Improving the Livelihoods of Baka Indigenous Women in East Cameroon Through Agriculture: Offline Final Report

Note: This document is provided for you to work with local stakeholders to record responses to final report questions offline, when internet access is unavailable. All responses must eventually be entered and submitted through our online application system. In other words, you must copy/paste or otherwise transfer all responses from this document to the online final report and submit your report through the internet. World Connect’s online final report is accessible through your user account at: http://www.worldconnect-us.org/submit-projects.

Instructions: Congratulations on completing your project! You are required to submit a final report to World Connect within one month of completing the project. It should be completed collaboratively by the Established Field Partner, Local Leader, and the Community Organization partnered on the project, with feedback from the local community, especially those directly participating in the project.

Project Basics

Name of Project:    Improving the Livelihoods of Baka Indigenous Women in East Cameroon Through Agriculture

Established Field Partner Name:  Aliou Mustafa

Local Leader Name:  Mompoh Martine Berenice  

Community Organization: Bridgers Association Cameroon
Country: Cameroon

Grant Amount (USD): 750

Project Start Date: February 2020

Projected End Date: June 2020

How many people directly participated in the activities of the project?

Direct Participants – Individuals directly participating in your project’s activities

Female (24 and older): 23

Male (24 and older):

Female (18-23): 7

Male (18-23): 1

Female (6-17):

Male (6-17):

Female (0-5):

Male (0-5):

How many people have benefited indirectly from the activities of the project?

Indirect Beneficiaries – Individuals impacted as a result of the actions of direct participants 

*Please do not double count the Direct Participants

Female (24 and older): 24

Male (24 and older): 57

Female (18-23): 23

Male (18-23): 36

Female (6-17): 28

Male (6-17): 62

Female (0-5): 19

Male (0-5): 16

Please describe how individuals impacted benefited directly and indirectly from this project:
Men as well as children have been the main indirect beneficiaries in their homes as their wives and mothers (direct beneficiaries) have been sharing some of this vegetable and carrying home for nutritious food, improving on their poor eating habits and curbing malnutrition especially in the lives of children. 

The entire population of Missoume and Kwoamb have witnessed constant availability of natural organic vegetables on sale in their community. This has provided buyers alternative food supply as against their routine traditional starchy diets.

Some men have gained knowledge on the entire organic farming methods, as the entire project processes were opened for everyone ready to acquire skills, as such some community men supported their women and so took advantage of this and participated alongside the 30 women.

Men taking part in the project as indirect beneficiaries

Project Narratives

Instructions: Please be thorough and candid in your responses. We want to accurately tell the story of your project and use the experience and the lessons learned to inform future projects.

Please summarize what has been accomplished to date for your project.

  • 30 low income Baka Indigenous Pygmy women have been trained on the proper process of cultivating vegetables with the use of organic manure as well as planting of fruit trees around the garden. 
  • 30 low income Baka Indigenous Pygmy women have been trained on marketing vegetables as an alternative source of income for the benefit of their household.
  • Atleast 30 Baka household have been provided with nutritious food which further improve on their health and wellbeing of the children most especially.
  • 30 low income Baka Pygmy women have received training on record keeping and a Self-Help Scheme has been established from the proceeds of the sale of the vegetable. From where they can borrow in times of difficulties. 
  • The population of the entire project community has been sensitized on the barrier measures against COVID-19 as well as provided with some sanitary and hygiene kits such as face masks, buckets adapted with taps for hand washing, hand sanitizers and soap.    

Are there any activities related to this project yet to be completed?

No

Please describe your results against each of the indicators listed below:

Did your project accomplish all or mostly all of its original goals? Please explain in detail the project’s major successes and any setbacks it may have experienced.

Yes No (circle one)

This project consisted basically the creation of a community orchard involving the cultivation of two types of vegetables, namely; huckleberry and garden eggs intersperse with fruit trees for economic purposes. It has been quite successful venture with very minor hitches.

