Cameroon: Mother Of Five Optimistic Amidst Bleak Conditions

Dannina Fesil is a mother of five and receives food assistance for WFP. WFP/Josefin Barck

WFP is providing food assistance to more than 200,000 people affected by crop failure and livestock losses in the Far North region of Cameroon, where poverty rates are well above  than the 40 percent national average.    

BARGARAM  –  The drought in the Far North region of Cameroon has left thousands of households without enough to eat and agricultural land that is unfit for cultivation.  

The situation is all the more severe for mothers, who struggle not only to feed themselves but also their children.  

Dannina Fesil, a mother of five, is an example of those mothers who are no longer able to provide for their children.  

Dannina lives in the village of Bargaram, where WFP is carrying out general food distribution as part of its emergency operation that was launched in June in the northern regions of the country. 

This is the second time that Dannina is receiving food assistance from WFP. 

“I wish I could support myself,” said Dannina.  “I do not want to be dependent on help from others.”

Dannina’s biggest complaint is the impossibility of cultivating her own crops.  Although Dannina owns a small plot of land, the drought has left it unfit for growing crops. 

“I have no income from my own land so I cannot buy enough food for myself or my children,” said Dannina.  “I do not eat much and I do not have the power to work much either.”

Dannina’s case is far from unique.  Over 400,000 people in the Far North region have been affected by the decrease in food production, roughly half of whom require immediate food assistance.  

“Food for my children”

Despite her situation, Dannina remains optimistic about the upcoming rainy season and the prospect it brings of cultivating her plot of land and starting a small business with the goal of ultimately feeding her children “If there is food for my children, they will grow and become larger and life will continue without problems,” Dannina said. “As long as you have food, life is problem free.”

WFP support

In the coming months, targeted supplementary feeding will be provided to treat more than 46,000 moderately acute malnourished children under 5 years and 12,000 moderately acute malnourished pregnant and nursing women in the Far North region. 

In addition, blanket supplementary feeding will be provided to prevent acute malnutrition for around 24,000 children under 2 years and 17,000 pregnant and nursing women. This is badly needed assistance as malnutrition rates in Cameroon's North and Far North regions range between levels considered to be "serious" and "critical".