International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) has flagged-off a 3-year participatory research project to identify transformative approaches to indigenous women and young people’s engagement in integrated livelihood and conservation initiatives.
The project titled Transformative approaches to livelihood and conservation: Learning from indigenous women and youth—IWY (TALC) aims to investigate the impact of existing livelihood and conservation efforts on indigenous forest-dependent women and youth (Baka and Bagyeli) in the North of the Dja Reserve and around Kribi, Cameroon.
IITA is a non-profit institution that generates agricultural innovations to meet Africa’s most pressing challenges of hunger, malnutrition, poverty, and natural resource degradation. Working with various partners across sub-Saharan Africa, improving livelihoods, enhancing food and nutrition security, increasing employment, and preserving natural resource integrity.
The project’s findings will however, support forest-dependent women and youth in developing desirable and sustainable initiatives by themselves.
In its approach, the project will assess past and ongoing livelihoods and conservation projects in the selected areas to highlight the impact of former and current integrated initiatives on the lives of IWY within the indigenous community in Cameroon.
It will also consider the barriers to the full participation of IWY in these initiatives, examine the options to overcome them, and explore the mechanisms, tools, and conditions that have been successful at encouraging robust participation in these initiatives.
In addition, the project will support the development of ongoing actions based on IWY inspirations as it tests and assesses the research findings. These findings will be translated into communication, exchanges, and dissemination through a Community of Practice (CoP).
The CoP will include organizations involved in biodiversity conservation and poverty reduction in Cameroon, donors, local and international development practitioners, and local and national government representatives.
According to TALC Project Manager Masso Cargele, the project is a participatory and reflexive operation that takes an action-research approach.
Cargele Masso is IITA’s COMPRO-II Project Leader since July 2012. Before his current assignment with IITA, Cargele worked as a regulatory officer in Canada. He holds a PhD in Soil and Environmental Science; MSc in Environmental Science; and MSc and BSc in soil chemistry and plant nutrition. He also holds a Certificate in Project Management. His scientific publications are in the area of soil analysis and improvement, and fertilizer quality.
On the research project, he said, “it will combine conceptual and empirical approaches and quantitative and qualitative research to produce both context-based and generic results and recommendations. Researchers from various disciplines will work closely with indigenous women and youth (IWY). This mixed approach will produce results for end-users and strong learning processes.”
One of the main results of TALC is to develop guidelines to improve the implementation of projects that involved IWY through transformative projects that produce subsequent impacts on IWY livelihoods and conservation.