On the occasion of the GEN+20 Summit held in Findhorn Ecovillage, Scotland from July 5-11th, 2015 the Bafut Ecovillage won the Gaia Trust Award as the most inspiring Ecovillage project in Africa. By Sonita Mbah.
Sonita Mbah and Joshua Konkankoh, both Better World Cameroon and African representatives said it is a dream come true. They express sincere joy and gratitude to GEN International and Gaia Trust for the priviledge. Sonita said “ I now feel that my 5 years of volunteering is paying off and now trusting more in my patience to wait for the harvest”.
Apart from this award, I reconnected more with NextGEN and the wider family of GEN. I was mainly inspired by the different opportunities for networking channels during this conference. At this time when we were planning for a summer camp and Mini EDE from August 5 to 23 in Cameroon (thanks to the Slush Fund), the summit was timely to create the necessary connections. It was also a forum where I learned about strategy development and represented the African voice.
This award, which comprise of a certificate and EUR 1500 will support the High Value Agricultural Product program in Bafut to achieve economic viability for small-scale farmers. Bafut’s social and cultural Heritage has been seriously depleted due to political and urban pressure. The people have lost their food sovereignty due to poor agricultural policies. Farmers are old and farms are ailing, traditional village structures broken. Farming is considered the poor man’s job. Young people find agriculture unattractive because there is little creativity and very limited money is available to farmers. Bafut Ecovillage has developed HVAP program to contribute to solving the problems of cultural depletion, innovative agriculture, economic viability, and food sovereignty. We are using the EDE and Gaia Education and Permaculture models to ensure the sustainability of this HVAP program.
Some of the aims of the project include:
To ensure food security and sovereignty.
To empower communities with Permaculture skills to grow organic crops.
Utilize already existing ginger production
Ensure economic viability through intercropping traditional staple crops (corn, beans etc.) and HVAP (Moringa, ginger, turmeric, lemon grass etc.)
Youth, Women farmer groups and the entire 53 communities of Bafut (16,000 people) are our target group for this pilot phase, which will run until 2020.
This award will continue to serve as a symbol of love and hard work in Bafut. We invite you to join GEN to share in this vision to upscale the ecovillage movement through economically viable community projects.