Staff of Cameroonian civil society organisations (CSOs), involved in Independent Monitoring (IM) activities were trained from 6-10 August 2018 to carry out IM activities in compliance with the Standardised External Independent Monitoring System (SNOIE), processes and procedures. This workshop was organised as part of the ‘Citizen Voices for Change: Congo Basin Forest Monitoring’ Project (CV4C) implemented thanks to the financial support of the European Union and project partners. At the end of the five-day workshop, participants expressed their appreciation as well as sharing lessons that were learned.
Pascal NLEND, SUHE
“The training we received on the SNOIE system has been very supportive for our locally based organisation, which is directly involved in triggering IM missions. All the documentation and lessons learned during this training will enable our organisation to improve our data collection and processing methods of alleged cases of illegal logging that we find in the national forest domain and in assigned titles.”
Chrétien BELIBI, ECODEV
“I found the training of Civil Society Organisations involved in the SNOIE System organised by FODER to be timely. I learned a lot indeed, especially with regards to ISO 9001 Quality Management System in which SNOIE is endorsed. I have also familiarised myself with various documents required for data collection in the field during an external IM mission and the importance of archiving in IM. This training was also an opportunity to learn about the types of illegal activities that can be observed in the field; the approaches and limitations of external IM activities carried out by civil society, so as not to interfere with the work of judicial police officers and members of the forestry administration. As a result, we have been advised to present illegal activities in the form of allegations, with constant use of the conditional in the fact-analysis approach. We can only congratulate FODER for this initiative, the product of which already allows us to foresee a greater improvement in our field interventions in monitoring illegal logging activities in the Mbam-et-Kim locality which is within our area of intervention.”
Khinjem Awah Epse Tiomwin – FCTV
“The initiative taken by FODER to bring together several CSOs to empower them on the application of SNOIE has to be saluted. About three years back very few CSOs had mastered the use of SNOIE in conducting IM. The implication of CSOs who are in very regular and close contact with forest exploiters and the local communities is going to lead to the building of trust and confidence in their capacity in conducting Independent Forest Monitoring in their respective zones of intervention. My wish is that in future there are more of these trainings so as to give opportunity to CSOs in all the forest sectors in Cameroon to have a taste of this very tasteful cake – SNOIE. I have been delighted by the concern of FODER to ensure that the application of SNOIE is improved over to ensure the improvement in the quality of field activities and the reports produced by OSCs involved in IM. On a general note, I have learned quite a lot in the course of this training. All the modules proposed to participants were very necessary. I have now gained knowledge in the following areas: mastery of the processes, procedures and tools of SNOIE, preparation, organisation and implementation of an IM field trip, a notion of judiciary procedures, filing and retrieval of SNOIE documents, writing an IM report and data collection, processing and digital mapping.”
Diane BALA, ECODEV
“The training of CSOs on SNOIE has been very rewarding. I learned a lot about analysis of legal issues related to an external IM mission, the characterisation of facts as an observer without, however, substituting for a Judicial Police Officer with special competence who is in charge of forest control. This training also allowed me to gain a good understanding of the methods and tools developed by SNOIE, for quality assurance of our IM reports. At the end of this training, and on the basis of the learned SNOIE procedures, SNOIE is a well thought through system, especially as it sets out everyone’s roles and responsibilities. Furthermore, it allows specialisation of individual members, resulting to increased efficiency. In addition, I appreciate the fact that the system is not static, but encourages continuous improvement. This implies that like all human works, it recognises that there may be imperfections that require improvement over time.”
Elias DJOH, Ca.BU.Ro
“The SNOIE training has allowed Ca.Bu.Ro to develop skills and capabilities to carry out an IM mission. This training really came to reinforce our abilities in the amateurism that resulted to many conflicts. Today, we have tools and a rigorous method to make a complaint without the risk of being suspected or heard by anyone. It only remains for us to seek and find the ways to obtain the necessary equipment and means to engage in SNOIE in order to protect the interests of local communities, which is our first key objective.”
Interviewed by Christelle KOUETCHA.