Since June 2014, more than 100 UN Online Volunteers have been collaborating with Agriculteurs Professionels du Cameroun (AGRIPO), a community-led innovative rural development programme operating in the village of Tayap, situated in the rainforest of the Congo basin of central Cameroon. Faced with progressive destruction of natural habitats and biodiversity as well as growing scarcity of agricultural land, Tayap’s 254 inhabitants, most of whom are farmers, recognized the need to change their practices in order to preserve their environment and the village land. In 2010, AGRIPO was created and piloted an innovative rural development programme using agroecology, eco-tourism and gender sensitive funding to preserve the biodiversity and develop alternative and sustainable sources of income.
The volunteers’ contributions have enabled the implementation of a major project on adaptation and climate change mitigation, and supported the organization to improve and scale up its programmes. Moreover, the creation of employment opportunities locally for women and youth and the development of local capacities would not have been possible without online volunteers. In 2014 alone, 45 online volunteers from Africa, America, Asia and Europe contributed 45% of the time the organization invested into its projects.
The collaboration with multicultural and multidisciplinary teams of online volunteers had a significant and measurable impact on the organization and the local community. “We secured two grants to finance our activities, and gained unprecedented visibility as well as international recognition in the field of innovation. AGRIPO would never have attained these results without the support of the online volunteer network of the United Nations Volunteers programme” – said Adeline Flore Ngo-Samnick, AGRIPO’s General Director. AGRIPO won the 2015 Prize for Climate Challenge Agriculture and Forestry, issued by the French Cooperation (AFD) and the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD).