Archive for March, 2012

Ashoka Bringing Change to Africa

March 23rd, 2012 by admin

Ashoka is driving a new vision for the citizen sector— one based on individual innovators who inspire and lead everyone to be a ‘changemaker’ at some level. Ashoka’s core work is identifying and investing in leading social entrepreneurs with new ideas for social change as well as providing them with access to a global network of social entrepreneurs thereby creating an ever increasing synergy for local action and global change. After 30 years, our community of Fellows is now 3,000 strong in over 77 countries across 5 continents. Ashoka serves as a platform for collaboration and exchange, while also designing new ways for the citizen sector to become more productive, entrepreneurial, and globally integrated.

Since 1990, Ashoka Africa has supported nearly 300 dynamic leading social entrepreneurs in 17 countries who are implementing solutions at the grassroots level to solve the continent’s most pressing social problems. Ashoka Fellows in Africa are empowering people to create their own economic and civic opportunities, addressing the pandemic of HIV/AIDS and other health concerns, introducing more effective education systems, protecting the environment and natural resources, and resolving conflict. Building a critical mass of ground-breaking social entrepreneurs is an important step toward creating a vibrant and prosperous African continent.

Ashoka Anglophone West Africa would like to partner with the Peacecorps of Cameroon to identify and support leading social entrepreneurs in Cameroon. It is our belief that your prestigious organisation is in sync with our values and as such would make a valuable partner especially in the role of a nominators’ network, assisting us to discover diamonds in the rough from across your country and support them in their bid to change the world.

The link on this page is a video show casing the absolute necessity of Changemakers on the global stage and the best part of it all is that we have an opportunity to participate in finding them. Enjoy! 

If you know a social entrepreneur or have suggestions of others who would be valuable partners in an ecosystem for selecting and supporting social entrepreneurs, please contact Josephine Nzerem, Representative for Anglophone West Africa ( +234 802 308 5551)

Cameroonian Women Face Trial on Homosexuality Charges

March 15th, 2012 by bobebill

By Andrew Harmon

Civil rights attorney Alice Nkom

Two women charged with homosexuality in the west central African nation of Cameroon are scheduled to go on trial Thursday, according to reports from advocacy groups.

All Out, a grassroots, international LGBT rights group, reports that the two women, referred to on the organization’s website only by their first names, Esther and Pascaline, were arrested last month in the small town of Ambam in Cameroon’s southern region. According to All Out, the women were turned in by an unidentified man who “denounced” the pair for their sexual orientation and were castigated by local residents as “witches [who] deserve death.”

The upcoming trial comes a week after a court decision to delay the appeal hearing of Jean-Claude Roger Mbede, a Cameroonian man who was sentenced to three years in prison for sending “gay text messages” and has been reportedly sexually assaulted during his imprisonment.

Both cases are represented by Alice Nkom (pictured), one of the few attorneys working on behalf of gays in a country where charges of same-sex relationships can carry a penalty of up to five years. Human rights groups including Amnesty International have called on the Cameroonian government to drop all laws criminalizing homosexuality. Meanwhile, other African countries including Liberia and Nigeria have moved in recent months to strengthen, not weaken, such laws.

It’s not clear whether the U.S. State Department, which has taken an affirmative position supporting global LGBT rights, will send American embassy diplomats to the trial, as it sometimes does in such cases.

Via Council for Global Equality:

Even before a case goes to court, embassy personnel may inquire into the conditions of individuals being held in detention or, in some places, seek to meet individually with those being detained both before and after trial. In Malawi, for example, the U.S. embassy sent observers to monitor the trial of a young couple accused of violating the country’s criminal prohibitions against homosexuality. In the case of the recent murder of human rights defender David Kato in Uganda, the U.S. embassy also sent diplomats to observe the court proceedings against his alleged attacker. The presence of U.S. and other foreign diplomats as observers in important court cases increases media attention and it puts the host government on notice that other governments are watching the case and that the outcome could impact bilateral relations.

Marauding horsemen killing off elephant population in Cameroon as demand for ivory grows

March 15th, 2012 by admin

Poachers believed to be invading from Sudan
Thursday, March 15, 2012, 3:06 PM

In this February 2012 file photo released by Boubandjida Safari Lodge, the carcasses of elephants slaughtered by poachers are seen in Boubou Ndjida National Park, located in Cameroon, near the border with Chad. The director of the World Wildlife Fund’s Central Africa program, Natasha Kofoworola Quist, said Thursday, March 15, 2012 that Cameroon’s military arrived too late and in too few numbers to save most of the elephants. She said at least half of the park’s 400 elephants have been killed.(AP Photo/ Boubandjida Safari Lodge)

JOHANNESBURG — Soldiers in Cameroon are losing the battle to save the last elephants in a remote frontier park from marauding horsemen believed to be invading from Sudan, the World Wildlife Fund said Thursday.

“The forces arrived too late to save most of the park’s elephants, and were too few to deter the poachers,” said Natasha Kofoworola Quist, director of the fund’s Central Africa program. “WWF is disturbed by reports that the poaching continues unabated in Bouba N’Djida National Park and that a soldier’s life has been lost.”

She said at least half of the park’s 400 elephants have been killed.

David Hoyle, the fund’s conservation director in Cameroon, said the government had sent up to 150 soldiers into the national park on March 1 — taking action after weeks of pressure from the fund and from the European Union.

Hoyle said at least another 20 elephants were slaughtered during the first week of the military deployment.

“We know there have been confrontations between the military and the poachers, we don’t have figures on how many have been arrested or killed,” he said.

Hoyle said the soldiers had confiscated 49 tusks, representing 25 dead elephants.

This past year has seen an unprecedented increase in poaching of elephants for their tusks which are smuggled mainly to China and Thailand to make ivory ornaments.

Wildlife activists blame China’s growing footprint in Africa for an unprecedented surge in poaching elephants for their tusks. Most are believed to be smuggled to China and Thailand to make ivory ornaments.

Growing demand for ivory in China is “the leading driver behind the illegal trade in ivory today,” said Tom Milliken, an elephant and rhino expert for the wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC. China has a legal ivory market that is supposed to be highly controlled but tons and tons of illegal ivory has made its way there in recent years, said the Zimbabwe-based Milliken, who spoke in a conference call with several World Wildlife Fund officers.

Chinese middlemen among new immigrants to Africa have “cornered the market” for poached ivory, offering prices that have put thousands of Central African ivory carvers out of work.

Ivory sales are banned in most countries since the 1980s under an international treaty to help conserve elephants.

Kofoworola Quist said the World Wildlife Fund has for years been warning Cameroon that its game rangers are not properly trained or equipped to address the scale, intensity and organized nature of the poaching.

Heavily armed poachers are believed to come from Sudan and Chad, moving on horseback with herds of cattle and camels and sometimes crossing through Central African Republic.

“They move 1,000 kilometers (more than 600 miles) on horseback to get to northern Cameroon because they have already wiped out the elephants of Chad and Central African Republic,” said Richard Carroll, vice president of the U.S. chapter of WWF.

Quist said the fund wants “a concrete assurance” from Cameroon’s President Paul Biya “that he will do whatever is necessary to protect the remaining elephants in Bouba N’Djida, and to bring the killers to justice.”

The fund had urged Cameroon to engage the governments of Chad and Sudan in a coordinated response.

“WWF has offered its assistance and is awaiting meaningful action from Cameroon and its neighbors,” she said.

Northern Cameroon’s elephant population represents 80 percent of the total population of savanna elephants in all of Central Africa.

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