On the occasion of our fifth seminar, which took place in Yaoundé, the French Red Cross Foundation gathered together more than 80 actors of humanitarian action in Cameroon over two days. These seminars are central to our mission, which is to create a space for debate and an interface between international organisations, NGOs, associations, public authorities and academics. This aim is even more important given the scarcity of such meetings and reflections in Cameroon, a country that is marked by a number of different humanitarian crises.
“Debates and discussions on the subject of humanitarian action are rare, because humanitarian actors do not have time to stop and think about which direction to take, and about changes to the environment which require corresponding changes of strategy, and adapt to new challenges. This is why this seminar is so important and timely.”
Modibo Traore, Head of the OCHA Office
This event, which was co-organised with the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD) and in partnership with the Cameroon Red Cross and the Catholic University of Central Africa (UCAC), was supported by the Crisis and Support Centre (French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs).
Taking stock of the humanitarian situation in Cameroon
Studying humanitarian transition in Cameroon foremost entails a focus on the history of humanitarian action in the country. This was the subject of the introductory round table discussion, which aimed to present the different crises facing the country, the social and humanitarian actors in attendance, and the contexts of intervention. Understanding humanitarian transition also requires a focus on the origins of the country’s weaknesses, specifically the interactions and links between development issues and humanitarian crises, and their consequences, by means of discussion on migration and population movements, and the responses which are brought to them.
Action in the light of ethical principles
In this changing environment, the Foundation promotes ethical reflection to accompany the actors and to better anticipate developments in the humanitarian sector. This is why, following an introduction by Virginie Troit, the director of the Foundation, the participants were invited to participate in three round table discussions to debate humanitarian action in Cameroon in the light of ethical principles.
The first of these principles, autonomy, gave rise to a debate regarding the role and capacities of national humanitarian actors, in the wake of aid localisation following the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul.
New practices in humanitarian aid in Cameroon
Next, researchers and specialists brainstormed the impact and consequences of new practices in humanitarian aid, such as cash transfers, which are showing strong growth in Cameroon. Finally, the last round table discussion analysed in greater detail the themes linked to health and access to care. These multi-actor debates, which brought together researchers, humanitarian workers, and public actors from the Ministry of Health, enabled progress in thinking about the health landscape in Cameroon.
With a view to associating a multitude of actors and points of view, the Foundation invited students from different universities to the seminar (UCAC, Dschang University, Yaounde II University…). In the same spirit, three doctoral students from the Postgraduate School of UCAC brought the seminar to a close by presenting their vision of humanitarian transition in Cameroon, the demands of young people, and their recommendations.
Following on from this seminar, the Foundation will be pursuing its scientific collaboration with Cameroon, where it has already supported two postgraduate fellowships. The country will be at the centre of the call for fellowships which will be launched in early 2019. Moreover, a call for contributions will be launched at the end of 2018 for the fifth edition of the Devenir humanitaire collection (Editions Karthala), entitled “Humanitarian Transition in Cameroon”.
“Academics, researchers in the social sciences are relevant actors who can help the actors that we are to orient, analyse and better understand the situation on the ground”
Edouard Kaldapa – Caritas Maroua
Watch a short final video of the event (in French)
All the round tables of the 2-day seminar were video recorded, you can watch them on our YouTube Channel by clicking here
The detailed 2-day programme is available by clicking here
And the photo gallery of the event by clicking here