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Better World Cameroon: Social permaculture

6 February 2023 | Member Stories

Better World Cameroon

Better World Cameroon equips youth and women leaders with social permaculture skills. Its mission is to build sustainable community ecovillages, drawing from indigenous knowledge to promote organic agriculture practices and principles of fair trade.

The organisation works in the the northwest and western regions of Cameroon, where deforestation, land grabbing and conflict over scarce food and water have displaced hundreds of thousands of people. It promotes innovative volunteerism and youth exchange through training and capacity building programmes in Bafut Ecovillage and Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) Africa.

Sustainable Development Goals targeted

SDG 2 Zero Hunger SDG 4 Quality Education SDG 6 Clean water and sanitation SDG 8 Decent work and economic growth SDG 13 Climate action SDG 17 Partnerships for the goals

Reconnecting youth to land and culture

Born in the Bafut Kingdom in northwestern Cameroon, Joshua KonkankohI who founded Better World Cameroon was initiated through a rite of passage ceremony at the age of 13 and charged with the responsibility of initiating other youth leaders. “As custodian of the Bafut culture,” he says, “I decided after my university education to dedicate my life to reconnecting youth to the land and their culture.”

Now living in Portugal Joshua says he wants to share the learning gained in Cameroon with youth in the rest of the world. “Now that I am living in exile in Europe I feel called to bring my African wisdom of non-formal education and regenerative agriculture developed in the Bafut Ecovillage to the benefit of the sustainability movement and youth activists for decolonising mindsets in the Western World.”

Joshua is also working with the Pachamama Alliance as Advisor on their African projects, raising climate adaptation and regeneration awareness and using systems thinking to improve connections and learn from the indigenous evolution demonstrated by natural systems.

Social entrepreneurs are known for finding solutions for society’s problems. What is the problem that you are addressing and what is your solution?

Hundreds of thousands have been displaced because of conflict over scarce resources in Northern Cameroon. Our solution is social permaculture for refugees. Since we started training youth and women leaders in 1996, we have worked with more than 200 youth and women leaders through our Bioregional Ecovillage Design Courses, African Permaculture Training and Erasmus+ Youth Exchange Training.

We have trained youth entrepreneurs who have won international awards and young changemakers from the Better World Cameroon capacity-building hub are the managers of GEN Africa and NextGEN Africa, our networks of ecovillages. Presently we are also working with Farming Communities in Montemor-O-Novo Municipality in Evora-Portugal through our African Way South-North Partnership.

In Cameroon we work with the Yaounde City Council, Bafut Council, the Commonwealth Department of the Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Internationally we work with the Global Ecovillage Network, Gaia Education, the UNFCCC, International Permaculture Convergence, UNDP Green Commodities Community, the Pachamama Alliance, CoFSA, and Catalyst 2030.

What do you see as the benefit of your Catalyst 2030 membership?

Potential Partnerships. Our objective in Better World is to bridge the crisis of relationships in South-North Partnerships with love, pacifism and reconciliation. Our challenge is in setting up a detailed project document to make our vision concrete and sharpening the cross-culture needs that will drive climate diplomacy and advocacy.

Are you collaborating with any other Catalyst 2030 members?

Yes and this is also a call to other Catalyst members to develop the next generation of inclusive change leaders who can develop innovative solutions to the complex crisis and uncertainty.

Better World Cameroon would like to link compassionate support from other Catalyst partners who wish to codesign the African Peace Village to fulfil the critical role of South-North Partnerships to spur economic growth and sustainability.

If so, can you tell me about some of the collaborations that you are most excited about?

We are most excited about collaborations around climate justice, regenerative agriculture, food security, food consciousness, biodiversity, social entrepreneurship and digital technology.

Is there any other information you would like to share?

We have set up an innovative hybrid space in Europe an African way of seeing the world for people who want to co-create with us and a virtual training platform inviting people to live our journey with us.

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