E-Newsletter Media Centre

2700 Trees Planted at Bwitingi Water Catchment to Improve Water Table

Ecological Balance has planted some 2700 indigenous trees seedlings including 11 native tree species like the globally threatened Entandrophragma angolensis (big leaf mahogany), Prunus africana (pygeum) and Voacanga angolensis at the Bwitingi water catchment in Buea, South West Region of Cameroon, using the innovative miyawaki method. The trees were planted in August 2021 to recharge ground water and increase the water table of the catchment, which is the lone source of drinking water to over 5000 homes in Bwitingi and other neigbouring villages. 

Planted with the help of some volunteers, the initiative was greeted with so much joy by community members, who saw it as step towards restoring the identity of the Bwitingi village.  “The name Bwitingi means half water half land. In the early 19th century, about half of our land was covered in water and everyone required the services of canoes to get access to and go out of Bwitingi village. We are losing the meaning of our name! If nothing is done to safeguard this river and it eventually dries up completely like the others, then we would have lost our trade mark. Many people prefer our water because it is colder and purer than others found at lower areas along the Mt. Cameroon gradient. I am afraid this might not be the case someday if nothing is done to protect the catcment,” said Mola Mokoto, Bwitingi village notable during a consultation meeting with the staff of Ecological Balance.

Bwintingi water catchment is the third chapter of the SUGi – Ecological Balance love story. Beside suppling water to over 5000 homes, the catchment is a veritable water source for many from other neighborhoods in Buea, as vehicles take turns daily to tap the precious liquid for different homes. The river also hosts several car washes along its course.

The planting of the 2700 trees at the water catchment, is the fruit consultative talks  with local authorities that started early 2021. The rewilding exercise was made possible with funds donated by The SUGi Project through the SUGi app.

Njiafu Benardin

E-Newsletter Media Centre

Buea Women Acquire Skills on Oil Extraction from Forest Seeds

Some 12 women from Buea, South West Region of Cameroon,  last August 23 to 27, 2021 converged on the Irvingia training centre for hands-on training on the transformation of oils extracted from forest seeds into cosmetic products. This was a follow up training after that on the extraction of 100% organic oils.

The oils produced included castor oil, coconut oil, plum oil, njangsa oil, paw paw oil, carrot oil, cocoa oil. The training that was aimed at adding value in order to increase profit margins, according to participants was very timely. “Castor beans is totally useless but the oil is used traditionally for coronation of chief and to  purge  twins of  with craft. A small 100ml bottle of castor oil is sold for FCFA 2000,” said Hannah, one of the trainees.

“I have never heard of plum oil. Just imagine all the plum fruits that are thrown in Buea and neighbouring villages during their season because they get rotten. Imagine turning all of that into oil? That would be a fortune!” she noted

The various oils were then transformed into vaseline, hair oil, body lotions and medicated bathing & washing soaps.

E-Newsletter Media Centre

Eco Food Bank Project Donates to 23 IDP Families in Buea

Ecological Balance has within the framework of its Eco Food Bank Project, donated food and non-food items to some 23 IDP families in Buea. Donated September 24, 2021, each of the families from  Bambalang and Bafut in the North West Regiong, and Mautu, Muyuka centre, Banga, Muyenge, Alou and Lewoh from different divisions of the South West Region, went home with rice, cooking oil, salt, maize, maize flour, food sweeteners, and soaps (bathing and washing).


Though this number of families were reached, the Executive Director of Ecological Balance, Ms. Limbi blessing, holds that it is just a small section of the number of IDP families in dire need of humanitarian assistance in Buea. “We budgeted for 20 families but finally reached out to 23.  About 72 hours to our donation event, I received over 200 calls. We had planned to donate food to a total of 50 families this year but I have about 180 more families waiting. There still much to be done,” she said.


The Anglophone crisis in the North West and South West regions of Cameroon started in November 2016 and since then, many have fled their homes to neighboring towns to seek refuge from ever increasing insecurity and violence.  UNHCR records (March 2019) indicate that as of October 2018, an estimated there 437,000 had been internally displaced by the crisis; 246,000 of them in the Southwest Region, 105,000 in the Northwest Region, and 86,000 in the Littoral & West Regions and 35,000 in Nigeria. Over 15,780 more were reportedly newly displaced in the NW/SW in June 2020 and the figures keep increasing. The crisis has been widely reported by Aljezeera, Deustche Welle, Human Rights Watch and was second on the list of the world’s most neglected crisis (Norwegian Refugee Council, May 2021).

