Buea CEFAM : Watering The Nursery Of Local Development

With the new code, Buea and its training institution remain the training ground for Council staff

The decentralisation drive has been intensified with a new code for Cameroon. A code means all laws and regulations pertaining to local governance have been put together in one document for easier reference and uniformed action on the ground. In the South West Region, 31 Local Councils and two City Councils of Limbe and Kumba stand to benefit from the new dispensation. In addition, a Regional Council is expected to be set up. Pundits value and measure the new dispensation on local governance either in yards or metres. The varied degrees of appreciation only point to the primacy of the matter. Some of the fundamental questions to examine include; who executes local governance action on the field? How and where will the actors be trained? To attempt and answer to these concerns one may be tempted to trace the roots and strength of local governance in Cameroon to the British creation in Buea during the colonial period called the Local Government Training Centre (LGTC). In 1977 this centre was transformed into an Institution that trains all staff for local government in Cameroon with its French acronym (CEFAM). This transformation followed the 1961 plebiscite by which the then Southern Cameroon voted to join the Republic of Cameroon to achieve its independence. Subsequently, a 1972 referendum came to cement the union of both sides and in 1977 a decree institutionalised CEFAM. Since 1977 CEFAM has trained and refreshed some 5,000 personnel of local governance for the 360 local governments called Councils spread through the 10 Regions of Cameroon. The Director of CEFAM, Mathieu Hagbe, gave the figure specifying that those who received Diplomas from CEFAM have averaged just 3000 and the rest were refresher-trainees.

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The School: CEFAM

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Situated on the slope of Mount Cameroon in Buea, capital of the South West Region, CEFAM remains a quiet, conducive establishment with students from all corners of Cameroon. It harbours for this season, the 2019-2021- batch of 155 trainees and dozens of staff members having begun formation last July, 2019. With old structures though renovated and kept clean, CEFAM offers dormitories for all its trainees. Their classrooms are trimmed to size and offices reduced to need which is a reason to hope that the days ahead may augur for an impressive extension of the facility. The numbers for in-take must also undergo an increase to meet the central role that the Institution is called upon to play in Cameroon’s decentralisation drive.

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Training Offered

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The CEFAM is by its existence called to train administrative and technical personnel for local governments. In addition, the institution trains council titular supervisory personnel and personnel in charge of civil status registration. To discharge this mission, CEFAM offers formation for cycles I, II, and III. Cycle I, opened in 1997, are top municipal administrators trained in three categories namely General Administration, Finance and Council Treasury, and Technical and Social Services. Candidates are GCE Advanced Levels holders. Cycle II are intermediary staff of Local Council services trained to handle elementary and dayto-day council duties. Cycle III are council staff of cycles I and II who come back to the Institution for refresher courses. The duration of studies is two years for cycles I and II. Meanwhile, cycle three refresher courses are organised for three months in the maximum.

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