Humanitarian Action: SHUMAS Cameroon pulls out, empowers female IDPs from the Douala "jungle"

By Bakah Derick 

Not fewer than 35 female internally displaced persons (IDPs) now based in Cameroon's economic capital city Douala as a result of the ongoing armed conflict in the North West and South West Regions now have an opportunity to earn a decent living. The IDPs found their new livelihood following the intervention of Bamenda based not-for-profit nongovernmental organisation (NGO) Strategic Humanitarian Services (SHUMAS) Cameroon. 
SHUMAS Cameroon Director Nformi Ndzerem Stephen Njodzeka handing over startup assistance 

Handing over financial and material support to the women and girls most of whom are single mothers on Friday 25 February 2022 in Douala, the Director General of SHUMAS Cameroon Mformi Ndzerem Stephen Njodzeka explained why his organisation decided to intervene.  
"We visited Douala and discovered that many young women and girls from the English Speaking regions displaced as a result of the ongoing crisis were living under very difficult conditions in Douala generally considered a jungle where the battle is for the fittest. Some because of the need to have what to eat were into serious prostitution, others pregnant with no place to live and others crowded in one room sleeping on the floor with no mattresses. This immediately inspired us to think on how we could be of help." Mformi Ndzerem Stephen said 
Beneficiaries display their mattresses

The director of SHUMAS explained that the sad situations immediately caused him and his organisation to carryout a multi-sector needs accessment to better establish the exact point of difficulty. Following conversations with over 150 of the IDPs, they ended up with 50 critical cases who were in urgent need of psychosocial counselling to handle issues of trauma, financial and material support to provide them with a source of livelihood and some minimum level of comfort. 

"To be able to handle the basic issues of lodging for those who were sleeping on the floor, we gave out 34 mattresses and for those with serious cases of Gender based violence (GBV) resulting to or from prostitution, joblessness and large number of children, we trained them on basic book keeping, did some elementary business planning with them. Following their business ideas, we did an appraisal of the market so as to ensure the maximum number of them could benefit." The SHUMAS leader explained 
SHUMAS Cameroon Director Nformi Ndzerem Stephen Njodzeka addressing beneficiaries during training. 

The startup assistance handed to the IDPs following their abilities to manage will enable them to trade in food stuff, second hand and fairly used dresses for children, fruits and vegetables, flour and oil for pastries like puff puff, basic household commodities amonsgt others. SHUMAS authorities have encouraged them to use the grants judiciously in a way that can grow the business while saving for the future. 
"I am very happy for this donation. Life has been very difficult for me and my children. I used to buy and sell "okrika" so it is a business I know and i am sure it will go well. I really want to thank SHUMAS for coming all the ways from Bamenda to help us." A beneficial said 
Handing over of startup to a beneficiary 

While appreciating the British Charity; Future In Our Hands (FIOH) for supporting the project, SHUMAS Cameroon authorities say, there could not help many more of those in need because of the limited means. They have expressed their readiness to assist more should the means be available. 

The Three months project  from December 2021 to February Friday 2022, falls within SHUMAS Humanitarian response activities. 
SHUMAS Cameroon Director Nformi Ndzerem Stephen Njodzeka speaking to the press 

Started in 1993, SHUMAS Cameroon is a development Non Governmental Organization focused on integrated sustainable rural development. Legalised in 1997, SHUMAS in 2013 was granted the status of a Non Governmental Organisation. The Bamenda headquartered charity currently has special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.
The organisation works in the areas  of health, education, water and sanitation, social welfare, environmental protection and management, women empowerment, agriculture and volunteering. To benefit from their projects, the need must be expressed by the community after which she establishes the degree of need and decides in a nondiscriminatory manner to fund.

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