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Africa's great green barrier

The threat of desertification   -  
Copyright © africanews
Eugene Hoshiko/AP2007

Cameroon

Deforestation is a big problem in Africa and elsewhere but small initiatives such as this one in northern Cameroon can make an enormous difference.

Since 2014 that the camp of Minawao hosts around 70,000 refugees who fled jihadist violence in neighbouring Nigeria.

In 2018, the UNHCR and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) launched a programme designed to battle deforestation.

According to Lydia Yacoubou, a Nigerian refugee working at the tree nursery, "Minawao has become a place that is green all over. There are a lot of benefits to that. We have shade from the sun, the soil has improved and the trees attract water".

Refugees were taught techniques that help seedlings to survive in harsh conditions.

The camp also promotes the use of alternative energy sources.

In a small workshop, trained refugees turn household waste into eco-friendly briquettes

"We have not only focused our actions on reforestation and raising awareness. We are also overcoming challenges like cutting wood. We have set up a strategy with UNHCR to promote alternative energy sources like the use of eco-friendly briquettes", claims Abdul Aziz, LWF's project coordinator.

This programme is part of a bigger project that aims to build an 8,000-kilometre continent-wide green barrier to stop the ongoing desertification of the Sahel.

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