Regarding the major successes recorded within the implementation and evaluation of this project, we can boost of the following:

  • A community farm has been created, properly and exclusively managed by 30 indigenous Baka women who are the direct project beneficiaries. However, instead of setting up individual farms upon completion of the training phase as pre-planned at the project start, these women have proposed and agreed on an option which best works for them; maintaining a community farm for the mutual benefit and empowerment of all participants. 
  • Creating a second community farm independently by project beneficiaries after the first which was the training phase is a magnificent demonstration of 100% mastery of the entire process of vegetable cultivation with organic manure from scratch. This is therefore, a major achievement for a project that came as a novelty to this indigenous community.
  • The huckleberry vegetable has grown to maturity and is being sold and partly consumed by both the direct and indirect project beneficiaries. 
  • The fruit trees on their part, though still at the stage of very young trees are equally blossoming, and therefore showing positive signs of enormous produce in the future.  
  • From this project and our interaction with the beneficiary population, we realized the need to educate the beneficiaries on the notion of accounting and book keeping to enable them track records of the sale of their farm produce. This particular aspect was really never part of the project from the onset, but it only posed itself during implementation and we addressed it satisfactorily.
  • In addition, we equally addressed another need which was not part of the project from beginning; this had to do with the establishment of a Self-Help Scheme suggested by the beneficiaries themselves to ensure greater and sustainable impact of the project outcome. 
  • The 30 beneficiaries including the entire population have been sensitized on the preventive and barrier measures against Coronavirus (COVID-19). They have equally been provided with hygiene kits and other equipment to prevent the spread of this killer virus in the project community. This was done as a rapid response measure in the area. 

However, we experienced a problem with growing the garden egg vegetable within the community orchard as initially planned from project conception. This plant could not survive the nursery stage due to an attack from insects that hinder its growth and subsequently destroyed it completely.

In retrospect, what if anything, might have been done differently to achieve or extend the success of the project?

We came to realize that if there was an irrigation system made available in the garden/orchard it would have increased the success and sustainability of the project. In this case there would have been constant and regular supply of water in the farm thus, reducing the stress of the beneficiaries having to trek a distance for water to manually water the garden. If we were able to irrigate the garden most often, there would have therefore been a positive difference in terms of the size of the farm, timely yielding and quantity. The availability of an irrigation system would have consequently guaranteed a continuous all year round stress-free vegetable cultivation, thus, providing the local population with constant organic and high nutritive vegetables for both commercial and home consumption. 

Having flexibly responded to the COVID-19 pandemic challenge by sensitizing the project community on the barrier measures of COVID-19, we think that if we were able to buy raw materials and hire resource persons to teach the local community beneficiaries how to produce liquid soap and hydro-alcoholic gel, it would be more sustainable and a sure means of combatting the spread of the deadly Coronavirus within our project community and even beyond. But with our limited means giving that we only managed to divert a few dollars from our initial planned budget to respond to this great unforeseen global challenge need, we could not do as much.  

What is your plan for sustainability for this project? For example, considering where the project is at this point in time, what do you expect will remain, who will be responsible for what remains, and what ongoing costs do you foresee?

With the Self-Help Scheme established from the sales of the vegetables, the beneficiaries have agreed to manage this scheme in empowering themselves economically for sustainability. They have agreed on a 2% monthly interest if a member borrows from the scheme, from this, they can be able to handle the running cost. 

With the improved seeds we provided them to continue the project, it is hoped that the cultivation of vegetables for commercial purpose by these women will become a permanent source of income for them. This is why they unanimously agreed to once again collectively create and cultivate another portion of the garden in other to sell and raise more money for their Self-Help Scheme.  

The fruit trees planted in the resource farm will eventually grow to become a legacy and a source of income and food for the women and the community as a whole and will last several years. 

The tools library created will eventually help the beneficiaries for a long time until they are able to make a reasonable amount of money and buy other tools. 

The beneficiaries have grouped themselves and formed a strong union with a leadership that coordinates them under our Project Local Leader Mompoh Martine Berenice who also double as the President of COOPADEF (an Association also working on the empowerment of the Baka Pygmy women), she will henceforth be in charge after the project has come to an end. 

The chief of the community has equally committed to oversee the continuation of our project having himself supported this project among other men who were part of this project implementation. 

Describe the involvement of the key actors in the project.

