Struggle to Economize Future Environment

Image: Mokhamad Edliadi/CIFOR

Struggle to Economize Future Environment (SEFE) is a grassroots NGO which mobilises communities in Southwest Cameroon to protect forests and farmland from a proposed large-scale palm oil plantation by Sithe Global Sustainable Oils Cameroon (SGSOC, a subsidiary of US company Herakles Farm) that threatens forests, rivers and communities’ lands.

The proposed plantation is on land which forms part of the Guinean Forests of West Africa Biodiversity Hotspot and provides a vital and heavily-forested wildlife corridor between four protected areas, which are home to numerous threatened species such as forest elephants, the Nigeria-Cameroon Chimpanzee, Preuss’s red colobus monkey and Drill. Thanks to the campaigns of SEFE, local communities and other local and international NGOs, the size of the plantation has been greatly reduced in size, but it still threatens forests and farmland. Some deforestation and palm oil planting has already gone ahead.

SEFE empowers communities to campaign against the plantation; it informs them about the project and their rights and pushed for Free, Prior & Informed Consent (FPIC) and social impact assessments to be implemented. This work is risky: SEFE’s director Nasako Besingi has been arrested and imprisoned for the work.

Synchronicity Earth began funding SEFE in 2017. We fund core costs and support SEFE to share its learning with other organisations and communities facing similar struggles in the Congo Basin in order to strengthen the civil society movement against such destructive developments.

At A Glance