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Aaron Kah

Eyebe Marguerite 52 is a Heifer International Cameroon motivated farmer who received a gift of goats through her groupe des Femme Agricultrice et Eleveuse D’Efok in July 2008 in Obala Sub division some 48 km on the Yaounde – Bafia high way in Cameroon.
Marguerite is married to Eyebe Jean, 60 and they have nine children (3 girls and 6 boys).

Marguerite ended her primary education at her teens, because her parents were not interested in girl-child education. At the age of 17, in a bid to escape the tortures of poverty she got married to Eyebe Jean a secondary school teacher from another tribe in her sub division. Her husband’s meager salaries could not give them any better living. “Our main meal was cassava and starch” the woman recalled in distress at the time. Marguerite was not from the same tribe as her husband and that deprived her of social inclusion in the village. “I felt very inferior in the presence of other women as I hardly attended any meetings or gathering. I couldn’t express myself in public to tell anyone my situation” she lamented at the time. “In 1997 life became increasingly difficult” marguerite said.

Marguerite’s joined four Christian women to form a self help group as a best way of making ends meet. “We contributed 100FCFA (£ 0.14) from which members borrowed to purchase kerosene for lighting. We started farming maize on a 500 meter squares piece of land provided by the village head” the farmer said. The first harvest was 15Kg of maize. The group members shared the proceeds. “Because I ran the family alone this was not enough for our feeding” she believed. By April 2007, Marguerite’s group had increased to 20members (1man 19 women). “The same year, we met Groupe d’intiative Commune des Producteurs Vivrieres (PROV) that had benefited from (SACHIC) Send A Cow and Heifer International Cameroon assistance in 2006 and they gave us directives on how to get help. We applied and were lucky to receive assistance from SACHIC in July 2008” the farmer recounted.

Heifer International Cameroon brought Marguerite and her group member’s capacity building lessons on leadership and group dynamics, goat husbandry techniques, community animal health care, ethno veterinary practice, gender equity, construction and use of bio-sand filters, and non violent conflict management. Marguerite and other 19 members each received four goats, agricultural seeds and farm tools as an encouragement to put the knowledge in to practice. “My husband out of curiosity attended the training on gender equity” she said. The teachings inspired the man to support his wife in all their farming activities. Their children emulated this example and were supporting their parents in every way. In severely cultivating and composting their farm--- the couple harvested 1.5tons of maize as against 850kg, one ton of cassava as against 4500kg and 1750kg of vegetables as against 360kg. “Our nutrition had greatly improved in quality, quantity and variety” Marguerite said. Marguerite went to the market with the food crops and made income beyond her wildest dreams for their children school fee, hospital bills and emergency spending.

By dialoguing with her husband, Marguerite gained her freedom of social inclusion in the community.” I was able to attend several workshops, trainings on Bio-sand water purification and exhibitions organized by SACHIC within and out of Efok community” the farmer said. These trainings brought the woman a wealth of experience. She was the lone resource person in her community who spear headed the installation of the Bio sand water filters. The couple is also skillful in the processing of cassava by products. Their fame has gone beyond their community. Marguerite from her experiences had resumed many responsibilities in her community, she is secretary in Groupe d’innitiative commune des Femme Agricultrice et Eleveuse D’Efok and president of a conglomeration of 11 common initiative groups, and a social network under the National Participatory Development Programme in charge of family welfare. “My husband bought me a cell phone to facilitate communicate with all my association members” she boasted.

Marguerite and her husband have daring plans to pass on the gift when time comes but have evidently shown their willingness to do so by sharing their food crops with the poor and needy.

“I wish to thank SACHIC so much for having made us come out of hunger, poverty and misery. My family will live to ever remember SACHIC”. Marguerite concluded.

Caption: Eyebe facilitating bio-sand filter training and installation in Abono Community member happily collecting pure water from installed filter

posted @ 10:45 AM,

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