Handicrafts and Appropriate Technology

Cameroon Blog

Farming for future

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Aaron Kaah

The gift of a dairy cow can change the life of a family. Lukong Cyprian was a proud recipient of a Heifer Cameroon pregnant purebred Holstein dairy cow through his Dzekwa multipurpose farmer’s society in 1997. The animal transformed not only the dreams of Cyprian in to a reality but those of his loved ones, the widows and orphans he helps provide milk for, and the many boys he employs to works on his farm fields for an income at the Vekovi village in Jakiri sub division, Some 85KM from Bamenda, the capital of the North West Region in Cameroon of West Africa. Today Cyprian is a fulfilled husband, a model farmer and social entrepreneur.

Before benefiting the assistance in livestock training and donation, Cyprian, his wife Relindis and four children, lived in a mud brick three room houses with dirt floors, a licking roof and with limited house hold equipment. “We used the seating room as our kitchen” Cyprian recalled. Like every one in the village they farmed for a living with hoes and cutlasses. In search of change Cyprian and his friend Philip Sahwai decided to form the Dzekwa Multipurpose farmer’s society but did not have the skills or motivation needed to brave the poverty storms. “I was doing completely nothing at that time” he said at the time. To provide for her family Cyprian’s wife Relindis hustled the best she could - buying and selling gari (cassava by-product) to feed her family through long distant villages. Cyprians attempts to fight poverty saw him applying for a teaching job as a contract teacher in 1991 on a minimal salary of 12$US a month. “Life for me and my family was senseless” Cyprian cried at the time. His mother was battling a life threatening stomach problem, his children were suffering from malnutrition-lack of school needs and painfully without any means to afford medication, epilepsy was eating the life of one of their kids. In the late 1992 Cyprian and his friend Philip, the two pioneer members of Dzekwa Multipurpose farmer’s society heard of Heifer Cameroon and contacted them for assistance. In 1993 Heifer Cameroon responded positively. The first step involved the farmers being trained on rabbit management. Next, Cyprian and Philip are given two rabbits each. Dreaming of a renewed life Cyprian formidably transformed his Heifer trainings in to action and steadily diversified in to poultry farming in 1995.

In 1997 Heifer Cameroon retained Cyprian’s group for a dairy farming project. Cyprian took trainings on livestock management and manure use, Heifer 12cornerstones of love and sharing, gender equity, home sanitation and hygiene and HIV and AIDS awareness campaign in readiness to receive an animal. On August 15th 1997, Heifer Cameroon rewarded Cyprian with a purebred Holstein dairy cow for his sense of commitment and determination. Cyprian and his family willingly submitted their might in to the project, respecting their course prescriptions to the latter. “What I couldn’t dream of in my life became a reality” Cyprian said beaming with smiles. From the dairy, Cyprian milked the unthinkable success for his life and family. The milk from the cow is consumed by his family, shared with close and distant love ones and neighbors and marketed for extra income in the near by markets.

Today Cyprian and his wife have achieved in few years dreams they never thought of in their lives and community. They have landed property and many vegetable farms fields. Contrary to the past Cyprian now earns 200$US monthly from the sells of food crops and milk by products. “I have a well furnished 7 room house constructed with income from dairy” Cyprian said. Cyprian’s family has afforded standard household equipment like a TV set, and seating chairs. Their children have being through college and one of the kids Emily once devastated by epilepsy is strong and healthy and her treatment is afforded thanks to the income earned from the farms. “My mother survived a serious stomach operation thanks to income form the project after many years in pain” Cyprian said rejoicing to tears after having spent 400$US for her mother’s surgery. Through the dairy project they can now afford three square meals, and reach out to the needy in their community with milk, food and counseling.

Cyprian has curbed idleness by employing some youths in his community. He has counseled them to start livestock projects of their own with the cash they are earning, to save for rainy days and betters ways of expanding their activities for more income, to work in collaboration with their wives and children and to know their HIV and AIDS status.

