Community of Practice: Collecting Data (GFI Cameroon)
COMMUNITY OF PRACTICE: COLLECTING DATA PRESENTED BY GFI CAMEROONBioresources Development and Conservation Cameroon (BDCPC) & Cameroon Ecology (CAM Eco)
WHO ARE WE ? GFI CAMEROON Coalition is made of two organisations namely Bioresources Development and conservation Programme Cameroon (BDCPC) and Cameroon Ecology (Cam-Eco)BDCPC’s mission is linking conservation with economic and health needs of the local population – has been doing this for 17 yearsCam-Eco’s mission is capacity building for rural communities – has 11 years of field experience
GFI Cameroon Approach BDCPC focused on the 18 Land Use Indicators so as dig out the much needed data on governance in this sector in Cameroon and recommend improvement. This subject has not been having enough attention from previous research work. Cameroon Ecology focused on 25 indicators from the pillars of Forest Management and Forest Revenue. Although research has been carried out on these thematic areas before, it has been reported in an isolated manner. This will be a comprehensive report on forest governance that is all encompassing.
Methods of Data/InformationCollection – phase one GFI Cameroon partners first started with a project planning workshop. The purpose of which was to have a common understanding of the toolkit and methods and also choose the pertinent indicators. We first started with desk research which was mainly collecting laws, documents and analysing them in response to corresponding indicators . The second stage was elaboration of field research tools, mainly interview guide and mini questionnaires.
Methods of Data/InformationCollection – phase oneIdentifying key respondents/informants and making contacts by phone or mails to schedule interviews and discussions.The next stage in this phase was to request the administrative authorities for letters allowing us to access some key institutions and documentation/information.
Methods of Data/Information Collection-phase twoPhase two was meeting people following the schedule agreed with them for interviews and discussions . NB. It should be noted that though some meetings and interview sessions were scheduled well in advance, it frequently turned out that the authorities were never available on schedule. In this case, we had to negotiate other planning;Using informal channels to get access to information and using direct observations
The major strengths of the approachCollaborative work through the GFI coalition (this can be very challenging in Cameroon)Using GFI as a comprehensive approach to gathering data (bringing together existing information with some new information to create a more complete picture of forest governance)Learning by doing!
Major Challenges For GatheringGovernance Data in CameroonForest sector corruption Sensitive issues Staff are concerned about being seen talking to civil societyAccess to information The government controls a lot of the information and does not make it available over the internet No Freedom of Information Act
Major Challenges For Gathering GovernanceData in Cameroon (continued)Culture of secrecy Harsh penalties for civil servants who give information Not clear whether or not people have rights to obtain informationQuality of data The information/data is hardly ever updated and information is not even well organized especially in public services. E.g., satellite maps on forest area.
Major Challenges For Gathering GovernanceData in Cameroon (continued)Mutual suspicionPoor Internet connectionLiteracy level, generally among the rural stakeholdersEnclaved nature of sitesLack of capacity of information officers