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British High Commission Lauded For Sponsoring Local Projects 

They expressed the gratitude at the residence of the British High Commissioner February 13.
The occasion was the launching of the call for applications for the sponsorship of local projects from April 2009 through the High Commissioner’s Challenge Fund. The fund is focussed on the areas of democracy building, human rights and climate change.

Speaking at the occasion, one of the civil society leaders, Tetevi Bodylawson, expressed appreciation to the High Commission for helping to enhance democracy in schools. He said the Commission funded a project in which he carried out a survey in 40 schools and discovered that teachers still attempt to impose leaders on students instead of making sure that they are freely elected.

Another speaker was the coordinator of the International Commission of Catholic Prison Pastoral Care, ICCPPC, Rev. Sister Jacqueline Atabong. She said it was because of funding provided by the British High Commission in Yaounde that ICCPPC salvaged the agonising situation of inmates at the Douala New Bell Prison.

She said they carried out a project in which they hired lawyers to fight for the human rights of inmates. Going by her, they helped to release some 1200 prisoners who were being detained for no good reason. The woman of God said they still rely on the British High Commission to continue the fight for justice because 76 percent of inmates at the New Bell Prison are awaiting trial.

Another civil society leader, Augustine Njamnshi, thanked the High Commission for helping him to develop a guide for parliamentarians and councillors on the fight against climate change. He said communication on climate change has been too elitist and needs to be simplified for the understanding of the various stakeholders.

For his part, the British High Commissioner to Cameroon, Syd Maddicott, said "much of the change that is needed in Cameroon will come through the efforts of civil society-motivated community groups and NGOs. We are happy to work in partnership with them. In particular, we want to encourage bids which have multiplier effects."

He revealed that through the now-ending 2008/2009 Challenge Fund Programme, the British High Commission has injected over 200, 000 Pounds to grassroots work in Cameroon. This help, it was emphasised, complements assistance the UK delivers through the European Union Development Fund (EDF) to which she is one of the biggest contributors.
It was revealed that British assistance through the EDF will be worth in the region of 580, 000 Pounds annually to 2011.

The UK is also a major donor in the forestry sector, especially to the Congo Basin Forest Fund, which she has pledged 58 million Pounds. It was stated that applications for projects sponsorship through the 2009/10 Challenge Fund must be received by the British High Commission by March 15, 2009.

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