The victims now called internally displaced persons or IDPs, a majority of whom are women and children have lost their houses (many villages were completely burnt down), source of livelihoods and are in dire need of  food and shelter. Njou Loveline for instance now resides in Bomaka-Buea haven fled from Munyenge a village in Muyuka, South West Region together with her mother and siblings. “Here in Buea, we face a lot of challenges especially with food. We barely eat once a day and it’s in the evening and most often its either rice or garri”, she lamented.

According to Cecilia Efuah, another IDP, the challenges are too many. “Buea is very cold yet we sleep on mats on the floor. We cannot afford food and drugs talk less of sending our children to school. Presently, my children are sick and I think it is due to bad nutrition, we have been drinking garri for too long,” she explained, with tears oozing from her eyes.

It is even more challenging to single parents. I am not a lazy parent. I had farms in Mautu that I worked and fed my children without any stress. Now, I am unable to give them even garri or rice; the suffering is at another level,” said Kudi Pepetua, and IDP single mother.

According to the Food and Agricultural Organization access to adequate food or means for its procurement is a fundamental human right. In their words, ‘every human being, every citizen of an ordinary country, has the right to food necessary to his/her survival. Every woman, man and child, alone or in community with others must at all times have physical and economic access to adequate food’. This is only a mirage for many families of the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon.

The Eco Food Bank was set up as a forest garden demonstration farm with aim to train farmers in Buea, SW Cameroon on climate-smart agriculture. In response to need, it is now also a living food bank.

Agborkang Godfred

E-Newsletter Media Centre

Ecological Balance trains IDP Seamstresses on Reusable Pads Production

Ecological Balance has within the framework of her sustainable menstruation project, trained some 3 internally displaced seamstresses in Buea, South West Region of Cameroon on how to produce comfortable and affordable cloth pads. The training, which took place from August 17 to 20, 2021, was carried out to ensure continuous supply of pads that are good for the body & the earth for posterity.

With at least 6 million women and girls in Cameroon of menstruation age, with about 30,000 tons of menstrual waste are generated from disposable pads annually, according to the National Institute of Statistics, the organization of this training came just at an opportune moment. The 4-module intensive training took the women, who had not seen cloth pads before, through hands-on lessons on pad paper patterns, production of pads with adhesives, hand stitching of cloth pads and machine sewing.

The workshop facilitator, Miss Rose Malley Ekema, stressed on the type of materials that are suitable for cloth pad production. “The material on one end should be saying welcome and come in! The one inside should be saying welcome and stay here, and the one on the other end, should say no trespassing here, stay back,” she expounded. A wide range of materials were experimented on their  ability to; welcome and let in menstrual blood, absorb menstrual blood  and stop blood from passing through respectively.

There were also discussions around the choice of colors. “Menstruation is already very stressful. Please let’s give it some optimism by using bright and beautiful colors,” the trainer underscored. The project Coordinator, Ms. Hendretta Konjieh, took out time to explain that the prices of materials to be used should be carefully considered as it would not be sustainable if cloth pads are too expensive.


Period poverty is an overwhelming reality in Sub-saharan Africa. And many girls simply stay away from all human gatherings including schools during menstruation. It should be recalled that in 2019/2020, the project produced and donated over 150 cloth pads to girls and women in Buea. The feedback of which prompted the project team to organize a crowd funding campaign (–please-help-) targeted at raising $3000 to provide puberty literacy, menstruation education and  reusable cloth pads to over 500 young girls in rural Cameroon.

The team also joins their voices to that of thousands of women all over the world to say that sex is a choice but menstruation is not. Hence, basic menstrual hygiene materials and services should be subsidized instead of condoms.

By Limbi Blessing

E-Newsletter Media Centre

Irvingia Project, Boosting Small Businesses in Buea

Mrs. Anyi Ruth Nsai and Mrs. Nyaba Patience Ikoh  of Bomaka-Buea, South West Region of Cameroon have emerged winners of the maiden edition of Ecological Balance’s Irvingia Business Boost programme, with each bagging home the sum of FCFA 100,000 to boost their businesses.  The duo, who were amongst 56 others trained by the irvingia project in 2020 were recognised Sunday August 28, 2021 in Bomaka-Buea during an event that brought together past trainees, friends and well-wishers of Ecological Balance.

