Handicrafts and Appropriate Technology

Cameroon Blog

Grady Bishop

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Aaron Kaah

Grady Bishop, the Director Sales Marketing, Elanco Animal Health during his Cameroon visit.

Q What was the purpose of your visit?

Grady: To learn more about Heifer Cameroon projects and the impact on the lives of the people. We are also using this opportunity to share our expertise of swine production and to learn from the rich experiences of the Heifer Cameroon assisted farmers.

Q Who are those who make up your team?

Grady: Elanco Animals health employees, Pig veterinarians, Pig nutritionist.

Q You have visited individual farm families, what are your general observations?

Grady: The animals are clean and healthy and the evidence is that the people are happy and removed from poverty and we have seen that the quality of life in the homes of those assisted is much better than before.

Q How do you intend to solve some of the challenges these farmers have presented?

Grady: we will give presentations, do blogging, write articles and give out personal testimonies to our friends and families as well as our colleagues on the best solution to give back to these farmers in Cameroon.

Q What message are you leaving with these groups and farm families?

Grady: They are doing a very good job in taking proper care for their animals and on behalf of the team I exalt the farmers and the groups to continue the good work and our best wishes in the future.

Q What message are you taking along?

Grady: Heifer International is a very good organization for the work they are doing. The farm families and these communities have changed for ever. We have lived first hand experiences the impact of these animals much more than we could imagine. We have appreciated better health, pride, dignity and hope for the future. We are proud of the collaboration. Thank you.


posted by S A J Shirazi @ 1:34 PM, ,

A sight saving gift

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Aaron Kaah

Empowered to live a life of self sufficiency, Awunti Simon, 56, received Heifer International Cameroon gift of goats through his Fouh Mbiih Mixed Farming Group Finge in 2005 at Tubah sub-division, 25km from Bamenda capital of the Northwest Region in Cameroon. Though sighted, since 1997 Simon is an accomplished farmer.

Before getting Heifer International Cameroon donation Awunti Simon wrote the first school leaving certificate examination twice before passing in 1989; the man wanted of a sponsor. He went for “greener pasture” in the littoral region of Cameroon and in 1997, the unfortunate struck him. “I went completely blind” he burst in to tears at the time. With no financial means to sake a medical assistance, he retreated to his village “cap in hand” .The farmer got married twice. Simon’s first wife Agnes Nwain 37 divorced him for obvious reasons, (limited resources and his poor sight) leaving behind three children.

In 2004, the farmer got another wife for himself Emelda Nawanga 28, with whom they have four children. Simon’s poor sight made life for him and his 7 children incredibly hard. The family had a few farms but the stultifying effects of inter- tribal conflict in his area made their ever poor harvest precarious. There was nothing to influence the family’s choice of feeding. Simon and his family were a liability.

In 2004, Simon registered his membership with Fouh Mbiih Mixed Farming Group Finge with 11 members. The group members heard about Heifer International Cameroon from the Ngamte Dairy Produce and Marketing Cooperative Finge which had benefitted a Dairy scheme from the development organization. Motivated, Simon and his group members tabled an application to Heifer International Cameroon.

In 2005 Heifer International Cameroon came with a message of hope for the group members. First the group members were trained on goat barn construction, goat husbandry, how to improve their soil fertility with household residue, group leadership, gender equity and HIV and AIDS sensitization.

On the 5 June 2005 Heifer International Cameroon, aided each farm family with 5goats, farm tools and improved seeds. “Group members thought that because I was blind I was not going to construct a barn for my animal but I was the first to do that” Simon explained. Though Simon and his family had a tougher day in their farm than any group member, they tilled their field with perseverance and persistence “we harvested (Maize from 34 to 136kg, beans from 17 to 68kg, onion from 15g to 45kg, Cabbage from 400 to 800kg” the farmer said. Simon’s annual income jumped from 75,000FCFA ($167) to 245,000FCFA ($544) from the sales of food crops and livestock. With food crops the family feed three square meals and complemented their diets with other varieties bought in the neighboring markets. “Today we eat fish or crayfish on a daily bases. We eat rice regularly unlike before when we used to eat it only on charismas day” Emelda Simon’s wife said. “My health has become more stable due to good feeding and I longer visit the hospital like in the past” Simon rejoiced. “This income also provided my children’s school needs and our domestic needs, I was able to pay the school bills of my nephew Fabris Malayena (20) for the first time at the Cameroon College of Science and Technology (CCAST Bambili” Simon bragged. Simon and the family were also able to hold a memorial service in honor of his late father in-law in 2008. Simon his wife Emelda have extended their sleeping house and have provided it the best facilities they can. “With income, in 2007 I passed on the gift of livestock at 85000FCFA ($188) to another resource limited farm family within my group.” Simon remembered. Sharing, love and care are the watch words of Simon and his family. The farmer has assisted and passed on the gift of knowledge to 14 farmers within his community.

Though, sighted Awunti Simon, his family believed Heifer International Cameroon brought them a sight saving gift to light their path to prosperity. “Today, I have succeeded even without my eyes,” he said with laughter. The Heifer International cornerstones are their source of strength and comfort.


posted by S A J Shirazi @ 1:57 PM, ,

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