Fight Against Social Exclusion
Social exclusion stems from the inability of individuals, groups and communities to meet the social requirements. Thus, globally, the phenomenon affects several types of targets that are not subject to the exclusive attention of the Ministry of Social Affairs. In other words, the fight against social exclusion is a cross-sectoral and transversal activity. It concerns the government as a whole.
In effect, social exclusion appears as a process of social disqualification which is characterised by the dependence of the excluded vis-à-vis the group, the family or tribe. From this point of view and for the development of our country, it implies economic, social and political costs which can only be minimised through national solidarity.
The Decree N°2011/408 of December 9, 2011 on the organisation of the government assigns to the Ministry of Social Affairs, among others missions to «fight against social exclusion in connection with the ministries concerned.»
The fight against exclusion will be made up of all measures envisaged or taken in order to ensure the socio-economic integration and re-integration of target populations, where the transversal and multisectoral nature of it.
I. Description and characteristics of target groups
The observation of the cameroonian society reveals the categories of social groups which can be victims of social exclusion or threathened by that phenomenon. These include :
• people with disabilities;
• children in distress (children separated from their parents, abandoned children, children in conflict with the law, orphaned or vulnerable children due to HIV/AIDS;
• imprisoned children ;
• people with special protection needs (albino, former lepers, older persons, people living with HIV/AIDS, the seriously ill);
• socially maladjusted people (prostitutes, drug addicts) ;
• marginal populations (pygmies, bororo, mountain dwellers, itinerants, nomadic fulani);
• the unemployed;
• the poor;
• victims of accidents and disasters;
• displaced people.
These populations are characterised by:
• lack of legal and security protection;
• problem of access to education;
• problem of access to health care;
• lack of employment.
All these barriers to the fulfilment deprive society of serious human resources on the development site. In the era of greater achievements, we should welcomed the fact that Cameroon is provided, for purposes of the case by a constitution that protects minorities and children. However, the fate of man which constitutes the central concern of the government, it is logical to examine measures taken within the framework of the fight against social exclusion.
II. Policy orientation and measures taken to fight against social exclusion
To meet the expectations arising from this situation, the Ministry of Social Affairs defined two organisational components of social services as strategic orientation of its social intervention system. These include:
- the establishment of specialised institutions in connection with the specific needs and social problems lived by the beneficiaries (Re-education institutions, institutions delivering care to children, institutions for the rehabilitation of persons with disabilities, social integration institutions, specialised social action services and social services) in connection with basic communities;
- the promotion of interventions of actors of the national and international civil society (private social concerns, non-governmental organisations, associations, economic actors, international organisations) which contribute to the improvement of the living conditions of disadvantaged individuals, groups and communities.
As concerns the fight against exclusion of vulnerable populations, MINAS intends to:
- Develop a safety net for the benefit of socially maladjusted people;
- Promote the commitment of the entire society beside the State in order to reduce social inequalities;
- Meet the needs and promote self-organisation of groups and communities.
The identification of targets and their characteristics brings the Government to take necessary legislative, regulatory and institutional measures in accordance with the Constitution of Cameroon, which affirms the commitment of Cameroonian people to the fundamental freedoms inscribed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Charter of the United Nations, the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, the International Conventions relating to nondiscrimination duly ratified by Cameroon. Measures to fight against this phenomenon depend on specificities of each target group and is materialised within the framework of national solidarity.
By choosing this strategy, the Ministry of Social Affairs is consistent with the conclusions of the World Summit on Social Development held in 1995 in Copenhagen and the eighth Millennium Development Goal which presents international solidarity as one of the effective strategies to achieve the MDGs by the year 2015. The creation of a national solidarity system aims at pooling their respective efforts of various national social actors as well as those of their bilateral and multilateral partners, in the search for effective solutions to the problems of social exclusion, this through a functional and multisectoral partnership.
In a bid to render this strategy operational, the first forum on National Solidarity in Cameroon was held from June 21 to June 24, 2005 in Yaounde. Actors from all sectors of the national socio-economic life and development partners were able on the one hand to become imbued with the situation of the socially excluded in Cameroon and the emergency of their problems, and secondly, contribute to the selection of priorities and orientations of actions in the short, medium and long term through appropriate recommendations.
At the end of the forum, a matrix for the implementation of these recommendations has been drafted. It combines these recommendations in three components relating to the following domains the:
- strengthening and improvement of legislation and regulation favourable to vulnerable groups;
- improvement of institutional framework for the social protection of these groups;
- strengthening, rationalisation and diversification of partnership and cooperation in meeting the needs of victims of exclusion.
Through the high instructions of January 13, 2006, the Prime Minister, Head of Government ordered the implementation of this matrix.
Thus, several actions in favour of target populations have been carried out and measures have been taken in application with the said instructions.