Community Organization: 

Bridgers Association Cameroon has been the central coordinating actor in this project. Keeping track of all project activities and ensuring the timelines are met, reminding Local Leader and Established Field Partner of the expected outcome and their outlined roles within the project implementation activities. Bridgers Association Cameroon as the Community Organization here has been coordinating the reporting process in this project.

Local Leader: 

Mompoh Martine Berenice as Local Leader in this project has been the principal and key actor. Being a Baka Pygmy herself, she has been a perfect link between the project beneficiaries and the Established Field Partner as well as the Community Organization. Giving her familiarity with the beneficiaries, it permitted her to influence and motivate them to adapt to the changes proposed by this project, she also at some point in time had to serve as a translator/interpreter in situations where the locals were not able to apprehend some concepts and notions in the project. Mompoh has therefore spearheaded the implementation of the project activities on the ground.    

Established Field Partner: 

Aliou Mustafa as Established Field Partner has been the main supervisor of this project. He has been ensuring that the project meets the expected goals and results. Ensuring that project finances are put to use appropriately and approving any meaningful changes in the initial plan. He equally ensured that project timeline are respected. 

Community Members:

Most Community Members took part in this project either as a motivational factor or as participants. Throughout the entire project, the community members have perfectly collaborated with us. 

The community members have been the buyers of the vegetable harvested from the garden. Initially, we planned to sell the vegetable in Abong-Mbang which is 20km away from the project site, but we started receiving demand for the vegetable even before it ready for harvesting.   

Other than those identified above as key actors for this project, have any unexpected leaders emerged during the project? If so, please describe how they impacted the project and how the project has impacted them. Please provide the emergent leader’s first and last name, age, marital or family status, any other special characteristics, and their contact details.

Yes No (circle one)

Has this project led to any additional investment by or in the affected community/ies? If so, please provide any details such as the amount of money promised or invested and by whom specifically.

Yes No (circle one)

Has this project let to any additional actions, activities, mobilization, group formation, or concrete plans for action by or in the affected community/ies? If so, please describe. 

Yes No (circle one)

Did you have access to the necessary tools, resources and/or support from World Connect to design and implement a successful project? Please provide examples of the types of support and tools that would have been helpful.

Yes No (circle one)

Yes, World Connect supported us financially, which was central in the initiation and completion of this project.

Would you recommend working with World Connect to others? Please briefly explain why or why not.

Yes, we would strongly recommend others to work with World Connect especially for the fact that your team is indeed cordial with applicants and can motivate for the success of projects. 

Again because World Connect works and encourages development initiatives from the local level driven by local leaders, as such most projects are thus bound to succeed. 

Do you have any recommendations on how World Connect can improve its grant application, reporting process, or the support it provides to key actors?

We think that if world Connect could reduce some of the steps that form part of its application process, it can go a long way to be less cumbersome to potential applicants.

Who is the best point of contact should we be able to visit in the future? Please provide this person’s full name, contact information, and primary language/s.

Abai Victor Asondo, Executive President of Bridgers Association Cameroon, Email: bridgersngo@gmail.com, Tel: +237677334678, English Language. 

Is there anything else we should know about this project?

This project is the first of its kind within beneficiary community, especially the introduction and growing of vegetables with organic manure. Being introduced into the eating of vegetables and sensitized on the value of vegetables as a healthy eating habit is a novelty. As such, the beneficiaries as well as the entire community are extremely happy with this project.

Final Report Step 3 – Project Testimonials

Instructions: This step is very important to us, as it helps us to identify successes and challenges as it relates to the participants themselves, in their own words. Please include testimonials from both men and women, and try to speak with people who might otherwise be marginalized or not heard. Include each person’s first name, last name, gender, and age. If possible, please provide a photo of the person who gave the testimonial.

Established Field Partner Testimonial #1: 

What is the most significant change in your life since this project started?

Aliou Mustafa: “since the start of this project, my life has witnessed a great advancement as a change maker, giving me the opportunity to be engaged in community actions aimed at bringing significant change in a community in a sustainable manner.

Aliou Mustafa in action mobilizing and motivating the community towards community engagement

Established Field Partner Testimonial #2: 

How has this project impacted your relationship to the community and/or the participants?

