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Promoting farmers and pastoralists consultations in managing rangelands. [Cameroon]

Dialogue platforms

approaches_3319 - Cameroon

Completeness: 100%

1. General information

1.2 Contact details of resource persons and institutions involved in the assessment and documentation of the Approach

Key resource person(s)

SLM specialist:
Name of project which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Approach (if relevant)
In Search of Common Ground
Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Approach (if relevant)
Mbororo Social and Cultural Development Association (MBOSCUDA) - Cameroon

1.3 Conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT

When were the data compiled (in the field)?


The compiler and key resource person(s) accept the conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT:


1.4 Reference(s) to Questionnaire(s) on SLM Technologies

2. Description of the SLM Approach

2.1 Short description of the Approach

These are multi stakeholder platforms bringing together rangeland users such as farmers, pastoralists/agro pastoralists to learn, discuss and implement low stake conflict mitigation strategies and mutually beneficial alliances.

2.2 Detailed description of the Approach

Detailed description of the Approach:

Dialogue Platforms (DP) are usually made up between 12 to 14 community members with a balance from both the pastoralist and farming communities. The members are selected from within the community on the basis of their tract records on peace building, objectivity and interest in the development of their community. The objectives of these platforms are: promote inter community dialogue in natural resources sharing and access, promote sensible resource management, and promote mutual beneficial relationships and constructive conflict resolution and mitigation. The Alternative Conflict Management (ACM) approach is usually promoted and this seeks to address the question of how people can make better decisions together, particularly on difficult, contentious issues. This is implemented as a complement or substitute to more adversarial or non-consensual strategies, such as judicial or legal recourse, unilaterally initiated public information campaigns or partisan political action.
The stages of this multi stakeholder dialogue process mostly facilitated by 'Paralegals' and 'Community Resource Volunteers' of the Mbororo Social and Cultural Development Association (MBOSCUDA) include:
1. Identification of stakeholders who are mostly farmers, pastoralists and agro-pastoralists but can also include traditional authorities, local administration and technical services
2. Sensitization on approach
3. Setting up of DP and capacity building of members on conflict mediation techniques of Alternative Crisis Management (ACM) approach which privilege negotiation and mediation in resolving resource access/use conflicts
4. Monitoring of the functioning of DP
5. Promoting the emergence of beneficial farming relations between farmers and pastoralists

2.3 Photos of the Approach

2.4 Videos of the Approach

Comments, short description:

'Reaching the Unreached':
A documentary showing some of MBOSCUDA's community development initiatives in North-West Cameroon.




North-West Cameroon

Name of videographer:

ISCG project of MBOSCUDA

2.5 Country/ region/ locations where the Approach has been applied



Region/ State/ Province:

North West Region

Further specification of location:

This approach has been piloted in 23 communities in the North West Region

2.6 Dates of initiation and termination of the Approach

Indicate year of initiation:


Year of termination (if Approach is no longer applied):



Project funding will end in 2018. Some aspects of this approach have been existing informally within the communities but through the facilitation efforts of development NGOs, it has gained in popularity and has even made its way in to the draft Pastoral Code of the country awaiting enactment by parliament.

2.7 Type of Approach

  • project/ programme based

2.8 Main aims/ objectives of the Approach

- Articulation and mediation of different interests in resource use and sharing.
- Promote beneficial relationships.
- Sustainable resource (land and water) management.
- Constructive conflict resolution.

