COVID-19 pandemic- SHUMAS at the frontline

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As the global pandemic continue to wreck lives, SHUMAS is at the frontline line of COVID-19 interventions to combat the pandemic through an aggressive sensitization and the provision of hygiene and sanitation kits to vulnerable and crisis afflicted victims of the socio-political crisis in the Anglophone regions of the country currently residing in farm huts, bushes and hard to reach areas.

Mainstreaming COVID-19 preventive measures into SHUMAS’ activities was/is an immediate action put in place by the organization both at the office and field level to join global actions in the fight against the pandemic.  Immediately the corona virus pandemic was reported in Cameroon, SHUMAS instantly engaged into an emergency response plan to decipher measures of intervention to curb the spread of the disease especially from reaching the vulnerable population.

Preventive measures were put in place both at the office and field levels to ensure staff remains safe as well as the people we serve.  As   a rapid response to mitigate the spread of the virus, SHUMAS in her humanitarian outreach laid more emphasis in assisting people residing in enclave areas with little or no access to proper medical health care facility.

At the office level SHUMAS was able to have;

  • A Covid-19 focal person appointed to coordinate COVID-19 activities
  • A Covid-19 team made up of the Health and WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) departments was immediately put in place.
  • General disinfection of the entire office and the setting up of a hand washing station and the distribution of hand sanitizers to all office staff.
  • All staff trained on the production of hand sanitizers
  • The respect of preventive measures effectively implemented (social distancing, wearing of face mask and frequent hand washing).
Social distancing, wearing of face mask, use of hand sansitizers by staff.

In the field, SHUMAS has equally responded to the immediate needs of the vulnerable population:

  • SHUMAS has sensitized 55.000 people in rural communities in the North West region
  • Carried out a rapid need assessment on COVID-19 awareness for 1547 persons in the North West, West and Littoral regions of the country
  • Hand washing stations installed at all the food distribution points as well as in community popular spots
  • Buckets and soap distributed to 1000 vulnerable House-holds

As the fight continues, SHUMAS intend to continue in her massive sensitization of the local population on the pandemic as well as the provision of WASH kits. In a bid to meet our objective, SHUMAS is advocating for partnerships to be able to reach out the targeted communities, especially communities, with little or no access to information, health facilities and the crisis affected population of the socio-political Crisis.  

SHUMAS and WFP succors in Emergency Food Relief Assistance.

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The Strategic Humanitarian Services (SHUMAS) in partnership with the World Food Programme (WFP) donate food assistance to crisis victims of the ongoing social political crisis in Bui and Donga Mantung Divisions of the Northwest (NW) Region of Cameroon.

The socio-political insurgency in the Anglophone regions has resulted to mass destruction of livelihoods and farm lands. Consequently, chronic malnutrition remains a public health concern; with children under 5 suffering from stunting. The high malnutrition rate is primarily attributed to limited consumption of nutritious food plus limited access to clean water, sanitation and health services. Therefore, with the current challenges, achieving Zero Hunger and eradicating malnutrition as stipulated by Sustainable Development Goal (SDG#2) is a far-fetched reality.

SHUMAS in partnership with World Food Programme (WFP) provided 499.676 metric tons of food (Rice, beans, oil and salt) per month to 45.000 vulnerable IDPs and hosts in Jakiri, Kumbo, Ndu, Nkambe, and Mesaje Sub-divisions of the North West region. Super cereals were also provided to 2,667 children (0-23 months), pregnant and lactating women. This exercise has been going on for the last 6 months and may continue for the next 9 months.

According to some beneficiaries who preferred anonymity, they expressed their gratitude to God, SHUMAS and WFP for assisting them with variety of food items to sustain their families especially in this time of need. The assistance indeed they claim is very significant.

With a well-grounded project team, SHUMAS has been very active and spontaneous to respond to the food need of the helpless population amidst the socio-political crisis in line with the strict respect of the COVID-19 preventive measures (social distancing, frequent washing of hands and wearing of face masks)

NB: This intervention was carried out before the COVID-19 pandemic

Forcibly displaced children and pregnant women gain access to medication

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Without any relent in efforts to assist crisis-affected victims of the socio-political crisis hitting the North West region of Cameroon, SHUMAS reached out to 3500 children (6-59 months) and 1200 pregnant women by providing them with vitamin supplements (Vitamin A, and multivitamin) and  Albendazole for a period of 1 month. A project fully implemented by Strategic Humanitarian Services (SHUMAS) in partnership with Vitamin Angels-UK.

The nutrition intervention stratified according to different age groups targeted 5 health districts in the North West region precisely Batibo (Terendem), Ndop ( Mbefru, Kieshie), Wum (Fungom), Nkambe ( Binka and Mesaje) and Kumbo East (Jakiri –Nkah, Nkuv) a far to reach area accommodated by mostly Internal Displaced Persons.