With good social and financial plans for their family and community, Cyprian and his wife Relindis see their love growing and their confidence to tackle any obstacle is overwhelming. “I agree with my husband before we carry out any thing in the family” Relindis said. The couple have a joint account worth 300$US at the local credit union.

Since 1997 Cyprians dairy has blossomed with 11offspring. He has gone to the market with 5 animals including his first joyful Passing on the Gift in 1999, to Wirnkar Tata to widen the cycle of hope. A Heifer prescription. Wrinkar had also relayed this good will gesture to another struggling family in 2003.

On behalf of Cyprian and his family, the needy and orphans he shares his love with, the youths he as given hope and the developments projected he has initiated and piloted, the village head of Vekovi Fai Waikov had sent Heifer Cameroon these words “I thank you from my heart for giving us the hope that we can succeed after years of frustrations”.


posted by S A J Shirazi @ 7:00 PM, ,

US Ambassador to Cameroon visits Heifer

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The excitement in the close knit mountain village of Vekovi was total, as farmer groups, civil and traditional authorities in the sunset of April 12th 2011 overwhelmingly turned out to welcome the US ambassador to Cameroon Robert P Jackson on a visit to Heifer Cameroon sponsored Projects in the area. The US Diplomat who was accompanied by his wife, the political and economic adviser to the US embassy in Cameroon Mikael Cleverley was taking his first trip through Heifer sponsored projects in Cameroon’s North West Region since taking office in October of 2010.

The Diplomat started his day visiting individual farm families and was brought face to face with the new opportunities that Heifer sponsored projects were carving for these families. These farm families in the company of their close relatives and friends authoritatively scooped through their success stories, as they confidently talked about Heifer donated animals, improved nutrition, available income from the marketing of animals and food crops and lost gender stereotypes in their midst and the values of Heifer corner stones. “I have surplus to feed my family to day as a result of the project” Ngong Lazarus told the Diplomat brandishing one of his seedlings who recovered from ill health as a result of improved nutrition like a wining card. Another farmer Sahwai Philip had a phenomenal movie like display with his bull in prove of the endless relationships these families had forged with their animals. The diplomat exalted the farm families for putting their abilities to test and remained them, that by continuously working together they could achieve lasting goals for their families and community.

There was no limit to the open excitement at the village community hall under construction where the Diplomat and his entourage were later received by a cross section of the population. In a welcome address to the diplomat, the three farmer common initiative groups (Dzekwa Multipurpose, Hill to Gardening and Integrated Farming Common Initiative Groups in the area recalled that their friendship with Heifer Cameroon started in 1993 when the Dzekwa multi purpose Initiative group which started with two initial farm families and later metamorphorised to a dairy cooperative over the years was identified for assistance. From the adventure these initial farm families benefited from Heifer Cameroon’s knowledge of animal rearing, and donation. A daring need for change saw these farm families immerging in to dairy farming and food crop production. Their result was not only full bellies and cash for extra spending but the formation of two other common initiative groups over the years. As a fitting tribute to their dedication these two groups have a total membership of twenty five farm families with sixty five animals in their keeping after having sold twenty five animals for extra cash and had since respected the Pass on the Gift commandment with two animals. The speaker talked to the ambassador about their extraordinary achievements like the education of their children, the construction of a community hall, modern houses, environmental protection and self employment for the youths within the community. “These groups were indebted to Dan West, the Heifer Project International Founder” the speaker said, a man immortalized in their hearts like a generous friend with a wonderful spirit for having planted a seed of love to make poverty and misery a dream in the world of theirs.

From the outburst of individual testimonies that followed, almost every farmer had the liberty to send a word of thank you back to Heifer International donors in the United States of America through the Diplomat “We will continue to pray your own families’ good luck and peace”, Ngoran Emmanuel said. The manner in which these men and women who labored on their farm fields, the best they could spoke of Heifer Cameroon’s love story could melt even a stony eerie heart. To most Americans, these people have nothing but their wealth and inner joy is more than any one can ever imagine.

