Boosting Knowledge Through Awareness Raising: An Underexploited Opportunity for Community Forestry in South West Cameroon

Mbunya Francis Nkemnyi, Tom De Herdt, Henry Musoke Semakula, Fomengia Dominic Nkenglefac


Boosting knowledge through awareness raising is important in shaping on why, what, when, where, who and how one can benefit from community forest (CF) resources. Based on this assumption, this study assessed how awareness raising has influenced community participation in community forestry in South West Cameroon, with reference to two case studies. A total of 60 participants selected purposively were involved in this study and primary data was collected using interview guides, focus group discussions and field observations. Repondents’ awareness was categorised into five main themes: formation awareness, management committee awareness, management process awareness, rights awareness and benefits sharing awareness. ALAST.ti 5 was used for data analysis and the results revealed that local community members were poorly informed on how the CF came into existence, the main people involved in their management, how they were being  managed and on how they could access and benefit from them. Thus, since local community members were less informed, they were unable to participate meaningfully to implementation. In this line, the study argues that for inclusive participation to be enabled in CF implementation in Cameroon, there is an inevitable need to ensure that all intended beneficiaries are well informed on the concept. We recommend that policy interventions should consider strategies that will commit CF managers and other stakeholders to ensure the full awareness of all participants. There is also a need to motivate public debates and research on how local awareness and participation can be sustainably achieved.

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Environment and Natural Resources Research   ISSN 1927-0488 (Print)   ISSN 1927-0496 (Online)

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