Aliou Mustafa: “This project has been a great opportunity for me, as an Established Field Partner because it made me closer to a set of people who need just everything but are ignorant even of the basic needs of their community. It has been great success for the women and the community at large on this project. Thanks to this project, we have made many other feasibility studies and are willing to remain working in this community for a longer time if we are able to secure funding for other empowerment and community projects that complement the work we have begun through this World Connect funded project”.  

Aliou Mustafa (in rain boots) fully engaging the community to participate in the project

Local Leader Testimonial #1: 

What is the most significant change in your life since this project started?

Mompoh Martine: “Through this project, I have learnt to believe in myself as someone who can achieve great results in projects. I am much more confident as a young women empowerment activist having seen the charisma I deployed to galvanize the efforts and participation of all the beneficiaries.”  

Mompoh Martine and cross section of beneficiaries poses for a picture holding a fruit tree to be planted in our resource garden

Local Leader Testimonial #2: 

How has this project impacted your relationship to the community and/or the participants?

“This project has projected my leadership qualities and I am being looked upon in my community by my own peers and elders as a role model. I am humbled by this exposure. Thank you World Connect team and The Bridgers for trusting and working with me.”


Mompoh  Martine (Project Local Leader) Applying organic Manure on the ridges prepared for vegetable planting

Participant #1 Testimonial: 

What is the most significant change in your community since this project started?
“My community members who were quite ignorant of the fact that we can organically grow and consume our own vegetables have embraced a new skill thus an improvement on women’s income and eating habits in various households.” 

Makedie Odile harvesting vegetables from the project resource farm for commercial purpose

Participant #2 Testimonial: 

What is the most significant change in your family since this project started?

“I used to depend on my husband every day for money to buy stuff for the family, but with the coming of this project, I have been providing food for the family as well, my household now has constant availability of vegetable meals twice a week. I had never known the value of vegetables in our body growth system.” 

Naboya Solange surprised with the efficiency of organic manure

Participant #3 Testimonial:

What is the most significant change in your life since this project started?

“I am so happy that I have started a small business thanks to a small loan I got from our newly established Self-Help Scheme on 2% interest rate.“

Nkassa Marie Noelle expresses joy for their Newly established Self-Help Scheme

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Promoting The Effective Use Of Contraceptives Among Adolescent Youth In Yaounde, Cameroon.

END OF PROJECT REPORT:

PROJECT TITLE: Promoting The Effective Use Of Contraceptives Among Adolescent Youth In Yaounde, Cameroon.

FUNDED BY:    BECKER/CORDES STIFTUNG  

PROJECT SUMMARY

This project was intended to solve the problem of lack of knowledge on the proper use of contraception by young high school girls in Yaounde, Cameroon. To address this issue of lack of knowledge on contraception and its grave consequences on adolescent girls, we had therefore set out to giving educative talks on the effective use of all contraceptive measures and prevention of HIV/AIDS in 5 high schools from January 2020-March 2020 with a goal to reach out to at least 300 young girls/women in Yaoundé. This project was designed towards making young girls to be capable of asserting their reproductive rights; able to realize they have total control over their bodies to choose when and how many children they are willing to have thereby empowering them. This project aimed at serving as an eye opener for first-timers or an encouragement for those already aware, that the possibility for women to control their body means they have a greater opportunity to be ambitious; go to school, build a career and attain financial stability as they will no longer see their roles as mothers but also as contributors to the sustainable development of the society. This project is aligned with the goals set in the Cameroon operational plan for family planning 2015-2020; increase contraceptive prevalence among women of childbearing age from 16.1% to 30%, reduce the unmet need rate from 17% to 10%,to reduce the prevalence of teenage pregnancies aged 15 to 19 from 25.2% to 12.5%,increase contraceptive prevalence among adolescents aged 15 to 19 from 12.1% to 29%.

BENEFICIARY SCHOOLS: CCSS-Nkolmbong, New Century Institute – Nkolfoulu, Ayungha Bilingual Comprehensive High School – Ngousso, Mada International College – Obili, Success International College -Eleveur.

