Since July 2016, BERUDA has reached out to just short of 100 women in Nwa area DONGA MANTUNG DIVISION through a micro finance project named PROMIC. Through funds provided by SWISSHAND, women are being empowered with entrepreneurial and managerial skills and provided with startup capital (50,000 FCFA/90 USD per individual) at a very minimal interest rate. The plan is that in three years, the funds are repaid by the individuals and handed back to women’s groups. These women’s groups will have autonomy over the funds and maintain the sustainability of this revolving credit scheme.
In this way, the main money pool of each group will grow to the level where they will be able to empower other suitable groups in the same way. Nine groups of 12 members each are benefiting from the project in Nwa already. BERUDA plays a supervisory role to ensure sustainability. Currently seven more groups are awaiting disbursement of funds while many others are still to be categorized. One of the objectives of this project is to build capacities through trainings and follow-up evaluation.
Alleviation of poverty through sustainable income generating activities remains the mission that propels BERUDA to undertake these life changing projects. That is why despite many constraints, BERUDA has penetrated to the most enclave peripheries of North West Region. Projects similar to these have existed in Boyo, Mezam and Ngohketunjia Divisions since 2012 and have benefited over 300 women.
Building resilience in the community is BERUDA’s specialty. This is crucial for communities suffering from the effects of poverty, but even more important when communities suffer from disturbances like the crisis in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon that placed students in a blockade. Students have not been in school since November 2016 and for students that didn’t have relatives in the South to travel to, they stay on in the school zone and are vulnerable to unhealthy lifestyles and risky behaviors that can impact students' long term outlook for success.
In order for the BERUDA orphans as well as other vulnerable children to emerge stronger and more resourceful from this crisis, BERUDA came out with the initiative to organise a computer training program. Restricted by the number of computers available at BERUDA, eight students was the maximum we were able to enrol and these were staggered in two intakes.
The first four graduated on the 14th of August 2017 after going through almost 9 months training on Computer software like Microsoft applications, Outlook and other contemporary applications. They underwent a one month internship program and were finally evaluated to deserve diplomas. Hoping that schools resume in September, we believe that these students will go back to school richer in experience than they would have been if schools were ongoing.
At this point, we will continue with the last set of four but hope to continue the classes even after schools resume. In this way, the single mothers and other non-students in our target population will benefit from the training. Our only problem is the Computers on which they students can practise. We have just two computers and we can therefore carry just a small number of students. If we were able to afford additional computers, we could meet a wider number of beneficiaries.
In April 2016, BERUDA’S partners from the UK, Afri-Link, received funding from the Ramboll Foundation to construct a new agricultural centre in Fundong. BERUDA already owned a plot of land and the idea was to build a pig farm, biogas unit and fish farm there.
Part of the scope was to provide 100 pigs and pens. By fattening and breeding them, BERUDA will get a sustainable income to support its other work in the region. The pig dung is going to be put into a new biogas unit, from which the gas will be piped to local homes for cooking purposes; this will mean that families will not have to cook on open smoky fires. As a result we hope that many of the eye and chest ailments suffered, especially by local ladies, will disappear.
The solid waste output from the biogas unit can be used as fertiliser and also as feed for plants in a new fish pond, that will provide further income from the sale of Tilapia fish. As we have a good area for other activities, we are planting a garden and keeping other livestock such as goats and turkeys.
This is a great project and we thank the Ramboll Foundation for their help.
With a 600 pounds donation from one of our donors in Australia; Donna Stubbs, BERUDA installed a solar system in a church in a rural community in Fundong Sub Division.
This community with a population of about 2000 inhabitants living in isolated dwellings is without electricity and the possibility of having the national electricity line reach them even in a decade is just a wish. The community is mostly Christian and of the Baptist denomination. It would usually take people from Mentang a walk of more than one hour to get their phones charged and other equipment that needs electricity.
But that has all changed now with electricity being installed in the church where villagers are free to access. Henceforth, night-time activities can be carried out gloriously. They can also play musical instruments like the piano, a guitar and a band. More than 50 phones can be charged at a time. It can also be used to project movies. These are the uses excitedly enumerated by the villagers.
The solar system’s capacity is 200watts panel, 100Ah solar battery, 20Ah charge controller and 39watts inverter. We can reach out to more communities if the finances are available.