The rapid population growth in the Northwest Province (NWP) of Cameroon and Nkambe (Donga Mantung Division) has imposed heavy pressure on arable land. Because of this problem, and a lack of education about sustainable options, the local population currently uses the land in counter-productive ways. For example, searching for fertile farmland, farmers move to watersheds where their slash and burn methods, in conjunction with their use of fertilizers and pesticides, are neglecting the environment. Additionally, the indiscriminate planting of eucalyptus trees, the lack of a waste management system and the use of streams for washing clothing and vehicles adds to the growing problem of water scarcity and pollution. The accumulative effect of these activities has resulted in the disappearance of spring water catchments, loss of biodiversity, decline in soil fertility, and heavy soil erosion.
These environmental problems have dramatic social consequences. Soil erosion damages the local roads and destroys the foundations of local homes. The community risks losing its fertile soil in the near future. Additionally, with the lack of common education on environmental sustainability, the harmful farming practices and pollution will only get worse. These problems call for a community-based approach to promote the cultural value of the environment. By focusing on volunteer projects and creating an environmentally-supportive community among the younger generation, SYFA hopes to address these problems in a sustainable way.