SUMMARY OF COMPLETED PROJECT ACTIVITIES

Activity A: Sexual Reproductive Health Rights Awareness and Education

We organized capacity building workshops with both adolescent girls and boys seated together in same halls within the ear marked schools, illuminating them on their rights to access information on Sexual Reproductive Health Education and facilities. They were equally introduced to the varied forms of contraception including their pros and cons as well as an in-depth education on menstruation / the menstrual cycle and the natural forms of contraception. Beneficiaries were encouraged to always visit nearby family planning units at their disposal which forms part of their inherent rights to a sound mental and physical health for all as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Nevertheless, beneficiaries were all made to understand that as adolescents within the African context, abstinence remains the best option to curb both STIs and unwanted pregnancies.

Activity B: Establishment of Health Clubs In Schools

In each of the beneficiary schools in collaboration with school authorities, we created health clubs made up of some of the enthusiastic participants which would henceforth continue to educate their peers on the concept of sexual reproductive health rights and proper contraception. We signed a memorandum of understanding with each of these schools administrators making them owners of the project to ensure continuity.

Activity C: Education on the Barrier Measures Against COVID-19

The continuation of this project was interrupted by the outbreak of the Corona Virus pandemic plaguing the entire world, with the first cases diagnosed in Cameroon at the end of February 2020, schools were then suspended accompanied by a total lockdown of all activities only to resume at the end of May 2020. With such situation warranting an emergency response we could not remain indifferent. We therefore instead of continuing with education on sexual reproductive health rights, especially as we had surpassed our target beneficiary number in the project, we had to flexibly divert to sensitize students on how to prevent COVID-19 through the proper washing of hands and all other preventive or barrier measures accompanied by the donation of hand washing kits and alcoholic hand sanitizers to the two beneficiary schools in which we carried out the sensitization, thus exhausting the funds and completing this project.

PROJECT RESULTS

  • At least 99.9% of project beneficiaries now understand their sexual reproductive health rights and the use of contraception.
  • All three beneficiary schools visited now have health clubs established with a prime purpose of discussing and disseminating messages on sexual reproductive health rights.
  • At least 80% of the beneficiary students would now visit the family planning unit with no fear of rejection and get appropriate health care.
  • Beneficiary students are 99% safe from the spread of the COVID-19 having received proper education on the barrier measures as well as material donations to stop the spread of this pandemic in the school milieu. 

VARIANCE BETWEEN EXPECTED RESULTS AND ACTUAL RESULTS

  • Instead of 300 students we initially intended, we reached close to 800 students.
  • Instead of educating just girls/women, we educated boys and men as well so they can be motivators and champions for girls to use contraception’s.
  • Though we set out preliminarily to educate on sexual reproductive health rights of adolescents, we ended up educating on Coronavirus (COVID-19) given the emergency circumstances that warrants rapid response to save lives. 

ADVOCACY AND VISIBILITY RESULTS

Through the use of our social media outlets (Facebook; Twitter; Instagram; and website), this project reached and impacted the lives of over 20,000 people both nationally and internationally. 

AZAH JACKLINE CHEY

General Coordinator/Co-Founder

Bridgers Association Cameroon        

OPEN PARTNERSHIP/SPONSORSHIP LETTER

We have the pleasure to introduce to you our nonprofit Organization: Bridgers Association Cameroon is a national Non -Profit Organization that was founded in 2013 and got registered in 2016. Operating from our head office in Yaounde Cameroon, we have as mission to empower women through advocacy so as to attain gender equality and minimize gender based violence. We therefore have the vision for a level ground where all women/girls would have equal access to resources to enable them live healthier and happier lives; their sex, age, colour/race, country and financial backgrounds notwithstanding.

We are a youth led Organization, having been cofounded by youths; we give the pride of place to the youths (both male and female) ranging from the ages of 20 – 40 to be at the helm of leadership positions in the Organization through a simple and fair majority voting system conducted once every two years by members of the Organization’s General Assembly. The voted youths head the different focused programs of the Organization under the Coordination of a general Coordinator who is herself a youth and Co-founder of the Organization.

Our projects fall largely under the following programs: environmental education, Gender Based Violence Prevention, Climate smart agriculture, Sexual Reproductive Health Rights and Menstrual Hygiene Education, promotion of the concept of volunteerism, water Sanitation and hygiene (WASH).

