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Community Youths Engage in Fruit Trees Marcotting for Income Maximization

After a 2-month training on vegetative tree propagation, crop seed multiplication, acclimatization and out planting amongst others, some four community youths within the Buea Municipality have begun marcotting tropical fruit trees.

The training, which took place from April to June 2020, organized by Ecological Balance within the framework of the Irvingia project sought to maximize farmers’ income and render them resilient to fluctuating market prices. To speed up the realization of the project goal, the four agile youths who are already gainfully putting the skills acquired into practice, are expected within the next two months, to train at least 25 more farmers on various techniques and processes in forest gardening.

Forest gardening, which involves integrating trees and animals into already existing farms according to the Executive Director of Ecological Balance, Limbi Blessing, will optimize the use of resources within farm lands by maximizing the use of both horizontal and vertical space. “Integrating trees, crops and animals on the same piece of land is a combination that maximizes beneficial interactions and minimizes negative effects on each other to produce a variety of products (food, meat, milk, non-timber products, timber etc).  It also enhances environmental services while at the same time reducing dependence on wild sources,” she expounded. The Eco-balance boss added that through forest gardening, soil nutrients are actively being added (organic) and efficiently recycled, which makes it possible for farms to be cultivated for longer time periods thus, reducing the rate of shifting cultivation.

Funded by the Leopold Bachmann Foundation through Kanthari Switzerland Foundation, the forest gardening initiative is meant to train at least 25 rural women on the sustainable growing of non-timber forest products. It should be noted that marcotted seedlings cost three times more and bear fruits at half the time.

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Buea Ladies Confirm Cloth Pads as Better Alternative

After continuous sensitization of young girls and women via workshops and during the World Environment Day on cloth pads and its advantages to health, finance, moral and even the environment at large, some ladies within the Buea Municipality have confirmed that cloth pad is a better alternative to be used during menstruation.



Haven had the experience of also using the cloth pads as recommended by Ecological Balance, Lambi Sonia, disclosed recently that the difference with other menstrual pads is clear.  “Cloth pad is very comfortable and economical. It doesn’t pollute the environment nor smell because there is room for moisture to evaporate. The pad is highly hygienic and requires little water for cleaning,” she added.

Corroborating Ms. Lambi, another Buea-based lady, Anita Ngalla, hinted that “truly cloth pad is environmentally friendly and healthier than single-used pads. It is cheaper especially on the long run and could be readily available if trained local tailors engage in the production”.

The sustainable menstruation project of Ecological Balance geared towards engaging young girls and women in the use of environmentally friendly pads and to take responsibility for their menstrual waste was launched in February 2020 in Buea, South West Region of Cameroon. The project is aimed at protecting the environment, salvaging young girls and women from spending much money on menstrual pads, and to demystify the shame around menstruation and revalue it because life depends on it. Besides sensitization, there is a capacity building arm of the project that  trains local seamstresses on cloth pads production, and  a social business arm that sells high quality cloth pads produced, and donates some to vulnerable young women and institutions.

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Ecobalance Staff Acquire Skills on Project Communication

Some staff of Ecological Balance have acquired skills on project communication that will assist them in giving visibility to the Organization and effectively communicating with partners and project stakeholders. This was during a 2-month training in Buea organized with the technical support of Voice of Nature.

According to the Executive Director of Ecological Balance, Ms. Limbi Blessing Tata, the organization of the training came from the understanding of the importance of communication in maintaining a cordial relationship with partners, and expanding the network of the Organization.

Haven gained fresh knowledge on impact reporting, information gathering & project article writing and basics on project photo taking, participants left the training determined to make a difference. “I have greatly improved on article writing, impact reporting and other aspects of project communication. This new knowledge will help me better communicate on any project I am attached to within the organization,” Njiafu Bernadine, one of the staff said.

Another staff, Hendreta Konjieh, expressed gratitude to Ecological Balance for “the opportunity given to us to acquire knowledge and the basic skills in article writing, photography and impact reporting. I now know how to gather information on the impact of the Organization, and how to produce a good impact article”.

