Conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR) has brought approximately 86,000 refugees to Cameroon’s Adamawa and eastern regions since 2005. This influx has exacerbated food insecurity and healthcare challenges and is depleting natural resources. Since 2008, IRD has partnered with international humanitarian donors, the government of Cameroon, and local partners to provide relief and increase the stability and resilience of livelihood systems for refugees and affected host communities.

As the refugees are traditionally nomadic livestock herders, IRD’s initial intervention focused on livestock health and distribution while promoting agropastoralism. IRD conducted two vaccination campaigns to protect livestock and trained veterinarians and nomadic herdsmen to monitor animal health and nutrition. More recently, IRD has provided hands-on training in biointensive farming and soil fertility management to maximize productivity from the small plots of available land. This approach helps address the loss of soil fertility caused by envi¬ronmental degradation, primarily from accelerated deforestation. Another way IRD combats resource degradation is the introduction of agroforestry. To date IRD has planted more than 20,000 trees, distributed 3,600 grafted fruit trees to households, and is introducing more efficient cookstoves to women’s groups. The multipurpose tree species are improving soil fertility, sheltering crops, and improving the tree cover.

IRD and host communities are helping pastoralist refugees establish communal farms. IRD has facilitated the establishment of farm committees responsible for overseeing communal farm resources and acitivites, including agriculture inputs and farming tools and equipment. The farms have the dual benefit of increasing year-round availability of food and improving food security for host and refugee communities. To help ease the pressure for land access with host communities, IRD is transitioning refugees into community-farm activities in fields further away from settlements. IRD continues to help newly arrived refugees acquire land for crops and household food production.

Through introduction of improved cultivation management practices, construction of simple storage facilities, and training in food processing, IRD is helping farmers increase harvest shelf life, while the provision of oxen and plowing equipment has strengthened communities’ cultivation and distribution capabilities. Improved linkages between farmer associations and establishment of new associations is encouraging knowledge sharing and increasing opportunities for crop commercialization.

IRD has increased access to income generation opportunities for women through training in micro-enterprise management and income-generation. Some women have realized enough profits to improve their housing and buy livestock and daily household goods. The introduction of high-value vegetable gardens is yielding an important income source for refugees and communities during the dry season and increasing year-round access to food.

IRD built or rehabilitated water infrastructure for both human consumption and irrigation. One such project developed 32 boreholes that provide 50 gallons of potable water daily to approximately 12,800 refugees and host-community members. Together with the distribution of hygienic kits and training on personal hygiene and sanitation, waterborn diseases have been greatly reduced.

IRD’s Cameroon programs are funded by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the US Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration.


Cameroon UNHCR 2013

An estimated 86,000 refugees from the Central African Republic (CAR) reside in the... more

Increasing Stability and Resilience of Livelihood Systems among Central African Refugees

An estimated 86,000 refugees from the Central African Republic (CAR) reside in the... more

Livelihood Restoration in Cameroon

Following political unrest in their home country, approximately 45,000 refugees fro... more

Success Stories

Refugee Herdsman Becomes a Settled Farmer

MANDJOU, Cameroon – Saliou Adamou, 55, fled to Cameroon from unrest in the Central... more

Livelihood Security Restoration

Following political unrest in their home country, approximately 45,000 refugees fro... more

Assistance to Refugees from the Central African Republic

IRD’s activities in eastern Cameroon were visited by was UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador... more