Pioneer beneficiary of Irvingia Business Boost programme

These maiden winners of Irvingia Business Boost, were rewarded for their steadfastness in translating the knowledge gained during their training into a practical reality. “Today, we celebrate these extraordinary entrepreneurs not because they participated in our trainings but because they set up businesses after training and remained steadfast. The aim of this is to enable them to produce more, and our hope is that the businesses should grow to employ many people,” Ms. Limbi Blessing, Executive Director of Ecological Balance expounded.

Unlike many other trainees, Mrs. Nsai Ruth had set up the Olive’s Millinery for head fascinators and other accessories from raphia fibre and Ankara, while Mrs. Nyaba settled on Pathen Berger, an energy drink business, shortly after participating the Irvingia Project training programme in 2020.  Both of them could not hide their feelings as a pioneer beneficiaries of the Irvingia Business Boost Programme. “Eco Balance, you have really surprised me today. I was not expecting such a day nor this massive support. I am thankful to Madam Limbi and the entire Team of Ecobalance. This money will go a long way to enable me get established and increase productivity,’’ Mrs. Nsai said.

Mrs. Nyaba Patience on the other hand was simply speechless for a while before remarking: “I don’t know how I can express my heart for this gesture. It has not been easy going alone after acquiring these skills. Today, Ecological Balance has shown me sunlight. Thank you for the support. It will really go a long way to boost productivity.’’ Mr. Nyaba (husband to Mrs. Nyaba Patience) could not also hide his feelings. I am really happy for today. I used to pity my wife on how restless she became after the training. She sits for up to 4 hours to produce just one thing at a time. I also believe this will encourage her to go for a larger production. This organization is really doing a great job,” he stated.  

At the end of the event several community members came to the Ecological Balance expressing their desire to get trained. “I wish to be trained by Ecobalance. I had desired the most recent training but some emergency restricted me.  Pleases let me know when next you have training,’’ Cecile of Bomaka requested.  

Madam Esther of Bomaka also made a similar request. “I have really realized how needful it is for me to obtain your future trainings.  Please remind me about upcoming trainings. I want to learn fascinators. I love the ones I just saw,” she said.

The first fruits of the Irvingia Project harvested with much gratitude to The Pollination Project, The Leopold Bachmann Foundation and Kanthari Switzerland Foundation

Abang Louis

E-Newsletter Media Centre

Destruction of Bulu Water Catchment Trees, Height of Ignorance?

Forests serve as homes to biodiversity species, improve air, and suck carbon from the atmosphere amongst others. However, growing urban forests can be quite challenging especially when people are blind to the magic forest (trees) play in the environment.   

Measure put in place fight against deforestation


Statistics show that Cameroon losses an estimated 30ha of natural forests every hour. This is mainly due to timber & fuel wood harvesting and the search for arable land (for urbanization, agriculture etc). In a bid to counter this high rates of deforestation and in mitigating an over 2decade long water crisis, Ecological Balance in 2019, took a commitment to reforest 5main water catchments in Buea, South West Cameroon.

In March 2020, the Bulu water catchment forest (forest number 2 out of 5) was planted, with a survival rate of over 88%.  In March 2021, the community celebrated the first anniversary of the catchment only to discover 3 months after that most thriving trees of the forest were chopped down by some unknown individual. This was a great shock to the community, Chief Mafany of Kombo village (one of the villages getting water from the catchment) promised severe punishment for anyone who will be identified as the perpetrator.  The traditional ruler immediately put up a ‘no trespassing’ sign post and opened investigations to track down those who destroyed the trees and bring them to justice.

The ruthless destruction of trees at the water catchment, points to a missing clue of the link between trees and water conservation. A senior citizen, who lives adjacent to the catchment attributed the act of cutting trees around the water site to a fall and lack of respect of cultural taboos and traditional laws that hitherto regulated deforestation in that area. After nursing and transplanting tree seedlings to increase recharge and solve the problem of water crisis in this community, it was disheartening to lose “the giants of the forest” to some ignorant humans.