It is thus, expected that each of the staff will use the skills gathered to contribute to the Organization’s mission of empowering local communities to independently undertake actions that ensure long term sustainability of their adjacent ecosystems.

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Over 88% of Trees Planted at Bulu Water Catchment Using Miyawaki Method Survive!

The efforts of Ecological Balance to clean recharge and conserve underground water of the Bulu water catchment in Buea is yielding success. Out of the 3000 tree seedlings and cuttings planted in March 2020, 2700 of them are growing well giving a survival rate of over 88%.

This statistics is generated from monthly data collected during monitoring field visits to the site under the auspices of Head of the Reforestation Unit of Ecological Balance, Njiafu Benardin. While collecting the monthly data, the monitoring team noted visible signs of clean recharge. “We have seen all types of crabs. This is an indicator of a clean fresh water ecosystem,” Mr. Njiafu opine.

Few months after the tree planting exercise, community members are already witnessing a mark difference.  “Since  the trees were planted, I have noted that the catchment has remained ‘unusually’ clean” Chief Mafani John, traditional ruler of Kombo village attests. He added that “I have not seen any project that planted and maintained trees. Most of the trees are surviving and the environment is gradually becoming green. This initiative should be replicated all over Buea. I have taken upon myself to educate my fellow chiefs on this project”.

Conserving the Bulu water catchment, according to the Executive Director of Ecological Balance, Ms. Limbi Blessing Tata, is a unique contribution to saving humanity,  especially given that many neighbouring communities depend on it for drinking water.

The Bulu water catchment is the main source of portable water to the Kombo, Bolifamba and Dibanda communities of the Buea Municipality.

With funds and mentorship from the SUGi Project and Afforestt, Ecological Balance had in March 2020 planted some 12 tree species at the Bulu water catchment in Buea, South West Region of Cameroon. These trees species included; Prunus Africana (pygeum), Entandrophragma angolensis (big leaf mahogany), Dacryodes edulis (African plum), Cordia platythistera (drummer stick) , (Persia americana) avocado, Artocarpus heterophyllus (jack fruit),  Mangifera indica (mango) , Erythrina spp, Jatropha curcas, Leuceana leucocephala, Acacia angiutissimma, and Pachira aquatic (money tree).

It is hoped that these trees will also allow for the gathering of non-timber forest products (spices, fruits, honey, nuts etc), serve as habitat for biodiversity and contribute in mitigating global climate change.






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Pachira Aquatic Tree Planted at Catchment in Buea Demonstrates Strange Growth Pattern

One of the tree species, Pachira Aquatic, planted in March 2020 for the conservation of the Bulu water catchment in Buea, South West Region of Cameroon by Ecological Balance, is demonstrating a strange growth pattern. Seeds of the flora species were collected and planted at this watershed using the miyawaki technique of reforestation. Five months down the lane, an unusual increase in girth at the bottom of the stem and relatively little growth in height has been observed.

This strange growth pattern has made Cameroonian forest biodiversity conservation expert, Limbi Blessing Tata, who is also the Executive Director of Ecological Balance to cast doubt over its suitability in miyawaki forests in the equatorial type climate where conditions are hardly hostile. The Eco Balance boss also wonder if the dry season will be hostile enough for the tree to give up the food stored at the bottom of the stem.  “Nutrients are incorporated into soils of miyawaki forests, and the forests center mainly on increase in height and density. Does this mean that the pachira trees will become dwarfs?” the forest biodiversity expert ponders.

The origin of the Pachira aquatic tree species can be traced from the swamps of Central and South America and spread to other tropical forests. It is known to grow up to 23m in the wild. Indigenous knowledge points to the fact that the species stores up large amounts of food at the bottom of the stem in good conditions, hence the unusual increase in girth. It is thought to grow in height mainly in hostile conditions during which it is known to ‘give up’ its stored food.

The tree has been nicknamed “money tree” because it is believed to have the potential to bring great wealth to its owner, and the trunks are usually braided together to “lock in” luck and fortune. Though very unpopular in Cameroon, the tree is currently the most popular in Taiwan where it is believed to create “chi,” positive energy that brings luck in homes.