2.9 Conditions enabling or hindering implementation of the Technology/ Technologies applied under the Approach

social/ cultural/ religious norms and values
  • hindering

Cultural differences between two main land user (pastoralists and crop farmers) may hinder smooth functioning of approach. Pastoralists are predominantly moslems while farmers are christians. So possibilities for a clash over religious values eg muslims don't take alcohol or eat pork which may be be served during gatherings may arise.

availability/ access to financial resources and services
  • hindering

This approach does not depend on availability/access to financial resources and services

institutional setting
  • hindering

Presently the institution set up by law at the level of every sub division to adjudicate farmer-pastoralists' conflicts is the Agro Pastoral Commissions (APC) which have been dubbed as corrupt and inefficient in handling these conflicts. Some are even known to help perpetuate these conflicts for selfish ends. The members of these APCs may see in this new approach the end of their prerogatives since conflicts will no longer be brought to them as farmers and pastoralists try to settle their conflicts amongst themselves without recourse to third party.

collaboration/ coordination of actors
  • enabling

The success of this approach is critically hinged on collaboration between main local actors especially farmers and pastoralists and also the facilitation skills of the 'Paralegals' and 'Community Resource Volunteers' of MBOSCUDA, the community based organization facilitating the emergence of this approach.

  • hindering

Absence of collaboration between the main local actors (farmers and pastoralists) will greatly hinder the smooth functioning of dialogue platforms.

legal framework (land tenure, land and water use rights)
  • enabling

This approach has yet to get formal backing from the state. This formal backing can come from recognising it in pastoral code.

  • hindering

To much reliance on animal health care to the detriment of rangelands science and governance in government policy. This predates independence and continues even up to recent times were efforts have been oriented towards the reinforcement of veterinary infrastructure with little concern on facilitating the emergence of structures at the local level for negotiating multiple and complementary uses of resources.

land governance (decision-making, implementation and enforcement)
  • enabling

This decentralization of decision making, implementation and enforcement actually creates an enabling atmosphere for the emergence of community dialogue platforms.
Also, the land tenure system of the country is under review and it is hoped that the draft provisions creating and recognizing dialogue platforms will be maintained.

knowledge about SLM, access to technical support
  • enabling

The presence of paralegals and 'community resource volunteers' from MBOSCUDA, a local community based organization, facilitates the emergence of dialogue platforms. They provide support in terms of training and backstopping and also do monitoring and evaluation.

markets (to purchase inputs, sell products) and prices
  • enabling

n.a. since this is an institutional measure.

  • hindering

n.a. since this is an institutional measure.

workload, availability of manpower
  • hindering

The DP members render their services pro bono. This calls for extra effort and sacrifice on their part to do this. They can be hindered in offering these services if they also have their own own private and personal matters to attend to such as working in their own fields to tend their crops or animals.

3. Participation and roles of stakeholders involved

3.1 Stakeholders involved in the Approach and their roles

  • local land users/ local communities

Rangeland users: pastoralists and farmers.

Pastoralists and farmers drawn from the communities because of their integrity constitute members of dialogue platforms. They look in to conflicts presented to them by the locals to mediate and find low stake solutions to them.

  • community-based organizations

Mbororo Social, Cultural and Development Association (MBOSCUDA).

Facilitated the emergence of this approach by organising and sponsoring capacity builiding workshops for DP members through their consultants and also parelegals and community resource volunteers who do close follow up of the functioning of DPs.

  • SLM specialists/ agricultural advisers

Consultants .

Consultants were brought in to train DP members on conflict management, leadership skills and group dynamics.

  • researchers


Compiling and documentation of practice.

  • national government (planners, decision-makers)

Cameroon government.

Called upon to recognize/formalize this low stake conflict mediation/resolution approach.

  • international organization

SNV Netherlands Development Organisation.
Village Aid - a UK based charity.
Comic Relief - UK based charity.
Department of International Development (DFID) UK.

Provision of funding for programme activities.

