NW: What inspired you to join humanitarian work?
BJ: I joined humanitarian work because the global goals inspired me by its principles that say we cannot constinue to destroy our planet, we need a shared vision in action through a coordinated action with outlined goals to tackle the social and the economic challenges faced by mankind. So through humanitarian work we are creating a “Better World”.
Humanitarian intervention is aimed at saving lives, alleviating suffering and maintaining the sacred human dignity of all.
“During or even after a crisis, whether man-made or caused by natural hazards, humanitarian aid is vital for creating a better life for all. That is why I joined this work as a humanitarian worker”.
NW: What are the Challenges you face as a humanitarian especially within the context of the armed conflict areas in the NW and SW regions of Caneroon?
BJ: The first challenge is that of insecurity within the Anglophone Regions of Cameroon. The field becomes risky for humanitarian workers and some civilians in the Northwest and the Southwest region of Cameroon making life very insecure. There are difficulties in having access to these areas. Most often, both parties fighting will always have confrontation at any moment.
Because of this, security measures are not always guaranteed to visit the affected civilians of these areas at any time.
Thus, since at times access is denied it become cumbersome for organizations to obtain information and be of help to affected civilians.
There is also Lack of sufficient funds. Financial problem is a measure draw back relating to humanitarian goals as far as the Anglophone crisis is concerned. Within the Anglophone region of Cameroon, most of the affected areas are far into remote rural areas and for humanitarian workers to reach to these areas; they need motivation, housing, feeding and security measures to be in place before any other thing. Thus, insufficient funds makes it difficult for this nongovernmental organization to carry out missions aimed at fulfilling their objectives.
There is also Difficulties in getting accurate data from the government officials and civilians.
Since the aggravation of Anglophone crisis in 2016 till date there are difficulties in collecting records of the exact number of detainees for example who are being arrested and detained in relationship to Anglophone crisis in Cameroon.
On civilian’s part, some are scared of giving detailed information especially human rights breaches. Hence making it difficult for nongovernmental organization to have access to accurate facts.
NW: What are the challenges faced because of COVID-19?
BJ: COVID-19 came at the peak of the Anglophone Crisis when IDPs and other Humanitarian Challenges were fast compounding. Maintaining humanitarian work with these challenges has not been easy.
The projects that COVID-19 came when we already secured grants were forced to be re-orientated but fundings were not adjusted.
For example, we are asked to make sure everyone has masks during our workshops and we are thus forced to supply beneficiaries masks even without additional funds. Physical distancing and limit of numbers of participants per event. We used to do events with 100 participants but now we limited to 30 or 25 to reduce the risk. We also have challenges because with COVID-19 we had to limit our interactions in offices and some staff were laid off and thus reducing the workforce. Salaries are also reduced but the workload instead increases.
More over, there is risk of being infected as a humanitarian staff has increased.
Indeed, communities’ voices remain central to advocacy strategies at both global and local levels. COVID-19 has made it more challenging to include communities’ perspectives in protection analyses.