Responding to the plethora of best wishes to the American people, HE Robert Jackson P traced the deep commitment of his family in contributing to the work of Heifer International around the world to many years past. The Ambassador said he was grateful to see “farm families making the best of a great idea”. The Diplomat thanked the people of Vekovi and their leaders for the compelling social networking that brought about a stronger and healthy community. HE Robert Jackson while pledging to make more Americans aware of Heifer Cameroon’s work, called on the farm families to stay undefeated in their quest for a better world. “I pray that the animals will be a blessing to the community not only now but for the great future to come” he concluded.

The Vekovi community is some 85KM from the hustle and bustling of Bamenda, the North West Regional capital in Cameroon. It is in these fertile slopes that some fifteen thousand subsistent farmers made of Mbororo’s, Muslims and indigenous people live and toil side by side. Their continuous hopes for a better world depend on their benefactors, millions of miles across the Atlantic Ocean.


posted by S A J Shirazi @ 2:33 PM, ,

Plant a tree

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Aaron Kaah

The Cameroon ministry of environment and nature protection on June 17 planted over 1.7 million trees in the far north region of Cameroon as part of activities to mark the 17th edition of the day to combat desertification in Cameroon. The far north region of Cameroon is the most populated of the country with a surface area of 34000 square KM miles. Unsustainable land use systems and climates changes have made the region prone to poverty and misery. Speaking during the tree planting exercise the minister of the environment and nature protection Halle Pierre pointed out that bush fires, deforestation and grazing were the root causes of poverty in the region. The Gov’t representative called on the locals to plant trees so as to fight the encroaching Sahara desert around the Lake Chad basin home to some eight million people striving near famine conditions. The minister also underscored that plans were already envisaged to provide schools and farmer organizations with trees seedlings in the region.

The far north region of Cameroon is part of the Lake Chad basin and over the year’s unsustainable land use systems and the climate changes has put the region in to a mess. Famer’s plant too often and very densely making the soils exhausted. The encroaching sand dunes of the Sahara desert have leave food crops on the farm field like dry sticks. Many people in the region are always on the move in search of hope and water. Tensions flare as the villages tussle for water and grazing land simply because the resources are very limited. With the growing populations, life seems to be coming to a standstill. In a video produced on the far north region by Heifer international Cameroon called crying for water, the video predicted that the worst was yet to come, as only 3% of the household had access to potable water. A cholera epidemic has killed dozens of people in the region already. It is hoped that schemes like tree planting will not only mitigate the climate changes but will help repair the land on which the villagers depend on.


posted by S A J Shirazi @ 2:31 PM, ,

Sahr Lebbie visits Cameroon

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Aaron Kaah

In the northern Region Prof, Sahr visited individual farm families and had the opportunity to discuss with the farm families, what Heifer sponsored projects had influenced their lives. Women who had irked a living from almost nothing, talked to Sahr about how Heifer trainings on animal rearing, gender equity had uplifted their lives. Evaluating with the farm families the benefits they were enjoying in terms of wealth and social cohesion with regards to those families not assisted at all in the communities, Sahr was thrilled by the resilience of women most especially to fortify themselves with food and income their animals provided against poverty. Prof, Sahr urged the families to be devoted more than ever, to their goals so as to accomplish more than ever before. The farm families also talked about their dreams for the future like the continuous education of their female children and believe in Heifer corner stones. In the northern regions of Cameroon over used farm land, the alarming scarcity of water coupled with the climate changes has pushed the region in to a desert. Farm families strive for years just to coax a minimum living in this fragile atmosphere.