3.2 Involvement of local land users/ local communities in the different phases of the Approach
Involvement of local land users/ local communities Specify who was involved and describe activities
initiation/ motivation interactive Because of the endemic conflicts over resource use and access in the community, the locals saw the setting up of DP as a felt need. So local people together with MBOSCUDA operatives jointly analyzed the situation and came up with the need to create DPs as a low stake solution to resolving farmer-pastoralists conflicts without the involvement administrative, judiciary and law enforcement officials who were seen to instead be inefficient and corrupt resolving the conflicts.
planning interactive Joint planning sessions between locals and MBOSCUDA operatives were held to map out activities. Locals then designated members from their communities to serve as DPs and these members were suppose to be of high standing in the communities.
implementation interactive Activities are implemented by DP members with support from MBOSCUDA operatives (paralegals and Community Resource Volunteers).
monitoring/ evaluation external support For now the monitoring/evaluation of DPs is done by Community Resource Volunteers supported by MBOSCUDA with a fuel allowance to go round and backstop the functioning of DPs.

3.3 Flow chart (if available)


During a village or quarter assembly convened by traditional authorities and facilitated by MBOSCUDA operatives, the conflicting relationship between farmers and pastoralists is discussed and participants take a firm commitment to work towards improving it. The idea of dialogue platform as a low stake measure in mitigating and resolving resource access/use is presented and community support and recognition is solicited. Community members are then called upon to designate members (between 12- 14 in number, and with at least 2 to 3 women and youths) to make up DP for the village/quarter. The DP members are then incapacitated to carry out their duties through short courses in conflict management and leadership skills, group dynamics and existing legal framework on land tenure. They go ahead to carry out their duties which are then monitored by MBOSCUDA operatives. The improved dialogue in the community especially between farmers and pastoralists then fosters the forming of farming alliances between the two groups


Blasius Azuhnwi

3.4 Decision-making on the selection of SLM Technology/ Technologies

Specify who decided on the selection of the Technology/ Technologies to be implemented:
  • land users alone (self-initiative)

The land users (farmers and pastoralists) spontaneously decide to form alliances among themselves based on their affinities, location etc

4. Technical support, capacity building, and knowledge management

4.1 Capacity building/ training

Was training provided to land users/ other stakeholders?


Specify who was trained:
  • land users
  • field staff/ advisers
If relevant, specify gender, age, status, ethnicity, etc.

Dialogue Platform members of both sexes who are generally adults of high and proven standing drawn from the community.

Form of training:
  • on-the-job
  • courses
Subjects covered:

- Conflict Management.
- Mediation Skills.
- Leadership Skills
- Group Dynamics.
- Existing legal framework.


The capacity of field staff and advisers who basically are the paralegals and community resource volunteers were beefed up with these trainings as well.

4.2 Advisory service

Do land users have access to an advisory service?


Specify whether advisory service is provided:
  • on land users' fields
  • at permanent centres
Describe/ comments:

Follow up by MBOSCUDA operatives into the farmers' fields to see the effectiveness of conflict resolution outcomes done by DPs.

4.3 Institution strengthening (organizational development)

Have institutions been established or strengthened through the Approach?
  • yes, greatly
Specify the level(s) at which institutions have been strengthened or established:
  • local
Describe institution, roles and responsibilities, members, etc.

The Dialogue Platform members capacities have been built on resolving conflicts.
MBOSCUDA's (Mbororo Social and Cultural Development Association) capacity has been built to function as a better community grassroot support organisation.

Specify type of support:
  • capacity building/ training
Give further details:

These refresher courses gave participants the opportunity to share best practices and identify key weaknesses in mediating farmer-herder conflicts.

4.4 Monitoring and evaluation

Is monitoring and evaluation part of the Approach?



A conflict database to ensure effective monitoring of the outcomes of the project and capture trends of conflicts in the Region has been put in place and runned by MBOSCUDA.

If yes, is this documentation intended to be used for monitoring and evaluation?



This database is updated on a trimester basis with information which DP members give paralegals and community resource volunteers. They intend collate and pass it on to Regional Agro-pastoral Officer at the MBOSCUDA's (Mbororo Social and Cultural Development Association) regional office in Bamenda where the data base is hosted.

4.5 Research

Was research part of the Approach?


