The Rainforest Foundation UK begins training its partner organisations in Cameroon in new MappingForRights approach

The Rainforest Foundation UK, (RFUK) has trained 16 representatives of partner organisations in Cameroon on a new approach to participatory mapping. Thirty people in the Democratic Republic of Congo, (DRC), have also received the training, which forms the first part of an ongoing programme that aims to map five million hectares of community lands in the two countries – both under imminent threat from palm oil companies, logging and road-building developments – by 2017.

The approach, which uses new icon-based mapping technologies, has been developed by RFUK on the back of 15 years’ of experience of working with its partners and indigenous peoples in the Congo Basin. Participatory mapping is designed to support forest communities with documenting the occupation, use and management of their traditional lands as a basis for the promotion of their rights.

The mapping data will be used to support these forest communities with the production of geo-referenced maps showing how they occupy lands and use natural resources.

This new approach allows for the collection of key social and economic and historical data to document the specific conditions communities are living in and highlight their needs.

Over the three weeks, 16 representatives of 6 NGOs (FODER, APED, AJESH, APIFED, ASTRADE and PAPEL[1]), including GIS technicians, mapping facilitators and project coordinators, were trained by RFUK Mapping Coordinator Georges-Thierry Handja and RFUK Mapping Consultant Alphonse Wala.

“Building the capacities of mapping facilitators in a country facing such imminent threats to their forests was both a delicate but worthwhile task. All the participants were determined to face the challenging task of supporting their communities,” said Mr Handja.

For more information about the training, please visit http://forest4dev.org/