With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and which is requiring great social, economic and psycho-social support, we launched a COVID-19 response program in which we aim at reaching out to vulnerable and under-served communities with sensitization on the preventive measures as well as providing the beneficiaries with WASH and hygiene kits to prevent/stop the spread of COVID-19. We count on your support to continue providing more education on the preventive measures, more face masks, wash hand stations, hydro-alcoholic gels for hand and surface sanitization, soap for hand washing and to reach out to many more vulnerable communities all over Cameroon. 

Also within the context of the ongoing Anglophone crisis which has degenerated into an armed conflict in Cameroon, Bridgers Association Cameroon based on its principles of solidarity and compassion have been seeking and providing basic material and psycho-social support to the thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who have escaped from their original places and are seeking refuge in other parts of the country under deplorable conditions. With your support, we are able to train and donate seed capital for them to start small but profitable ventures to sustain them and their families, provide them with hygiene kits for a healthy life style, and provide them material and food stuff.

As one of our advocacy programs, we are concerned with promoting the bodily autonomy of women/girls and adolescents’ sexual reproductive health and rights. Our strategy has been through the Organization of capacity building workshops to train trainers to harness and amplify our continuous awareness raising/sensitization campaigns efforts carried out in schools and communities to impact vulnerable and marginalized groups of women and girls. Through this program we are therefore giving women and girls the opportunity to be aware of their fundamental human rights relating to a sound mental and physical health as enshrined in the UN Universal Declarations of Human Rights. 

Through the promotion of Sustainable Organic Agriculture, we are impacting the lives of marginalized Indigenous Baka Pygmy women in the East Region of Cameroon by training them on vegetable cultivation for both commercial and home consumption as practical solutions to reduce poverty and malnutrition in their communities. We train them on effective land use and sustainable land management as well as the planting of fruit trees to mitigate the effects of climate change. There is urgent request to scale up this project and reach more vulnerable communities in Cameroon for a wider impact. 

We are equally very concerned with WASH Projects, as at October 2020, Bridgers Association with funding from the Japan Water Forum (JWF) shall be rehabilitating a Water Resource Collection Point in Kake Village, Center Region of Cameroon. This project shall benefit more than 1000 persons in this enclaved community. This community and many more need boreholes for sufficient and portable water supply. 

Just like water, in the Baka Pygmy communities, toilets are near absent and so community dwellers practice open defecation which is negative for their health. Consequently, there is great need for the provision of pit latrines and capacity building on WASH in these communities. 

Beside other projects, we recently introduced a five years pilot phase project on promoting the concept of volunteerism by training and building the capacities of young girls and youths to engage into volunteering so as to gain practical skills that increases their chances of gaining a job in the labour market. We make them to build leadership and career talents within the ambit of the SDGs. As such, we teach the goals in line with the program. We equally run many programs in secondary schools benefiting thousands of students. Through our volunteerism program we have been able to host and train three German Citizens here in Cameroon, namely Dana Elena Harms; David Altrath Jesse; and Vagt Luca who had the honourable opportunity not only to learn what we do but had an inside on the different cultures of Cameroon having over 250 languages making it Africa miniature.

For more about our programs and projects please visit our website: https: www.bridgersngo.org

Please join us and become our partner by supporting us financially so we can scale the impact of our work by funding other Grassroots Organizations which are committed in bringing social change in their varied various communities. 

As partners in development, your logo will feature in our website and in all our communication materials and from time to time we would promote your brand through our social media channels to increase your visibility by projecting your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) engagement in the world. 

We would equally provide you with necessary documents to enable you have Tax Reduction in your country for your charity donation for our work.

However, should you have any worries about establishing a partnership with us, please get in touch with us using the addresses on the letter head and we will respond as quickly as possible. 

Attached to this partnership letter is:

Our bank Account details:

Bank Account Details

Bank Name:                             National Financial Credit (NFC)

Bank Account Name:               Bridgers Association Cameroon

Bank Account Number:           10025 00043 36401066758 74

IBAN Number:                        CM2110025000433640106675874

Bank Swift Code:                    NAFCCMCY

Bank Address:                         P.O BOX 6578 Yaounde Cameroon

Please, Accept our Best Regards and with Gratitude.                        

     Sincerely Yours,                                           

            General Coordinator and Co-Founder  (Bridgers Association Cameroon)

                AZAH JACKLINE CHEY.