5. Financing and external material support

5.1 Annual budget for the SLM component of the Approach

If precise annual budget is not known, indicate range:
  • 10,000-100,000
Comments (e.g. main sources of funding/ major donors):

This has been mainly from international charities and donors such as:
mainly Big Lottery Fund through Village Aid but also other UK charities e.g. United Purpose; Front line Defenders; Comic Relief; Guernsey Overseas Aid Commission; Charles Heywood Foundation and Evan Cornish Foundation but also individuals e.g. Veronica Wigley and Oliver Maxwell Sawyer of the UK

5.2 Financial/ material support provided to land users

Did land users receive financial/ material support for implementing the Technology/ Technologies?


If yes, specify type(s) of support, conditions, and provider(s):

This was mostly in terms of stationery (files, rim of papers, pen and papers) for the functioning of DPs provided by MBOSCUDA (Mbororo Social and Cultural Development Association). This stationery is mostly used in documenting the proceedings and outcome of DPs mediation efforts.

5.3 Subsidies for specific inputs (including labour)

  • equipment
Specify which inputs were subsidised To which extent Specify subsidies
tools fully financed Didactic material (files, rim of papers, pen and papers)
If labour by land users was a substantial input, was it:
  • voluntary

The services of DP members is on pro bono basis. .

5.4 Credit

Was credit provided under the Approach for SLM activities?


5.5 Other incentives or instruments

Were other incentives or instruments used to promote implementation of SLM Technologies?


6. Impact analysis and concluding statements

6.1 Impacts of the Approach

Did the Approach empower local land users, improve stakeholder participation?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

This approach has greatly empowered local land users who increasingly do not have to turn to third parties (traditional authorities, administrative and judicial authorities or law and enforcement officers) to adjudicate in land use conflicts but seek recourse in Dialogue Platforms.

Did the Approach enable evidence-based decision-making?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

Decisions are being made at the local level by Dialogue Platform members who are in tune with the local realities

Did the Approach help land users to implement and maintain SLM Technologies?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

An interesting and beneficial outcome of DPs has been the emergence of stronger integrated farming systems strengthening synergies between crop farmers and pastoralists known locally as Alliance Farming which is win-win for both crop farmers and pastoralists.


Did the Approach improve knowledge and capacities of land users to implement SLM?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

From the farming alliances that have developed as an outcome of the implementation of this approach, community members are engaging in more sustainable ways of growing crops as farmers make use of dung and urine from cattle and don't have to rely only on chemical fertilizers.

Did the Approach improve knowledge and capacities of other stakeholders?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

Capacities were considerably improved through the courses and the various stakeholders received and the conflicts that the DPs in practice improved considerably their capacities

Did the Approach build/ strengthen institutions, collaboration between stakeholders?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

Conflicts between land users have decreased in numbers, frequency and intensity as community members have come to see the need for mutual co-existence of two farming or land use systems (crop farming and livestock production).

Did the Approach mitigate conflicts?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

Conflicts have decreased considerably in project communities

Did the Approach empower socially and economically disadvantaged groups?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

The Mbororos who are the cattle rearers have come to gain in confidence and overcome the low self esteem they had of themselves and also the poor perception other communities had of them.

Did the Approach improve gender equality and empower women and girls?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

For inclusiveness, it is statutory that at least 3 members of the Dialogue Platform are women. This is particular important in Mbororo communities where women face a double marginalization - for being women and for living in predominantly patriarchal societies and also for being pastoralists who still live on the fringes of society.

Did the Approach encourage young people/ the next generation of land users to engage in SLM?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

For inclusiveness, youths are statutory members of dialogue platforms

Did the Approach improve issues of land tenure/ user rights that hindered implementation of SLM Technologies?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

Pastoralists rights have been strengthened by this approach. The rights they have over the rangelands they inhabit and use for their livelihood were mostly usufruct rights but farmers increasingly through this approach and its related technology - the Alliance Farming, acknowledge other rights (such as right of management) pastoralists have over the rangelands they inhabit. They are no longer looked upon as 'strangers' by farming neighbours because of their late settlement in the North West Region of the country.

