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What factors of success for greater sustainability of Income Generating Activities? The experience of SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL in the Lom & Djerem Department, East Region, Cameroon, April 2020

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Solidarités International
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This case study was written by Cédric Fioekou



In February 2019, the HCR estimated that over 174,000 Central African refugees had fled to the East Region of Cameroon since 2013. In the Lom & Djerem Department, some of the refugees are living within communities along the Garoua Boulai – Bertoua road, while the majority have joined the Gado refugee camp. According to the HCR, 74% of them favour local integration over repatriation to the Central African Republic. SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL (SI) has been working in the Lom & Djerem Department since 2014, where it has supported 236 Income Generating Activities (IGA), including 55 group IGAs. These IGAs do not involve agricultural production activities. Over 50% of the supported IGAs revolve around selling crops – especially vegetables, cassava, maize and peanuts – and Basic Necessities (BN). This is especially true for group IGAs (70%) and those run by women (55%).

Analytical framework

The overall objective of this study is to “contribute to improving SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL’S empowerment and resiliency program strategy in Cameroon”, by carrying out an experience review of the IGA approach used in the East region. This review covers 212 IGAs that received support from 4 funding programs between 2015 and 2019 (DFID, ECHO 1486, EUD Pro-Act and ECHO 1715). The analytical framework is based on a series of questions that led to changes in the IGA approach. These methodological changes aim to improve the sustainability of IGAs, i.e. to reduce the proportion of beneficiaries that abandon or only make a minimal contribution to the activity. The key questions for this study are:

  • Sustainability: What percentage of IGAs are still active?

  • Targeting: What are the profiles/criteria of beneficiary households whose IGAs are considered to have a high level of activity and those with very limited activities or that are eventually abandoned?

  • Selection procedure: Do pre-selection profitability calculations and the amount of capital invested have an impact on the IGA’s sustainability (in terms of activity)?

  • Group vs. individual approach: Which is the most recommended approach to ensure that the activity is as sustainable as possible?

  • Training: What is the impact of training - and which specific training - on the sustainability of supported IGAs?