Cameroon, 24 November 2016 – The Special Council’s Fund for Mutual Assistance, FEICOM in its French acronym, celebrated its second edition of the Cameroon National Award for local councils. In close collaboration with UN-Habitat and under the leadership of the Ministry of Territorial Administration and the technical support of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, the closing ceremony mobilized the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Basic Education, the South African High Commission in Cameroon, and the Resident Representative of UN-Women, the chair of the 2016 International Jury.

Around, 350 participants from urban and local councils, development partners, senate and parliament, civil society organizations, academia and media were present to witness and provide full support to the 13 winners of the award.

In total, ten regional prices were given to the innovative and better practices at Regional level. The Syndicate of Mbam and Inoubou council received trophies for best practice with their rural water installation and management initiative covering various villages and inhabitants.

With their institutional mechanism to create and manage small hydropower dams for the provision of electricity in rural and semi urban settlements, the Dschang council came second. Rural agriculture was recognized through the cassava festival, a yearly event, held in the Ngoulmekong council. The third best practice was given to this council which promotes the production and transformation of cassava to obtain various types of value added product in order to contribute to poverty alleviation in remote rural area.

In total, USD 400,000 was shared among the recipients. The money received will be used by each of the recipients to realize a project of public interest for the benefit of all citizens within their territory.

Innovative and promising solutions

In his opening statement,  Hon. Rene Sadi, the Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralization, thanked the General Manager of FEICOM for keeping the momentum by organizing the second edition of the FEICOM award. “This national price is not only a way to celebrate best practices but also to identify innovative and promising solutions to our development problems at the local level in order to diffuse them country wide for adaptation and adoption for the benefit of all”, he said.

Representing the Executive Director of UN-Habitat at the ceremony, Chris Mensah, expressed the importance of the FEICOM award in the new context of implementing the Sustainable Development Goals and the recently adopted the New Urban Agenda during Habitat III in Quito. He called upon other public national institutions and private sector to join FEICOM for enhancing the importance and the outreach of the prize so as to make it a national brand.

“Approaches and lessons of the FEICOM award should be documented and shared to neighboring countries as well as at African and international level, UN-Habitat will contribute to this effort”, Mr Mensah concluded.

According to the chair of the international jury, “the process of the FEICOM Award was transparent and the outcome is the result of hours fruitful debates among the members; they were coming from different national and international institutions with diverse professional backgrounds”.

The General Manager of FEICOM, M. Philip Akoa, expressed his gratitude to all 134 councils who submitted their initiatives for consideration. He promised to share the key lessons of the second edition to the 374 councils and beyond the national borders. He finally invited all the councils to be ready for the 3rd edition in 2018.

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