Did the Approach lead to improved food security/ improved nutrition?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

With the improved social climate between pastoralists and farmers, more time can be devoted to agriculture


Did the Approach lead to improved access to water and sanitation?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

The improved social climate has led to community members jointly engaging in projects such as catchment area protection for water supplies

Did the Approach lead to more sustainable use/ sources of energy?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

Biogas use by community members has increased as some of dung is used as digesta for the biogas plants which generate energy for domestic use.

Did the Approach lead to employment, income opportunities?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

Community members because of the reduced conflicts have time to gainfully engage themselves in their farm enterprises diversify their livelihood options as well such as engaging in other business activities.

6.2 Main motivation of land users to implement SLM

  • increased production

Stronger integrated farming systems strengthening synergies between crop farming and pastoralism.

  • conflict mitigation

Resolving conflicts which were preventing harmonious co-existence between the two land use forms, the farmers and pastoralists

6.3 Sustainability of Approach activities

Can the land users sustain what has been implemented through the Approach (without external support)?
  • yes
If yes, describe how:

A present trend observed is where farmers and pastoralists go ahead to resolve conflicts among themselves even without the intervention of DPs indicating that approach is sustainable.

6.4 Strengths/ advantages of the Approach

Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the land user’s view
It has opened up dialogue between farming and pastoral communities who for the most part were always at daggers drawn. This has improved social cohesion between the two as seen in the emergence of mutual beneficial farming alliances between farmers and pastoralists.
In cases of compensation for crop damage or injury/death of animals, this is handed to the victim and not to administrative or judiciary authorities as is the case with the Agro-Pastoral Commissions, the statutory institution that arbitrates conflicts between farmers and pastoralists.
It has allowed them possibility of avoiding uncertainty, time, cost and stress in going through the Agro-Pastoral Commissions or the courts.
Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view
Low stake conflict prevention/ resolution mechanism compared to present one involving the intervention of administrative, judiciary or law enforcement officials which has proved to be ineffective and fraught with corruption. It is workable, affordable and adaptable to local realities.
It has created an enabling environment for the emergence of mutually beneficial farming relationships and considerably reduced the hostility between the two major land users - pastoralists and farmers.
Quite informal, voluntary and flexible

6.5 Weaknesses/ disadvantages of the Approach and ways of overcoming them

Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the land user’s view How can they be overcome?
DP members will want some form of compensation for their time and effort. Putting in place a local mechanism to help compensate DP members for their time and effort.
Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view How can they be overcome?
Not yet recognized by law and so decisions taken by DPs are not legally binding. Recognition and or formalization will go a long way to make them legally binding.

7. References and links

7.1 Methods/ sources of information

  • field visits, field surveys

Observations during field visits.

  • interviews with land users

Collected the views of about 30 different farmers and pastoralists during field visits to DP sites in focus group interviews.

  • interviews with SLM specialists/ experts

Conducted interviews with 4 SRM specialists at MBOSCUDA on 5 different occasions.

  • compilation from reports and other existing documentation

7.2 References to available publications

Title, author, year, ISBN:

Breakthrough (A publication of MBOSCUDA vols 1,2,3 and 4

Available from where? Costs?

Free from MBOSCUDA office

Title, author, year, ISBN:

Making Rangelands More Secure in Cameroon, ILC Rangelands Series, Issue Paper 8, by Blasius Azuhnwi

Available from where? Costs?

Free from ILC Rome

Title, author, year, ISBN:

Mid Term Evaluation Report of 'In Search of Common Ground' for Farmer-Grazer Conflicts in the North West Region of Cameroon. August 2016 by Nchinda Valentine, Che Marcellus, Tata Precillia Ijang, Shidiki Abubakar & Chi Napoleon

Available from where? Costs?

Free from MBOSCUDA

7.3 Links to relevant information which is available online

Title/ description:

Website of Mbororo Social and Cultural Development Association (MBOSCUDA)


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