CAMEROON — Cameroon, a young country located in in the Sahel region of Central Africa, has struggled to modernize and develop due to poor infrastructure and other issues. Even before independence, Cameroon has been a source of coastal trade in the region, but the interior of the nation has significant structural problems. There are few roads leading from rural areas to city centers, which have led to a high unemployment rate of 30 percent due to the fact that there is limited access to high employment areas.
As a consequence, an estimated 48 percent of the country’s population lives below the poverty line — an accurate representation considering 55 percent of the nation’s poor live in rural areas with few access points.
Poverty Alleviation and Resource Creation
Organizations such as the Heifer Project have realized that the most important step towards poverty alleviation is job creation. The Heifer Project is an organization that brings livestock and farming to famine and impoverished areas.
For Cameroon, they are using their tool of livestock to revitalize the dairy industry by bringing resources to those who need them, and creating jobs along the way. Working with Cameroon’s government, Heifer has worked to help people in Cameroon since 1974 and since their commencement, has helped 30,000 families!
In addition to the Heifer Project, The Water Project also brings resources to poverty-stricken families in Cameroon by addressing “the clean water needs of the rural population of Cameroon.” Finding access to clean water is another structural issue in Cameroon, where people often have to get water from muddy tributaries and rivers where they wash their clothes and bathe — all activities that increase the likelihood of disease.
Water-related sicknesses are more likely in areas where there is no electricity or a way to boil water. The Water Project distributes BioSand water filters in the region, and particularly to the Nkuv population, so they can have access to this fundamental human right of clean water.
Disadvantaged Populations and Social Works Projects
Other organizations move beyond resource development and work to help individuals in Cameroon live their lives. Foundation Help Cameroon understands that access to clean drinking water is important, but they also expand their scope to rights of handicapped or disabled persons and the right to pursue education. They bring in local celebrities to provide access to music and culture and religious services, as well as to work with public school leaders to bring education to rural areas.
Showing children and adults alike a world beyond the daily struggle for resources is important in both developing a nation, and making citizens happier and healthier. Other community outreach activities include bringing people together to enjoy each other’s company, usually through the world’s game of soccer.
The way to help people in Cameroon is to develop and modernize the nation’s infrastructure and bring resources to remote areas. Options to increase development include donating to trusted nonprofits listed above (and other nonprofits that operate in Cameroon), or to volunteer on the behalf of the Cameroonian people. The path forward is difficult, but by no means hopeless, especially with the help of devoted citizens of the world.
– Rachael Blandau