Maison de l’Enfant et de la Femme Pygmées (MEFP)
Maison de l’enfant et de la femme pygmées
MEFP came into being on 15 October 2000 at the instigation of Anne-Marie SITAMON, who, together with her family, spent eight years in the forest with the Aka of Londo village in the south-west of the Central African Republic. The creation of the organisation was prompted by the dramatic poor living conditions of the Pygmies. The organisation was registered with the Ministry of the Interior and Public Security in 2001 and received NGO status from the Ministry of Planning, Economic Affairs and International Cooperation.
The aim of MEFP is to further the social, economic and cultural well-being of Pygmies generally, and Pygmy women and children in particular. MEFP’s vision focuses specifically on the indigenous peoples of the Central African Republic, but does not exclude the local Bantu communities that also share the forest.
MEFP activities involve:
- Defending and advancing Pygmy rights and culture;
- Encouraging sustainable management of the Pygmies’ environment;
- Advancing Pygmy education and training;
- Contributing to the improvement of health provision and to the fight against HIV/AIDS in Pygmy communities;
- Furthering small-scale development projects to benefit the Pygmies.
The organisational structure is made up of three main parts: the General Assembly, which is the deliberative body, the Steering Committee, which is the body responsible for vision and direction, and finally the Executive Coordination, the body responsible for implementing actions planned by the organisation.
Despite progress in several areas, MEFP still faces certain organisational challenges. Like many organisations in the region, it has difficulty accessing the information necessary for fundraising. Without this, it cannot invest in its own development in the medium or long-term. MEFP was also badly affected by the March 2013 coup. The staff was targeted, the organisation lost many of its assets and the some of the staff were forced to flee. The organisation is still adjusting in order to ensure its continued survival in a changing environment.
Since 2010, Well Grounded has been working closely with MEFP by means of the following measures:
- The drafting and submission of a first MEFP project proposal to the European Union, which was successful, and support around its implementation. The project came to an end in September 2013;
- Assistance carrying out an organisational analysis of MEFP in 2012;
- Support to MEFP on their financial management system, including the introduction of some tools;
- Assistance putting together its contingency plan in October 2013 in Yaoundé. This helped the organisation review its projects so as to adapt them to the crisis situation, maintain visibility and continue to operate strategically;
- In the future, MEFP hopes to be supported by Well Grounded in the following: the development of its strategic plan, the next meeting of the General Assembly, improving access to information for new funding opportunities and the development of an office in the Democratic Republic of Congo.