durable livelihoods and greater economic opportunities, protection and inclusive governance.
- Continue and improve IOM’s Stability Index to guide coordination with additional stability and human security-related indicators for decision-making and programme design in the Far North with other HDPN Task Force agencies, both for the identification and engagement of municipalities on areas of convergence for improved nexus programming in Cameroon and increased advocacy towards nexus programming.
- Review the DTM Return Intention Survey through further consultations with HDPN Task Force members to take into account their needs for informed targeting and planning.
IOM's community stabilization initiatives are dedicated to engaging local communities and stakeholders in bottom-up diagnostic and planning processes to address the root causes of conflict and instability and identify jointly tangible actions to address them. This ultimately supports the transition away from crisis towards a resumption of functioning social, economic, and political life. Initiatives follow IOM’s global community-based planning methodology (CBP), which has already been adapted to the context of the Far North, including the development of specific standard operating procedures. IOM plans to:
- Organize community-based planning processes through the training and accompaniment of local leaders and specific local officials for collective community diagnostic and planning processes, resulting in the validation of Community Action Plans (CAP);
- Implement local rehabilitation and the construction of community infrastructure based on validated CAPs;
- Facilitate advocacy sessions between community groups and higher-level government officials for the presentation of CAPs for additional locally mobilized resources;
- Create vocational training and livelihood opportunities for youth following specific community planning exercises such as seasonal analysis and local market analysis;
- Organize community dialogues and consultation processes in the Far-North region through inclusive dialogue on community grievances to identify the factors leading to frustration and a sense of being left behind that trigger the exploitation and recruitment of youth by NSAGs;
- Develop and implement community violence reduction interventions, including through the development of quick-impact projects and local grant mechanisms;
- Reinforce the relationship between communities and local governance structures and the provision of basic social services and shared resources;
- Support existing or establish new inclusive community peace committees where the community can work to identify and resolve local safety and security issues in partnership with law enforcement;
- Strengthen law enforcement actors (police, judiciary) ability to engage with the community to address local governance or security issues and build greater trust and accountability in local government institutions;
- Use conflict mitigation and resolution methods to ensure peaceful transhumant campaigns;
- Use the Transhumance Tracking Tool for geographic targeting and early identification of the root causes of conflict;
- Reinforcement of institutional and communal conflict prevention and resolution mechanisms as well as promotion of dialogue on the sharing of natural resources including water; and
- Support community members to address tensions between herders and farmers caused by climate change and unmonitored transhumance practices.
In continuation of a partnership with WHO since early 2021, IOM aims to upscale its ‘Peace through Health’ initiative for the Far North region, which aims to reinforce the capacities of health authorities to respond to the needs of communities. This will include efforts to:
- Support local community health committees or COSA (committees de santé) at the subdistrict level to organise community health consultations to collect information on community health needs;
- Provide COSA with the necessary materials and equipment to respond to community health needs identified through dialogue processes; and
- Organize cash-for-work activities to construct or rehabilitate small health infrastructure where needs are identified.
In addition to the community stabilization activities which hold an ultimate goal to build social cohesion and peace, and building on its engagement in the Far-North and North-West, South-West regions of Cameroon, IOM will:
- Continue its support to the Government of Cameroon to collaborate with national and local partners to support the peacebuilding and social cohesion efforts in conflict-affected communities where displacement and returns may impact the fragile social fabric and increase the risk of inter-communal conflict;
- Support the development of relevant national frameworks and strategies, including specific procedural manuals for Community Violence Reduction, gender mainstreaming and age-sensitive measures within peacebuilding programming, and age-sensitive measures; and
- Support the government in the establishment of long-term coordination mechanisms for working jointly with civil society networks and women’s organizations in particular.
