Note by Armand Nouwe

Since February 2019, the Diocesan Committee for Social and Charitable Activities of the Archdiocese of Douala (CODAS Caritas Douala) has been carrying out a project to promote and protect the right to adequate housing by supporting the improvement of poor neighbourhoods, known as the “AQP” project.

The specific objectives of the project for 2021 are as follows:

  • To strengthen the capacities of the six existing collectives and of PLAFODAL (Plataform for the Promotion of the Right to Housing) to enhance their participation in improving their living environment;
  • Make public authorities, the media and public opinion change their negative and discriminatory perception of popular neighborhoods;
  • Promote the development of a working-class district in each of the five municipalities of the target district of the city of Douala.

To achieve these objectives, the “AQP” Project has planned activities to support the actors, including leaders of the project’s target groups and communities, capacity building, studies and advocacy.

A Continuing Commitment to the Struggle for the Respect of the Right to Housing

The “AQP” project is the continuation of an approach initiated 9 years ago against the violation of the rights of the Cameroonian victims of forced evictions.

A first project in this direction, aimed at promoting and protecting the right to decent housing by defending the interests of families threatened or victims of forced evictions. Following the same logic, the “AQP” project will also act in the prevention of forced evictions throughout the site. This will be done through actions to improve the living environment in so-called working-class neighbourhoods and to promotion promote by their inhabitants to municipal decision-makers, so that there are more infrastructure development projects for these neighbourhoods.

In addition to prevention, the “AQP” project will address the negative and discriminatory perception of poor neighbourhoods by residents, administrative authorities, the media and public opinion.

Already Six Months of Execution of the “AQP” Project

The first meeting of the Project Management Committee was held on 31 July to conduct a biannual evaluation of project implementation. In addition to the Project team, there were representatives of the beneficiaries and specialists whose experience has been demonstrated in the subject developed. At the end of the work, the members of the Monitoring Committee congratulated the technical team. This is based on the results obtained with respect to the six-monthly operational and budgetary programming.

In general, Aat the end of this period, all the project management bodies (technical team and management committee) were established. In addition, a support agreement was signed between CODAS Caritas Douala, the executing agency of the “AQP” project, and PLAFODAL. The objective of this agreement is to establish the modalities of collaboration in terms of support for its empowerment, so that it can achieve efficiency and effectiveness, so that the collectives can defend their rights but also and above all organize themselves to improve their living environment. One of the significant results of this support is that PLAFODAL obtained from the prefect the file evaluating the assets of 372 families affected by forced evictions during the extension of the Boulevard de la République, which must be sent to the Ministry of Land Ownership, Cadastre and Land Affairs for further processing.

For the second half of 2019, several milestones are expected. These include the “Zero Eviction” campaign organised by PLAFODAL in October 2019, the holding of the “Cities and Roofs of Cameroon” exhibition on 4 and 5 December 2019, the development and implementation of the strategy to deconstruct the negative and discriminatory perception of working-class neighbourhoods, and so on. 

Armand Nouwe is the director of the Amélioration des Quartiers Populaires in Cameroon project of CODAS CARITAS Douala