The National Committee for Disarmament, Demobilisation, and Reintegration (NCDDR) will soon be 5 years old. According to its national coordinator Faï Yengo Francis (photo), one of its objectives is to completely restore peace in the country. To achieve that aim, the NCDDR wants to implement the Community Violence Reduction (CVR) approach.
From September 26 to 29, the committee organized a workshop in Yaounde, with the support of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), to describe the approach and how it could help address disarmament demobilization and reintegration challenges.
Participants in the said workshop included heads of DDR centers, representatives of sectoral ministerial departments, civil society players, and development partners. For Faï Yengo Francis, it provided an opportunity to understand the strategies, methods, and experiences of those who have already implemented the CVR approach and duplicate them in Cameroon to encourage the return of peace to crisis-affected regions.
Indeed, Cameroon is facing multiple crises linked to the threats posed by Boko Haram incursions in the Far North region, the fallout from the conflict in the neighboring Central African Republic (population displacement notably), and the violence in the North-West and South-West. Populations –in the crisis-affected regions mostly– are faced with various crimes including kidnapping, homicide, and rape. In countries suffering from conflict such as Cameroon, readjustment to life in a peaceful society is a challenge, both for ex-combatants and for the wider community. According to the UN, the CVR program is a "highly flexible tool" for rapid intervention in local conflicts, offering an alternative to violence, improving security, and creating a space for dialogue in conflict-ridden communities.
The CVR approach will enhance the disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration process by targeting elements affiliated with armed groups not eligible for this program or self-defense groups, young people at risk of being recruited by armed groups, as well as other community members, with particular attention to the participation of women. Beneficiaries from armed groups are integrated into vocational and social training courses and community project activities, in the same way as other civilian beneficiaries.
Created by presidential decree on November 30, 2018, the NCDDR’s mission is to deradicalize ex-combatants of Boko Haram and separatist armed groups and support them in their return to civilian life. Its creation reflects the Head of State's "constant readiness" to seek ways and means of "peacefully resolving" the crises affecting Cameroon, according to the release announcing its creation. The IOM is working with the NCDDR to build the capacities of the stakeholders involved, to improve the effectiveness of disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration initiatives in Cameroon.
Patricia Ngo Ngouem