During 2023, IOM aims to make use of its growing capacity for Mental Health and Psychosocial Support to promote reconciliation between community members, including individuals who may previously have been associated with armed groups. This will be done following a holistic approach that will include MHPSS-specific services (sensitization, counselling, referrals, peer-support groups) paired with community engagement and capacity building on activities that can be used to promote reconciliation, specifically the holding of arts-based events. Specific activities will include efforts to:
- Strengthen the capacity of local civil society organizations (women’s associations, youth associations, and other groups supporting vulnerable populations) in the Far North on arts-based MHPSS approaches for community reconciliation;
- Conduct workshops with local representatives to identify the key cultural arts-based practices to ground activities such as poetry, dance, painting, and sport; and
- Organize arts-based activities by IOM’s Psychosocial Mobile Team.
- Humanitarian, development and stabilization actors across the multi-disciplinary spectrum in disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation, including the Government of Cameroon and local authorities, the UN Country Team, the Resident Coordinator’s Office, international and local NGOs, who will benefit from critical information for enhanced coordination for the response to sudden displacements’ needs due to specific risks such as large scale flooding in the Far-North and other climate-related shocks such as poor harvest seasons and their impacts on transhumance patterns.
- Communities at risk of flooding in Far-North and at risk of further displacements in crisis-affected areas will benefit indirectly from greater preparedness activities.
IOM will continue its efforts to reinforce capacities at all coordination levels for disaster risk management and emergency preparedness, acknowledging that preparedness activities save time and costs in potential humanitarian responses. IOM will engage government counterparts, UN Country Team members including UNDP, NGO partners and multi-disciplinary experts in the coordination of preparedness measures, to work together to prepare for the potential impacts of disaster. In particular, IOM will:
- Support relevant governmental entities through the strengthening of risk monitoring tools, minimum preparedness actions and contingency planning activities through capacity building activities of IOM and via coordination mechanisms including the Capacity for Disaster Reduction Initiative (CADRI) that IOM is co-leading with UNDP at the country level;
- Develop procurement and pre-positioning plans for shelter/NFI tools and materials, WASH hygiene kits, cholera kits and WASH equipment (spare parts/pumps, water quality testing materials, etc) for faster responses with prioritization for local procurement whenever possible to support local markets; and
- Engage with humanitarian partners including local NGOs in the Far-North region, to improve emergency preparedness and response capacity, in particular to floods. This includes conducting a study to identify precise flood-prone areas and needs and propose, in coordination with OCHA, a yearly intervention plan to enhance disaster risk management and emergency preparedness. It also includes the reinforcement of the level of preparation of some communities (small-scale mitigation activities, risk mapping, reinforcement or creation of early warning systems at the community level, simulation exercises and reinforcement of village committees and other local actors to be able to better organize the first response activities.
In line with the Sendai Framework priorities and in the framework of the Capacity for Disaster Reduction Initiative (CADRI) engagement, IOM Cameroon works with multiple stakeholders, including governmental counterparts, the Resident Coordinator and multi-disciplinary experts in disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation to strengthen the country's risk information systems, prioritize risk reduction in national and local plans and enhance preparedness systems. Activities and measures will be designed to mitigate existing and prevent new disaster risks. Following the CADRI’s recommendations after the diagnosis mission in the first quarter of next year, IOM will support the following initiatives:
- Support the development of a DRR action plan/the update of the National DDR strategy under the leadership of Civil Protection Direction);
- Capacity-building of relevant stakeholders on DRR as identified by the CADRI’s recommendations;
- Support coordination forums/platforms engaging different specialized stakeholders, including governmental counterparts, UN agencies, NGOs and the private sector on the subject of DRR; and
- Support strengthening community-based disaster risk management capacities particularly in the far north, including the support to develop local early warning systems, and community-led initiatives that reduce risk while building resilience to disasters/hazards which would also support conflict resolution/mediation efforts (in areas where climate hazards interact with inter-communal conflicts, for instance between transhumance and farming communities).
