Step by Step: How Cameroon is Standardizing Training on Deforestation and Forest Degradation

Cameroon is bringing dozens of organizations across the country together to align approaches. 
 
For many countries, preparing to reduce deforestation and forest degradation and enhance forest carbon stocks – efforts commonly referred to as REDD+ – is a complex challenge.   This process involves developing national strategies; establishing baselines for forest cover and emission levels; and ensuring forest-dependent communities are informed, engaged and will have access to the benefits of these efforts.    
 
In my 10+ years of supporting countries in REDD+ readiness work, I’ve observed that this last part – engaging stakeholders – is sometimes the most challenging. In many cases, there are dozens of groups in each country, with different priorities and approaches, and unique visions of the challenges and benefits of REDD+, trying to train forest-dependent communities on everything from the basics of climate change, to forest and land use sector transformation. The sequencing of topics differs. The materials differ too, and are often not adapted to the context or capacities of trainees, or to the actual program design process led by the government. 
 
In Cameroon, where rainforests cover nearly 50 percent of the national territory and account for 11 percent of the Congo Basin forests, the national REDD+ Technical Secretariat and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) are spearheading a first-of-its-kind approach to align REDD+ training. They have proposed that all organizations organize their materials to follow three standardized modules that build on each other. Combined, these modules give stakeholders a comprehensive and sequential nine-day training on REDD+ readiness.
 
The great advantage of the secretariat’s new Guidelines for Capacity Building of REDD+ Stakeholders is that they allow organizations to continue to use their own training materials, which are often costly to develop and designed to focus on their unique priority areas. I recently spoke to several organizations that have committed to following the guidelines, and the positive feedback was unanimous. 
 
“These training modules are so valuable because they help us ensure we include all that is necessary to know about the REDD+ process in Cameroon, and that content is delivered according to the level of those being trained,” says Hawe Bouba, President of the African Indigenous Women Organisation Central African Network (AIWO-CAN).
 
Stakeholders validated ST-REDD’s three-module approach in January of this year, and once they begin using it in the coming months, it will be much easier to understand and compare what REDD+ content has been covered and where. Communities can know they had Module 1, or Module 1 and 2, so future teaching can take this into account, while still leaving flexibility for organizations to use their own content.
 
“Thanks to this progressive module approach, communities finally receive step by step training in REDD+ and climate change. This approach will also help communities develop effective capacity-building initiatives that facilitate their involvement at the local and national levels,” says Ako Charlotte Eyong, Project Officer for IUCN’s Pro-Poor REDD+ Project in Cameroon.
 
By Tracy Johns, Carbon Finance Specialist, World Bank Group, July 18, 2017