The need to rethink collaboration between Cameroonian CSOs in order to increase their impacts on human and environmental wellbeing

Most of the civil society organisations (CSOs) that are involved in nature conservation and development activities in Cameroon are associations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). They often try to work in synergy and to complement one another in their implementation of projects, but often fall short of their own expectations or those of donors and beneficiary communities. Collaboration is often seen as being the cause of setbacks and bad experiences, but it is worth noting that many agencies collaborate with each other in order to access funding, comply with donor-led action strategies or respond to security conditions, etc. It is important to remember that collaboration succeeds or fails according to the actors’ capacity to listen to and understand each other, be prepared to change their minds and know when to let go.

I believe that collaboration between CSOs in Cameroon should be based on sound principles and common values, and should serve the country’s citizens. Building and maintaining collaboration is a delicate process. In order to move forward, we need to:

– Develop a shared vision of the major changes people want to see;
– Follow good governance procedures;
– Strengthen the capacities and improve the image of CSOs;
– Develop a culture of partnership in relations between CSOs and citizens, and between CSOs and donors.

About the author

Aboukar Mahamat

Aboukar Mahamat is the Coordinator of the Association Camerounaise pour l’Education Environnementale (ACEEN), a civil society organisation based in Maroua in northern Cameroon, which is also involved in natural resource governance in the Lake Chad basin.