IOM plans to strengthen systems for Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) in crisis contexts, ensuring that systems are well prepared for sudden shocks. Initiatives will include efforts to:
- Integrate community-based MHPSS to address the psychosocial needs of people following experiences of conflict and displacement with a survivor-centred approach in the different regions of intervention;
- Strengthen or establish local community structures and committees within communities and IDP settlements, such as women and youth groups and conflict management committees in order to strengthen referral processes, facilitate community-based MHPSS activities (including Psychological First Aid);
- Strengthen the capacity of medical personnel in health centres and traditional doctors/healers on the identification of mental disorders (including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and referral mechanisms to specialized mental health services;
- Training of health personnel on Psychological First Aid (PFA), care practices and communication skills, as well as referral systems for and on handling disclosures of survivors of violence, including GBV;
- Engage with health centres in the Far North to further train and support them on the management, storage and dispersal of psychotropic drugs to persons in need of medical treatment, such as cases of severe depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and others, including on the specific stock management of drugs and on financial sustainability to ensure sufficient stocks;
- Provide psychoeducation sessions to communities to reduce stigmatization of persons with mental health needs and to strengthen community capacity to promote supportive environments for persons in need of MHPSS services; and
- Reinforce protection and safety in referral pathways to ensure that no one is left behind and ensure that international quality standards and human rights aspects are respected when referring people to clinical mental health services (especially psychiatric institutions).
- Humanitarian partners and recovery organizations, including all Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) actors in NW-SW and Far-North regions, will benefit from the continued production and dissemination of reliable data on needs assessments, displacement figures, trends and intentions for more informed and appropriate crisis response planning, coordination and implementation that does no harm.
- Stabilization and recovery actors in the Far-North, North, Adamaoua and East including the HDPN Task Force, benefiting from IOM’s Stability Index and Return Intention Survey, and local authorities and communities, agropastoralist communities and farmers benefiting from IOM’s Transhumance Tracking Tool (TTT).
- All displaced populations in the NW-SW and Far-North will benefit indirectly from a more efficient humanitarian response overall.
- At-risk communities, notably through humanitarian and peacebuilding partners.
IOM aims to continue providing a better understanding of population displacement numbers and trends and the evolving profiles and needs of conflict and disaster-affected populations in the Far-North, North-West, South-West, West and Littoral regions of Cameroon, and include the Center region, through the regular collection, processing and dissemination of data to support the humanitarian community to assess and analyze the needs of vulnerable populations and provide an immediate response to the most vulnerable people.
IOM will also engage with information management (IM) stakeholders to ensure that both DTM and secondary data are properly shared and used. In the wake of the Global Information Management, Assessment and Analysis Cell (GIMAC) - Data Entry and Exploratory Platform (DEEP) initiative, IOM will provide the expert panel with relevant information and advocate for common data sharing between UN agencies and with partners working on information management and statistics in Cameroon (Information Management Working Group, National Institute for Statistics, etc.).
Based on partners’ needs IOM will:
- Conduct and distribute the Emergency Tracking Tool (ETT) to help coordinate partners’ emergency response to sudden displacements, caused by both conflict and disaster;
- Conduct Multi-Sectoral Needs Assessments (MSNA) that will fit into wider Humanitarian Country Team planning and be developed jointly with active clusters in the Far-North and Centre regions;
- Ensure the continued roll-out of, and expansion, the Stability Index to identify ‘pockets of stability' where the environment is conducive for humanitarian-development-peace nexus programming to converge;
- Undertake thematic data collection and analysis such as the Return Intention Survey and Mobility Tracking, aiming to inform humanitarian and transition and recovery actors on the number of Internally Displaced Persons and Returnees and their unique living conditions, future intentions and multisectoral needs;
- Conduct data collection on transhumance flows and agro-pastoral tensions through IOM’s Transhumance Tracking Tool (TTT) in order to reduce tensions linked to unexpected movements of cattle, resource management and the subsequent small conflicts surrounding transhumance in the East, Adamawa and North regions; and
- Additionally, activities covering the Far-North will support an IOM sub-regional strategy of harmonization of data collection tools, methodologies, calendars and products across the Lake Chad Basin countries (Chad, Niger, Nigeria) and the creation of a sub-regional DTM able to provide better cross-country analyses to national and sub-regional authorities (such as the Lake Chad Basin Commission, or LCBC).
Figures are as of 31 December 2020. For more details of IOM's operational capacity in country, please see the IOM Capacity section.