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“NGO goal: igniting action for development”
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“NGO goal: igniting action for development”

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Alphonse AkouyuSustainable development in a region of Cameroon is getting a boost from a British organisation, writes Alphonse Akouyu, 20, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Cameroon, as he describes his visit to projects and the communities they serve.

The 21st century has witnessed an increase in international development initiatives around the globe. Non-governmental organisations, foundations, charities and other good will groups are supplementing the efforts of governments worldwide.

Cameroon is also experiencing this growth in development initiatives by both international and national NGOs and charities. I have come to visit Reignite Action for Development (RAD), which is an international charity organization based in Bristol, England, with operations in Bambui, North West Region of Cameroon.

RAD was founded in 2012 by Mariana Matoso after listening to her parents Fernando and Teresa, who had travelled through the community, describe the problems faced by local inhabitants. RAD’s main goal is to assist in lifting African communities from poverty by using a multi-sectoral and holistic approach that values local and natural resources. Members want to deliver international development in a more concerted, sustainable and culturally respectful way by working along with the less privileged for a more human, social, economic and environmentally sustainable development.

After an overview of their objectives and the structure of the organization, I was taken to some of the projects they have been carrying out for the past two years. The first is an eco-tourism and craft centre, which promotes cultural heritage and the work of local artisans. It looked like a small museum and reflected some of the customs and traditions of the people. I had a glimpse of what life looked like for the older generations, in the company of creative work of arts.

Then it was time to have a look at the newly-created Accquor Water Kiosk, which purifies natural water with concrete and sand. The mechanism used is really innovative and modern. Customers of the water kiosk can have a healthy meal, with fruit and vegetable salad alongside naturally made juice on the menu. Still with regards to water, RAD runs the Hand Washing Sensitisation Project, which installed water supply connections and provided soap in 14 schools with over 3,000 school children and 15,000 villagers having benefited from this initiative. The widely-experimented tippy tap system has also been installed in partnership with volunteers from Engineers without Border UK. Teachers have received guidebooks on how to teach hand washing practices. Other projects also under way are in the fields of micro-finance, education and the environment.

This year, RAD launched the ‘Ngong Project’ in partnership with the Big Lottery Fund UK. The project aims to improve the livelihoods of 680 farmers and their families by professionalising and revitalising the village’s agricultural sector. They intend to do this by improving farmers’ agricultural skills and productivity, while at the same time developing their ability to reach larger and more profitable markets. The project would deliver an intensive agricultural and enterprise skills training program including livestock management, farm mechanization, pest control, organic farming methods, improved irrigation methods, improved soil management and crop rotation. It will also include training on organisational and business skills, risk analysis, micro-enterprise development, marketing, leadership, negotiation skills, numeracy and literacy training.

For this local community this is a timely August guest, given the dimension and the spectrum the Ngong project intends to cover during the course of the next two years. Project team leader Teresa de Sousa tells me “agriculture is very important in every economy and forms the backbone of the economy here in Bambui. We are grateful to our partners for assisting us with the funds required to carry out this new program and we hope the Ngong Project would lead to better economic opportunities for the local community while at the same time promoting sustainable development”.

The impact of RAD’s work has been appreciated by both beneficiaries and stakeholders, and more so by a good number of youths within the community now employed by different RAD programs. There seems to be no turning back on the part of this charity from Bristol as they see their dreams and aspirations turn in to reality, even if though they face stumbling blocks along the way. Bambui to them is home, and they continue doing this honourable assignment of contributing to sustainable development goals as they look towards the future with great expectations.

Photo: courtesy of Reignite Action for Development

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About me:

Hello everyone this is your friend Akouyu Alphonse from Bamenda located in the North West Region of Cameroon. I graduated from the Catholic University of Cameroon Bamenda after studying Banking and Finance. I hope to become a Business/International Relations expert.

My areas of interest are serving as Journalist especially on Sports (football) and societal issues aimed at inspiring people to believe in themselves and volunteerism.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit:
http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

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