Somié is one of the main Mambila villages in Cameroon, with a population upwards of 5,000 people. Located within the northern borderlands that connect Cameroon with Nigeria, the people of Somié speak Jù Bà, a local dialect of the Mambila language. The village has several schools, churches and mosques, and a busy weekly market. Most of the Somié population are farmers, growing crops to sell at the market as well as for their own consumption; many grow coffee on the forest peripheries that cover the hillsides across the region. Dances and rituals form an integral part of Mambila tradition, likewise do Suàgà oath taking and the practice of nggàm dù divination.
Since the Nggamdu.org web portal was launched in 2021, funding from consultations has been distributed to local projects in the village of Somié and the remuneration for spider diviners’ work, including:
1. The ongoing work of a local reforestation initiative.
REFCOASO is a registered co-operative group in Somié and has been planting trees in the area of the village’s water catchment to ensure a supply is maintained throughout the dry season. They have also planted trees outside local dispensaries and the secondary school, as well as in their two pilot fields. With the support of Nggàm dù, the project has funded the support of the group for several years, where a wider educational program in neighbouring villages has been undertaken.
2. The rehabilitation of the Somié’s water system.
Following landslides and bushfires, the village’s gravity-fed water supply has stopped running after twenty years of service. Having brought clean, fresh water from a catchment in hills above the village to standpipes located on roadsides and public spaces around the village, the system had provided potable water accessible to the majority of homes. After the landslip, a temporary fix was put in place more than six years ago but this has now failed. The cost of repairs is beyond the means of the community.
Our goal is to complete three interventions, listed according to priority: (1) rehabilitation of the existing Somié water system; (2) extension of the Somié water system to provide standpipes at the schools and areas of the village currently without; (3) outreach to raise awareness of water-related issues that encompass safe use, maintenance and its interconnectedness to climate, health and wellbeing.
3. A programming of arts and cultural projects.
A number of workshops have been facilitated within the village to promote and encourage arts and cultural activity across schools and local groups. In January 2022, students and other people in Somié were given a photography workshop to assist in their interest to document village life whilst learning more advanced skills in photography.