By Chris Mbunwe & Elvis Tah
The European Development Fund in collaboration with the Ministry of Economy Planning and Regional Development and the support Programme for Structuring of the Civil Society known by its French Acronym, PASOC, are carrying out workshops in the 10 provinces of Cameroon for stakeholders to identify genuine Civil Society organisations.
These workshops have been entrusted to an international NGO, Cabinet Interactions.
Speaking during a recent workshop in Bamenda that brought together Provincial Delegates and State agents in the Northwest, the coordinator, Levy Herve Oyono Mbarga, said the significance of the seminar is to ensure the smooth collaboration between State agents and social development partners.
According to Mbarga, after the seminars, Ministerial departments and Provincial Delegates will be able to interact with genuine civil society organisations, for as he puts it, those suite case civil society organisations will naturally disappear because they will eventually be exposed.
On her part, the Northwest delegate of the Family and Women Empowerment, Mme Judy Abong, said women can play a vital role in the restructuring of the civil society if given the resources.
To the Northwest Delegate of Social Affairs, Wisley Asanji, it is important that a code of ethics be established for all Civil Society organizations in Cameroon.At the end of the seminar, participants expressed the need to systematically follow-up the activities of civil societies in order to prevent undesirable fallouts which can be detrimental to public peace.
Civil Society Organisations To Complement Gov't
Meanwhile, in a similar workshop in Buea, recently, civil society organisations were called upon to complement government in development rather than just criticising or being at variance.
The workshop aimed at providing a better understanding of the concept and the realities of the civil society. State agents were guided on how to share their vision with actors of the civil society and their role vis-à-vis citizens.
The workshop facilitator and an official of InterActions, Levy Herve Oyono, said: "Most civil society organisations in the country take delight only in criticising the government. They should be responsible; they should be able to assist the government in achieving its development goals and to encourage a good citizenry in the public arena."
The participants at the workshop condemned the activities of what they termed suite case NGOs, which, according to them, are out to enrich themselves.They recommended that NGOs be investigated and restructured to eliminate the fake ones.
Some of the government officials pointed out that some members of common initiative groups, CIGs, constantly harassed them with their unending pecuniary demands.According to them, the government should not be their source of finance, though it can provide them with incentives.
At the end of the workshop, Herve told the press that PASOC is still at its initial phase in the structuring of CSOs in Cameroon."We are still in the process of creating awareness before getting to CSO after which we shall organise other capacity building workshops with the organisations."