Environmental NGOs in Cameroon: Three Types

We distinguish three types of environmental NGOs operating in Cameroon: international NGOS and two types of Cameroonian-based NGOS.

International NGOs

Like many nations in sub-Saharan Africa (Brockington and Scholfield, 2010b), Cameroon has attracted a number of international NGOs that focus on nature protection, including Birdlife International, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Living Planet, and the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) (Fonjong, 2007a, 2007b). These groups can most easily persuade their support base abroad that they are effective with reports of nature reserves created and ecosystems and species saved, so they tend to pursue these objectives avidly (Wapner, 1996; Adams and Hulme, 2001; Markham and van Koppen, 2007; Brockington and Scholfield, 2010a, 2010b). Also, as in other African countries (Vivian, 1994; Dierig, 1999; Tukahirwa, Mol, and Oosteveer, 2010, 2013, 2014), other international NGOs operating in Cameroon, such as the Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere and, until recently, HELVETAS, mix environmental and development goals. Their projects include, for example, reforestation, preventing soil erosion, and providing clean drinking water (Fonjong, 2001, 2007a; Van der Waarde and Ischer, 2007).

International NGOs have their headquarters offices and support base in developed countries, most often in Europe, and most are mass membership organizations (Wapner, 1996; Markham and van Koppen, 2007; Doherty and Doyle, 2014). Their Cameroonian branches may have either Cameroonian or foreign leaders, but control lies in the hands of the international NGO; their projects are typically carried out by a combination of personnel from abroad and Cameroonians, with the latter in the majority. Funding usually comes mainly from individual donors in developed nations, though they may supplement their budgets with grants from governmental agencies, churches, or foundations. Consequently, their resources, constraints, and problems are quite different from those of Cameroonian-based NGOs (see also Michael, 2004).

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