Subtitle: ABCARD’s Founder Enokenwa Allen Tabi discusses the organisation’s work in 2020, the impacts of COVID-19 and why he loves his work.
Keywords: grassroots, Kumba, Cameroon, conservation, Cameroon news, biodiversity, COVID-19
Interview by Mina Phillips
2020 has been a challenging year for everyone. For The Association for Biodiversity Conservation and Rural Development, it has brought a whole new set of challenges to the organisation’s mission of improving biodiversity while also supporting Cameroon’s community welfare and educating them on the importance of conservation. In this interview, ABCARD’s Founder Enokenwa Allen Tabi describes the challenges his organisation is facing due to COVID-19, while exuding an ongoing passion for the work that he does.
What inspired you to work in the field of biodiversity and conservation?
My field of study at the university was in Ecology and Wildlife Management and, after leaving university, I decided to follow a career part in that field. However, the unprecedented decline of global biodiversity in our time gave me the inspiration to get engaged in the fight against this peril.
What do you love most about the work you get to do at ABCARD?
The fact that ABCARD address biodiversity conservation, environmental education, community livelihood and development, and other humanitarian causes gives me motivation and joy. Biodiversity is about diversity – the range of different living things and systems in an area. The more plants, insects and animal species there are in one area, the greater the biodiversity and the healthier the ecosystem.
What advice can you offer people who want to pursue a career in wildlife conservation?
Wildlife conservation work can be carried out by people from a variety of career backgrounds. You can be an artist, an inventor, an engineer… as long as you are dedicated and passionate about nature you can make a contribution to wildlife conservation. Figure out where your passion and talent lies and use that to contribute in the conservation of biodiversity.
What work has ABCARD been focusing on during 2020?
ABCARD has no active projects currently running, we are focusing on raising funds to help us to:
- Support the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic in communities around the South West Region of Cameroon
- Conduct bird surveys in Lake Barombi Forest reserve
- Mainstream environmental education in the conservation of the critically endangered cichlids in Lake Barombi Mbo, South West Region, Cameroon
- Work on the conservation of Mt NIonako through the restoration of biodiversity and ecosystem functions while securing the livelihood of the indigenous communities
Has COVID-19 impacted the organisation’s work?
Covid-19 has impacted every sector of our society, not leaving behind ABCARD. However, we have used this period to reflect on what we have to do to make ABCARD resilient.
What conservation work is currently most urgent in Cameroon?
There are several conservation works in Cameroon that urgently need to be addressed. These vary from habitat restoration, addressing the issue of poaching threatened wildlife species, protecting the habitats of threatened species of wildlife and engaging communities in the protection of their environment.
What are some of the challenges you face in your work?
The main challenge that we face in our work is the lack of funding, especially during this period of the Covid-19 pandemic. We have a lot to address but no funding available. If we can raise funds for our earmarked projects, then that will be a tremendous success.
What success has ABCARD experienced since it started in 2016?
Over the years ABCARD has reached over 5000 community members and students for sensitization on environmental related issues. We have carried out bush meat trade monitoring in our project sites, recorded over 30 threatened species, rescued eight wild animals from hunters, donated to a centre for rehabilitation, and over 30 students in communities around our project site have benefited from book donations.
You have set some really wonderful goals to achieve by 2025. How are these going?
Our main target now is to raise funds to carry out projects that will help us achieve these goals. For the moment we are in progress.
What can people local to Kumba do to support your conservation and biodiversity work?
We call on the people in Kumba and in our other project sites to remain collaborative and supportive in every project that we embark on. We do it to benefit our biodiversity and the community at large.
What can people around the world do to support your work?
The conservation of biodiversity requires an enormous amount of financial and material resources. We call on individuals and organisations to support us in any way they can, in order to support us in achieving our goals. We believe your contribution will create a positive impact on our environment and people’s lives.
To support The Association for Biodiversity Conservation and Rural Development please get in touch today.