Providing sustainable solutions to environmental and agricultural problems in CameroonMay 16th, 2022
Achare Elvis Ayamba, one of 20 finalists in the 2022 Commonwealth Youth Awards, has dedicated his life to solving issues related to Cameroon’s agriculture and environment. His ‘Environment and Food Foundation’ promotes sustainable protection and management of marine and freshwater ecosystems, mangroves and oceans. It also tackles deforestation. Commonwealth Correspondent Promise Forsuh spoke with Ayamba about his initiatives.
“My motivation stems from my passion and love for the natural environment, our forests and oceans.” Achare Elvis Ayamba.
For the young man, born in 1994 at the Eyanchang village in Cameroon, this passion for his environment and desire to solve agricultural problems acted as a push factor for him choosing fisheries and aquatic sciences as a career orientation. After completing his undergraduate studies, he obtained additional training in agricultural entrepreneurship, project writing and management, then went on to achieve a Master’s degree in the management of fisheries and aquatic ecosystems.
Though Ayamba’s love for the environment is inborn, the high rate of degradation around him, especially of marine and fresh water ecosystems, made him even more determined to seek solutions to these threats. In essence, seeing this degradation made him sick and finding solutions was the only medicine to his illness. So, he started working with various environmental organisations such as Meg Wah (My Earth), before founding Environment and Food Foundation (E2F).
In 2018, with a fresh foundation and a vision to improve his surroundings, Ayamba stepped out to clean the city by collecting and valorizing plastic waste. The E2F founder and executive director says plastic pollution is a major threat not only in Cameroon’s economic capital, Douala – where he has plans of establishing an industry to valorize plastic waste – but also across the entire country and, in fact, the world.
To date, the foundation has held clean-up events which have removed 60,000kg of plastic waste and 50,000kg of invasive Salvinia plant. More than 2,000 students and community members have also been educated on marine preservation, while 5,500 fishermen and fish-smokers have been supported to maintain eco-friendly livelihoods.
But it has not been an easy task as an environmentalist. Ayamba says some of the main challenges he encounters are inadequate financing, materials and human resources. “People don’t like to volunteer for community development, so it is difficult to get steady workers as people prefer to work where they will have monthly payment,” he explains. These issues have forced the delay of most of his projects.
Despite this, all his hard work has been paying off. Ayamba’s initiatives see him directly attempting to address several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 13 (climate action), SDG 14 (Life below water) and SDG 15 (Life on land). Being a participant in several international organisations, his efforts have led him to this very point as a Commonwealth Youth Awards finalist. He is also the recipient of the Commonwealth Youth Awards for Excellence in Development Work, a top 100 Young African Conservation Leader, recognised as one the EE 30 Under 30 leaders in environmental education and is an awardee of the Youth Innovation Challenge 2021.
While Ayamba appreciates his awards and accomplishments, they are but the icing on an already fulfilling cake which sees him pursuing his passion and vision to see a world where all have the right mindset to live in harmony with planet earth.
Photo Credit: Achare Elvis Ayamba/ Commonwealth
About Promise Forsuh: I am a graduate with a first degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from National Polytechnic University Institute Bamenda. My ambition is to become a celebrity journalist or a great Public and International Relations Practitioner. I am interested in writing for both print and broadcast, not only doing journalistic writing but fiction as well. Presently, I work as a volunteer for SOPECAM as a journalist in my country.