RELUFA (Reseau de Lutte contre la Faim)
RELUFA is a national network of Cameroonian churches, and ecumenical and secular non-profit organizations. The twenty members come from all parts of Cameroon. Their activities range from advocating the rights of indigenous peoples (Baka and Bagyeli “pygmies”) to outreach programs for prostitutes and youth at risk; from micro-credit to advocacy against illegal logging; from sensitization on gender inequities to sustainable agriculture and fair trade; from self-help programs of the handicapped to community projects for food security and drinking water. RELUFA gained legal status in 2001.
“The network intends to promote a society of justice, in which the members participate actively to improve the general living conditions, in harmony with each other and with respect to the divine plan, which places humankind as creation’s steward”
Decision-making, planning, implementation and supervision of our programs and policies are assured by the General Assembly of member organizations, a five-member Board of Directors, the Coordination and various Task Forces.
We strategize our actions around the three main themes of just relations, economic development and food sovereignty. The latter is our emergency response program to the critical food situation in the arid North. Under economic development dealt with through our micro-finance initiative, “Credit Against Poverty,” while more systemic societal and global inequities are tackled in the programs of economic justice and gender justice.
The construction of the Chad Cameroon Oil and Pipeline Project is complete. Its socio-economic impact on the population and the contracts signed between the stakeholders on the distribution of the oil profits leave much to be desired. RELUFA follows up on unresolved compensation issues in the communities living in the vicinity of the pipeline and assists the population in rebuilding their livelihoods. The network also works with ecclesiastic leadership to sensitize the larger religious community about the negative impact of the global economy in general and of the extractive industries in particular on the Central Africa region. To curb the current trends we join national and international campaigns to advocate changes and call for more equity and transparency in this lucrative sector.
To break down gender related barriers, RELUFA capacitates Cameroonian women at the cultural, religious, juridical and economical levels. Our action plan includes studies on customary and religious practices and the misuse of Biblical and Koranic texts; sensitization campaigns on women’s rights; dissemination and amendment of the draft family code and lobbying for its passing in Parliament; and the pursuit of the notion of gender in established theological training programs.
Credit Against Poverty
Credit Against Poverty (CAP) is our micro-finance initiative to provide low-interest and generally guarantee-free loans for projects of poor communities affiliated with our member organizations. CAP’s repayment schedules are flexible and tailored to the productive cycles of the community’s activities. The program familiarizes target groups and network members on healthy micro-finance programs, teaches them bookkeeping skills, and offers close accompaniment in the field. CAP further studies and promulgates alternative savings systems and facilitates the exchange of experiences.
With the Sahara desert stretching out over the Far North Province, this part of Cameroon is permanently at the brink of famine. Through the establishment of community cereal banking systems in vulnerable villages we hope to break the cycle of exploitation by businessmen, food scarcity, soaring market prices and dependency on food distribution programs. The community granaries will allow for self-governance of food supplies by the villagers and curb the usury mechanisms that generate poverty.