The Bafut Ecovillage celebrates four years of sustainable community development, achieved through adaptive governance among the people and designing a model of cultural and social development based on a green economy.
In 2012, Better World Cameroon started replicating its Bafut Ecovillage concept, which was developed in the Ecoliteracy Center of Yaounde, Cameroon in 1996. Bafut Ecovillage was developed based on knowledge of the four keys of sustainability learned during the African Symposium on Ecovillages in Sekem, Egypt in 2012. From that conference, Better World Cameroon resolved that the principles embodied in ecovillages and permaculture were the best way to protect the UNESCO World Heritage Center in Bafut.
The Bafut Ecovillage today celebrates four years of sustainable and economic work, achieved through generating adaptive governance among the people and designing a model of cultural and social development based on green economy.
We started by registering Bafut Ecovillage as the first permaculture cooperative in Cameroon to advise and train farmers and ensure clear pathways to market for our products. This was to ensure food sovereignty and food security in a holistic way. Secondly, because we could not have a community without land, we set up the five acre Ndanifor Permaculture Ecovillage as a demonstration site for an international summer school for youth entrepreneurship. This helps young people develop themselves in a way that they now have the capacity to transform the Bafut community. The focus on these initial stages is on rainwater harvesting, replenishing ground water and enriching topsoil through composting. Together with planting trees this is enhancing the ecosystem and cultivation of organic crops for fare trade and local consumption.
The Bafut Ecovillage’s overarching aim is to become one of the showcase ecovillages of GEN Africa fostering economic development by creating valuable ecological agriculture outputs.
Our achievements so far have led the Bafut Ecovillage to be awarded the Gaia Trust Excellence Award 2015 as one of the most inspiring projects of GEN Africa. This has been a collective effort of the project team—recognizing the importance of African solidarity and the love of education that allows young people to regenerate the culture of peace. The strength of Bafut Ecovillage sources from the natural appreciation of the rich heritage of our own roots and traditional wisdom. GEN International has played a vital role of connecting Bafut to its networks worldwide.
About the Author
Joshua Konkankoh is a ruling council member of GEN Africa and sits on the Board of GEN International.