Difficult Path Treaded to Protect Water Catchment

The challenges were enormous from the very beginning; at planting, we could not find high quality tree seedlings and mulch on time. In strict compliance with the miyawaki protocol, we had to get native trees and organic mulch. These were only gotten after some weeks of scouting. One month after planting, the dried grass that was used as mulch had germinated to become weed, hence deweeding commenced. Again, a portion of the catchment area had been persistently replanted at least 6 times yet the survival rate in that portion was less than 60% notwithstanding.

Putting together the lessons learnt from four forests grown by Ecological Balance so far, ignorance remains the single biggest challenge in urban reforestation.  Simply put, growing forests without the awareness of all, both adjacent community and other users is almost a waste of time and resources. Ignorance is expensive and might cost us our world.

Njiafu Benardin

E-Newsletter Media Centre

Forest Gardens Establishment; Prospects, Steps Involved.

Forests are one of the most stable ecosystems on earth. Thus, when we create edible forest gardens that mimic these systems, we get the ecological benefits of a forest with food as a bonus. Forest garden is a multi-layered integrated agricultural system that combines diverse plants and animals into one area to sustainably produce a variety of products and environmental services. A simple forest garden contains three layers; trees, shrubs and ground plants and anyone can have a small forest garden at their backyard because forest gardens are more about the principles than the size.

One may ask; why should I create a forest garden? Forest gardens are some of the most self-sustaining abundant ecosystems one can create. They have a host of benefits for both the environment and human beings. Forest gardens are an important source of diverse and nutritious food, especially for poor rural families and thus, are important contributors to food security and livelihoods of farming communities. It provides a safety net for households when food is served. The plant diversity in forest gardens, helps to enrich the local biological diversity.

Steps involved

In designing a forest garden, you have to choose the general layout, plan on the infrastructure like water accessibilities and structures. Water planning comes first, because without water, the forest garden will not thrive. Suitable places for water tank, irrigation lines or other natural water capturing elements.  The Ecological Balance food bank in Mutengene has a nearby river which helps for irrigation especially during the dry season.

After designing the water system, roads or paths are taken into consideration. This is to direct movement in and around the forest garden now and in the future. For structures, fencing is required to protect certain zones of the forest garden from animals. For example, nitrogen fixing trees or the so-called fertilizer trees have been used as life fences for the Mutengene 1 Eco Balance food bank. Other structures like creating seating areas for relaxation or structures for storing tools are necessary.

Third step is to make a master list of plants. Once the infrastructure are in place on the site map, it is time to choose plants for the forest garden; plants that provide edible harvest like nuts, fruits, vegetables, legumes, climbers, plants with deep roots, ground covers, supporter plants etc. Plants like plantains, cassava, cocoyam’s, Njangsa, bush mango, monodora, Okongobong were chosen for the food bank.

The fourth step is to create patch designs. Patch designs defines the planting areas and planting spacing in the forest garden. At our forest gardens for instance, trees (njangsa (Ricinodendron heudelotii), bush mango (Irvingia spp), Monodora myristica ) were planted at a distance of 10 meters apart from each other; plantains planted at a distance of 2.5meters by 2.5meters, and the other crops like cocoyam’s, cassava and okongobong (climber) were planted into the spaces between the trees and the plantains.

Once the canopy trees, shrubs are in place, it is time to design the lower forest garden layers which function as to create a living mulch of ground covering plants; these discourage invasive species, maintain soil moisture and prevent compaction. Plants to consider for this layer are edible plants, nitrogen fixers and animals with anti-fungal essential oils.

Executive Director of Ecological Balance, Ms. Limbi Blessing Tata, “So far, we have established 3forest gardens. One in Bokwangwo and 2 in Mutengene; one on the Southward side towards Limbe and the other on the East wing towards Tiko. The plan is  to establish a series of standard forest gardens with both timber and non-timber forest trees in combination that maximize beneficial interactions to serve as demonstration farms for training many farmers on forest gardening and plant propagation technics”

Forest gardens are designed following the natural patterns of plants and site throughout the year, taking into account important factors such as; soil and climatic conditions, production timing of selected plants and including the movement of wind, water and sun light across the site.

Agborkang Godfred