Jesuit Entity in Cameroon Transforming IDPs’ Lives in “a communal garden” Initiative

One of the beneficiaries of the project tends to the vegetable garden. Credit: JRS

A section of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) at Ardjaniré camp in Cameroon are benefiting “a communal garden”, an initiative that the entity of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), the Jesuits Refugee Service (JRS), has spearheaded.

In a Monday, July 18 report, JRS leadership says that the project that aims at planting some 1,800 trees and having a vegetable garden seeks to improve the livelihoods of refugees and IDPs in the Cameroonian camp.

“To support internally displaced people in Ardjaniré, the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) opened a communal garden in partnership with UNHCR Cameroon,” JRS officials say in the July 18 report.

The officials of the Jesuit entity add, “The project aims to enhance the food and livelihoods resilience of IDPs by planting 1,800 trees and opening a vegetable garden.”

The JRS officials regret the fact that “expanding the project will not be easy”, and explain, “As of now, the Ardjaniré camp does not have enough wells to provide water for more gardening and other basic needs.”


“We need to keep investing in new wells and resources to provide more livelihood opportunities for forcibly displaced people in Cameroon,” the JRS officials say.

They further say that the camp has more than 2,000 IDPs and that most of them are victims of the on-going violent clashes between fishermen, herders, and farmers in the far North Region of the country, forced to leave their homes.

“One of the leading causes of conflict is the scarcity of resources, particularly water, linked to climate change,” JRS officials say.

The report highlights testimonies of some of the beneficiaries of the Ardjaniré initiative, including 64-year-old Hala Said.

“In displacement, making ends meet continues to be the main concern for Hala and his family,” JRS officials say in the report, and add, “Back home, he was a fisherman. He worked with his son and was able to provide for his family.”

More in Africa

As a community leader, Mr. Said is said to have embraced the tree planting project. He has been quoted as saying, “[The trees] will give us shade, mangoes, and other fruits. The community will benefit from the vegetable garden too. It will feed people.” 

Additionally, he said, “the garden will allow IDPs to learn new agricultural techniques that they will carry with them wherever they will go next.”

Meanwhile, another beneficiary of the initiative, Maimouna, joined the tree planting project an effort to fend for her six children, JRS officials say

Looking for opportunities for herself and her children, JRS officials say, “Maimouna joined the gardening project as a beneficiary and community focal point, facilitating communications between the IDP community and JRS.”

“Working alongside eight other women, Maimouna is now growing okra, chili, and other vegetables in the JRS garden. Thanks to the garden and a new sewing machine, she has turned hopeful,” officials of the Jesuit entity say in the July 18 report.


“We will use the vegetables and sell them to get some money. It will change our lives,” Ms. Maimouna is quoted as saying, adding, “As a displaced person, I have no land. With the rainy season coming soon, I would like to have a plot of land to better provide for my family.”

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.