  • Provision of vitamin A (100.000IU) to vulnerable children 6-11months in 5 health districts.
  • Provision of Vitamin A (200.000IU) to vulnerable children 12-59 months in 5 health districts.
  • Provision of multivitamin supplement to 1200 pregnant women in 5 health district.

For a successful and effective intervention, 4 SHUMAS staff received E-learning (electronic learning) training on community education, eligibility criteria,  administration of vitamins, administration of deworming medication, record keeping and visual checklist.

20 community health workers received training on how to administer vitamins and deworming and are effectively working in their communities.

This rapid intervention has improved on the health status of vulnerable persons residing in the bush, and forest settlement who have been deprived of proper health care due to the destruction of health care facilities since the onset of the crisis.

SHUMAS at 23!!!

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SHUMAS celebrates her 23rd anniversary this month in grand humanitarian style by reaching out to 1000IDPs in the North West Region of Cameroon.

SHUMAS turns 23 years today 21st April 2020. Thanks to her partnership with the BSFA-UK, and her many supporters in the UK, SHUMAS reach out to 1000IDPs living in forest, bushes and agricultural farmlands as well as some vulnerable IDPs living in appalling conditions in some neighbourhood in the city of Bamenda.

Assistance consisted of;

  • Non-food Items (NFIs), matrasses, mosquito nets (LLINs)
  • Wash kits (buckets, soap, cups, jerry cans, aqua taps etc.)
  • Training of community health workers from community base disease surveillance using smartphones
  • Consultation and treatment of children, 0-5years from malaria, diarrhea and pneumonia
  • Provision of intermittent preventive treatment ( Fansidar for malaria prevention and multivitamin to pregnant women
  • Provision of vitamin supplementation and de-worming medication to children of 6 -59 months
  • Screening f children 6-59months for malnutrition using MUAC taps for malnutrition.
  • Sensitization of vulnerable communities on the causes, signs, symptoms and prevention of COVID -19 through practical demonstration of hand washing, provision of aforementioned wash kits.
  • Training, counselling and provision of 3 weeks’ birds, wheelbarrows, fowl feed, feeders, drinkers and vegetable seeds to empower in self-reliant income-generating activities.

At 22, SHUMAS will continue to render service to mankind!!!

SHUMAS AND WOMEN AGAIN!!!

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In a male dominating society like ours, especially during warring periods like the one north west and south west of Cameroon has been going through, women are highly exposed to great danger.  Women have become victims of gender based violence, abandonment, psychological distress and displacement with no hope of survival. Frustrated and abandoned, they lament about what will become of them and their children after losing everything.

As a response to the plight of the women affected by the socio-political crisis, SHUMAS, through her Humanitarian Response and the Women Empowerment Programs, gives a gleam of hope to thousands of women and girls affected by the ongoing crisis.

It is in this light that the Strategic Humanitarian Services (SHUMAS) through concerted efforts have assisted thousands of women and girls through capacity building and provision of start-up materials.

In respect to health, the SHUMAS-UNICEF project had the following results; Women were sensitized on Essential Family Practices (EFP) and social cohesion in 14 divisions in the NW/SW regions, Basic preventive and curative services were provided to pregnant and lactating women and girls (PLWG) and children under 5years, 1,428 pregnant women received at least 3 doses of Intermittent Preventive Treatment (IPT), 1,426 pregnant women received iron and folic acid, 23,000 families received at least one long lasting insecticide nets, and 8,761 households received treatment for malaria, ARI and 2 pack for the treatment of diarrhea in hard to reach areas.

100 vulnerable beneficiaries (71 IDPs and 29 Host Families) affected by the Anglophone crisis in Bamenda I, II & III were provided with psychosocial counseling, capacity building on gardening, poultry and start-up materials; a wheelbarrow, 20 chicks, 2 bags 50kg of fowl feed, a cage, a 50kg bag of manure, 2 drinkers, a feeder, and assorted vegetable seeds.

Also, 52 vulnerable women involved in fish processing in Mbefru Island in Bamalang – Ngoketunjia Division were trained on fish processing and the provision of 4 chokor ovens in the community for fish processing. Beneficiaries were sensitized on social cohesion.

 As a response to food insecurity, 45,000 persons suffering from acute shortage of food mostly women (24,634; 55%) received humanitarian food aid from SHUMAS and WFP in Bui and Donga Mantung Divisions. The food basket constituted of rice, beans, vegetable oil and salt. The aid is to improve family nutrition and combat hunger (SDG 2, zero hunger).

Women groups were helped with finances to start up a business of their own to gain financial independence for their welfare and that of their families. Through SHUMAS, women have gained access to quality health care services; improve nutrition, and the provision of start-up provisions.

All the above enumerated achievements have contributed in promoting women empowerment and gender equality -SDG #5, Gender Equality.

