The evaluation of the Cameroon country strategic plan (CSP) assessed WFP’s strategic positioning and role; the extent and quality of WFP’s specific contributions to CSP strategic outcomes; WFP’s efficiency; the factors that explain WFP’s performance and the extent to which WFP made the strategic shift expected, over the period 2017 to mid-2019.1 It provides evidence from which conclusions regarding WFP’s performance and lessons to inform the development of the next CSP may be drawn. It also facilitates accountability to WFP stakeholders. Commissioned by WFP’s independent Office of Evaluation, the evaluation was conducted by an external team, with field work in Cameroon from 29 August to 13 September 2019. The evaluation follows a 2017 country portfolio evaluation that provided recommendations that informed CSP operationalization.
The evaluation relied on the review of secondary data, complemented by 147 key informant interviews, 13 focus group discussions with beneficiaries and direct observation during site visits to communities and refugee camps. It applied a gender-sensitive methodology covering CSP activities from 2018 onward and related operations in 2017. The evaluation team encountered some local access restrictions, but they did not affect the validity of the findings because the team was able to triangulate information sources.
With a population of 25 million, Cameroon is a lower-middle-income country with a low rank on the Human Development Index (150th of 189 countries in 2019)2 and growing income inequality (table 1).3 Economic development policy is guided by the Government’s Vision 2035 and growth and employment strategy for the period 2010–2020. Cameroon has experienced instability as a result of Boko Haram activity in the Far-North region since 2014; conflict in the North-West and South-West regions between state forces and Anglophone groups seeking greater autonomy since 2017; and the influx of 250,000 refugees from the Central African Republic in the East and Adamaoua regions since 2013. In 2019, Cameroon participated in a voluntary national review that showed modest progress on the Sustainable Development Goals.
According to the national gender policy for 2011–2020, sociocultural gender norms are a major hurdle for the achievement of equal rights and opportunities. From 2017 to 2019, Cameroon’s Gender Inequality Index score declined from 0.569 to 0.566 (from 140th to 141 out of 160 countries).4
The main donors of official development assistance include the European Union, France, Germany, the International Monetary Fund, the United States of America and the World Bank.5 For humanitarian assistance, the main donors are the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations of the European Commission (ECHO), Germany, Japan, Sweden, the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund and the United States.6
WFP in Cameroon
WFP’s support for Cameroon started in the 1970s. During the review period, Cameroon experienced multiple crises, both internal and spilling over from neighbouring countries. In January 2019 the United Nations humanitarian response plan for the country estimated that there were 665,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs), 385,000 refugees, mainly from the Central African Republic and Nigeria, and 92,000 returnees. Figure 1 shows WFP activities in Cameroon in 2020.
From 2017 to mid-2019 WFP’s portfolio in Cameroon comprised one country programme, two regional emergency operations (200777 and 200799), one special operation linked to the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) (figure 2) and relief, recovery and development-oriented activities under the CSP. Supporting refugees, returnees, IDPs and host communities through food and cash-based transfers (CBTs), WFP assistance was concentrated in the North and East regions and the new NW/SW crisis area, which had the highest levels of poverty, food insecurity and humanitarian needs.
The Cameroon CSP for 2018–2020 combines activities into a single document based on a new WFP strategic framework and the national zero hunger strategic review consultative process. This shift in approach puts more emphasis on community-led planning; national capacity strengthening in respect of safety nets; nutrition; gender equality; food security monitoring; and partnerships, especially with the Romebased agencies. The three-year CSP is aimed at six strategic outcomes (table 2).