SHUMAS and Partners impact is felt in Mbefru Island

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SHUMAS and partners (United Nations Development Program – UNDP and Japanese Government) reach out to 700 vulnerable Internally Displaced Persons (fishermen and women fish processors) involved in crude,risky and unproductive subsisting  fish farming in Mbefru Island, Ngoketungia subdivision by assisting them with sustainable fishing and fish processing materials.

Mbefru island since the start of the socio political  crisis in  the Anglophone regions of Cameroon has been and is still a safe haven for some IDPs affected by the crisis in the North West region (https://www.un.org/africarenewal/magazine/december-2018-march-2019/crisis-worsens-cameroon).  With fish farming as the main economic activity of the island, fishermen and fish processors in Mbefru were faced with the following problems: the use of wooden canoes for fishing which endangered life, poor fishing techniques, no fish conservation material, unsustainable fishing nets, poor fish processing and low output.

In a bid to curb these challenges, SHUMAS and UNDP through the sponsorship of the Japanese Government on November 24, 2019 assisted 48 fishermen and 52 women by providing them with 20 solid wooden canoes, 100 life jackets, 49 plastic containers for transporting fish, 200 fishing nets, 60 baskets, and 4 chokor ovens to process fish.

The project aimed at promoting sustainable fishing and improving on the qualitative and quantitative fish production while promoting social cohesion between IDPs and hosts residing in the island.

It is worth mentioning that before implementing the project, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between SHUMAS and UNDP among other organizations under the auspices of the Japanese Ambassador to Cameroon. SHUMAS was the lone organization in the North West region to have received support from the Japanese government for the early recovery social cohesion project.

The project was implemented using a community based approach by working in synergy with the beneficiaries to complement actions for greater impact.  Consequently, the technical capacity of 100 fish farmers on sustainable fishing, processing and marketing was greatly improved, social cohesion enhanced and the provision of sustainable fishing facilities provided to 100 fish farmers.

SHUMAS was lauded for the successful implementation of the project. The Japanese ambassador expressed satisfaction and promised future cooperation between SHUMAS and the Japanese government.

SHUMAS: Improving the health status of IDPs in brushes and forests.

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The mass destruction of hospitals/health Care facilities and the unprecedented death of persons due to lack of proper medication within the context of the socio political crisis in Anglophone regions of Cameroon has resulted to the forceful migration of persons to other communities, in search of medical assistance. These host communities on the other hand, suffer from the lack of medical/health care facilities as well as the lack of medical equipment to adequately carter for the health needs of the mass population.

SHUMAS and partner, under the humanitarian response program, provided and equipped health centers in communities hosting IDPs. Contributing to good health and well-being (SDG #3), SHUMAS and partner in her 2019 projects, decided to support some localities with infrastructures, equipment and the training of some health personnel to help the dying masses.    

The 2019 achievements under the health department were;

Construction and equipment of health centers.

The Ntaache health center – Bamendankwe, Akumlam Integrated Health Centre – Mankon, and the Bani Baloum Integrated Health Centre in the West region received support from SHUMAS. These health facilities received new buildings with admission wards, Doctor’s office / Examination room, Consultation room, Labor room, Delivery room, Laboratory, Pharmacy and toilet block with hand washing facilities. Material equipment comprising of delivery beds, examination beds, ward beds with mattresses and pillows, side cupboards, drip stands, microscope, autoclave, chairs, table and benches.

Spreading health;

20 communities have benefited from the Spreading Health scholarship program. 05 of which graduated as qualified State Register Nurses and have started serving their communities. An additional 6 vulnerable nursing students were selected in 2019 to begin the three-year training course.

These infrastructures will provide health care to some 9750 persons including IDPs residing in these communities thereby achieving SDG # 3. The productivity of the health Centers are upgraded.

For every displaced child, a fair chance to education

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Pupils who hitherto were studying in very appalling situations (dilapidated classrooms with perforated roofs, exposed toilets, broken floors and ceilings) almost close to extinction are now benefitting from modern and appealing classrooms.

SHUMAS and partners BSFA (Building Schools for Africa) have constructed and equipped 16 classrooms in communities hosting IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) in order to de-congest the already over populated schools.

Thanks to SHUMAS and partner (BSFA), GBPS Sodiko; Government School Bamendou; St Peter and Paul Catholic Nursery and Primary Batoke, Limbe; Djeugo Catholic School St Bathelemy; Government Primary School Kom Yembetta, and Government Primary School Bake have all benefited from the 2019 largesse of SHUMAS with the provision of 144 benches, 6 toilet blocks with hand washing facilities, 17 teacher’s tables and chairs, stores and secretariats, handed over to the aforementioned schools.

The learning achievements of these schools have greatly improved with an increase in academic performance.  School enrollment has also increased.  With the SHUMAS education program, quality education is guaranteed.

At the epicenter of humanitarian crisis, SHUMAS builds resilience for Crisis victims.

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There is still a lot of suffering given that the last three years have been with a lot of anguish due to the socio – political situation in the country. Notwithstanding all the suffering that the crisis victims have gone through, sorrow, misery and grief is still fully engraved on their faces. Affected persons in forests and brush sites live in deplorable conditions resulting to poor health and lose of life.

After a survey carried out to analyze the needs of the affected population, people have no means of survival and livelihood coupled with unprecedented deaths, destruction of homes, hunger, forceful displacements of persons within and out of the affected Regions with more than 1.9 million displaced persons in need.

 SHUMAS within the framework of her humanitarian response, continued to work enormously to respond to the needs of the affected. In 2019, SHUMAS under her Humanitarian Response program in collaboration with local, international and UN agencies, implemented humanitarian and development projects to assist Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), hosts of IDPs, rural and urban poor communities in grave need. The following humanitarian achievements were recorded in 2019:

Under the health program: 17,797 IDPS and affected children under five treated for diarrhea, acute respiratory tract infection and malaria in the North West and South West Regions, 22,271 treated Mosquito nets given to IDP families; 1,428 pregnant women provided with at least three doses of intermittent Preventive;  1,426   pregnant women   received Iron / Folic Acid and Deworming medication; 8,709 children dewormed;8,761 households received treatment for malaria, ARI and 2 pack for the treatment of diarrhea in hard to reach areas; Sensitized closed to 137,000 Internally Displaced Persons on Essential Family Practices and social Cohesion. SHUMAS constructed and equipped the Ntaache health center – Bamendankwe, Akumlam Integrated Health Centre – Mankon, and the Bani Baloum Integrated Health Centre in the West region.

For livelihood projects, SHUMAS trained 100 women beneficiaries on poultry and urban gardening and provided them with start-up materials. Beneficiaries received 20 chicks, a wheelbarrow, a cage, a feeder, 2 bags of fowl feed, a 50kg bag of manure, 2 drinkers and assorted vegetable seeds each plus psychosocial counselling. Also, an Early Recovery project was implemented in partnership with the United Nation Development Program (UNDP) and the People Republic of Japan to assist persons affected by the crisis100 IDPs (42 fishermen and 58 women) by providing them with sustainable materials for fish farming.

Food assistance was equally provided to 45000 vulnerable persons in Bui and Donga Mantung divisions of the North West region. SHUMAS has taken part in the Multi-Sectorial Need Assessment in Bui, Ngokitunjia, Menchum Divisions in the NW, West and Littoral Regions.

In all, 2019 was indeed a year of greater realization as SHUMAS braved the odds to reach out to the vulnerable persons in need through humanitarian outreach and development projects. According to the Director of SHUMAS Nformi Ndzerem Stephen Njodzeka, success can be rated at over 95% as they continue to put smiles on the faces of the needy.

SHUMAS’ response to water crisis

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The high influx of Internal Displaced Persons (IDPs) into Nkwen-Bamenda and Sodiko – Douala 4 communities resulted to acute shortage of water, water pressure, low sanitation and high prevalence of water borne diseases. Consequently, inhabitants in these communities trek for miles in search of clean water for family consumption. To this effect, SHUMAS within the framework of her humanitarian emergency response provided clean portable water to these rural communities hosting IDPs. 

Drinking water source.

SHUMAS in 2019 provided water by gravity to the population of Nkwen Upper Futru community-Bamenda with the Construction of 1 new water catchment, 6 stand taps, a 15m3 water tank, 2700m pipeline, and the training of water management committee with 344 households as direct beneficiaries. Also, the Sodiko Community in Douala also benefited a borehole to relief them from their water plight with the Construction of a borehole, a tank stands, 2 taps, installed an electric water pump, 10000 liter tank, 2 taps provided and the training of water management community.

 Also, in other related water and sanitation issues, SHUMAS constructed 6 schools and 3 health institutions with toilet blocks and hand washing facilities plus waste collection materials. These institutions include: GBPS Sodiko, Government Primary School Bamendou, St Peter and Paul Catholic Nursery and Primary Batoke, Limbe, Catholic School St Bathelemy of Djeugo, Government Primary School Kom Yembetta, and Government Primary School Bake. Health facilities benefitted from sanitation equipment and structures (SDG#6), e.g. the Ntaache Integrated health center – Bamendankwe, Akumlam Integrated Health Centre – Mankon, Bani Baloum Integrated Health Centre.

As achievements for 2019, SHUMAS under the water and sanitation program abetted 2 communities, 6 academic institutions and 3 medical facilities. In spite projects implemented so far, the future remains bright as SHUMAS continues to spread its tentacles to communities in grave need of water for their well being, thereby promoting access to clean water and well being (SDG# 6).