Your browser may not support display of this image. Your browser may not support display of this image. In the Northwest Region, Prof, Sahr toured the homes of some Heifer beneficiaries of farm inputs and animals. In the Bamendakwe village, where some 32 farm families after receiving 32cows at the start of the project now keep 75, after marketing some,- the farm families amazingly talked about how fresh milk had improved their health conditions, how much healing and hope the project was giving to impoverished friends and relatives in the community. The farm families shared their stories of self reliance and displayed their new assets as proceeds from the project. Boasting of cooking with a biogas energy system in their home, a couple Suh Robert and Suh perpetua thanked Heifer international for empowering them to make good use of animal dung not only for composting but for the generation of energy. This couple, pioneers of this Heifer assisted initiative in their community told their guest how the Biogas energy void of smoke make cooking for them enjoyable and helped them to reserve and protect their forest trees a means of loving the earth. “Community members envy us” Suh perpetua the wife remarked. Prof, Sahr acknowledged their courage and spirit to inspire their community with words of congratulations. The vice president for the Africa program listened to some of the families talk about their joy of passing on the gift of livestock to other struggling farm families- as others prayerfully waited for their turn to relay this animal chain of love and sharing. In every home he visited Prof; Sahr remained the farm families that the “passing on the gift” gesture was the essence to any Heifer programs.

In a working sessions with Prof Sahr and Cameroon country director Henry Njakoi the farm families and leaders of the various cooperative groups in the communities thanked Heifer over and over for the help they had received in the form of animals and farm inputs. They shared the benefits of buried gender stereotypes and how organic farming was rewarding their untiring efforts and the community, despite changes in the weather patterns. The scarcity of grazing land and the high supply of milk without a steady market were some of the issues the leaders of the cooperatives grappled with, as they trumpeted their new found fortunes in the project. The vice President for the Africa Program called on farm families and their cooperative leaders to re-strategize their commercial links so as to resist the temptation of running out of business. The vice president pledged his support to establish a research data with the aid of the Cameroon country project so as to show how imported Dairy products were wrecking the local markets and the efforts of animal farmers in Cameroon. Prof, Sahr called on the cooperatives to act as a group, because unity gave them a voice not only to change their lives but to lobby existing legislature in their own favor. “You can take a horse to the stream but you can force it to drink water” Prof Sahr told the farmers. He thanked the cooperatives and the farm families for taking advantage of the opportunities that have been given to them by Heifer. The Heifer representatives told the cooperative groups and their leaders that their individual and collective achievements were best ways of reciprocating the good will gestures of Heifer donors around the world.

Prof, Sahr’s working visit to Cameroon ended in deliberations with the Heifer Cameroon staff. Before moving to the Little Rock Arkansas in the USA as the vice President for the Africa program, Prof, Sahr Lebbie was Heifer Cameroon’s country Director for five years.

posted by S A J Shirazi @ 2:27 PM, ,

News from Cameroon

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One person is reported dead and four others hospitalized after eating poisonous food in the out skirt of Douala in the littoral region of Cameroon. The five victims all belonging to one family ate poisonous fish caught with Gama line in a popular Cameroon dish called “mungo chobi” on June 8th 2011. This resulted to vomiting and dysentery. Before being hospitalized one of the victims had given off the ghost. The Cameroon ministry of livestock, fisheries and animals industries has called for vigilance and has asked on the local residence in the region not to eat fish products caught from doubtful sources. According to a CRTV Douala reporter, poverty and misery has caused most Cameroonians business fellows in the out skirts of the city to resort to silly ways of making income like the marketing of poisonous food item toignorant citizens. This incident is coming at a time when cholera out break is sweeping across Cameroon.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 10:29 AM, ,

Human Crisis

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Aaron KAAH

An emotionally riveting account of human suffering in the contemporary world has being nailed down in a 92 page book by the chaplain of Mbingo Annex Baptist hospital Kengok John Ngokse in Bamenda Cameroon. The book that was dedicated and launched recently at a local Baptist church in Bamenda brings to bear the hope beneath human suffering in a world wrecked by trials, illness and afflictions’. According to this budding writer and prelate this book is intended to highlight the biblical view of human suffering and the how the world can turn to God in search of hope and mercies in their trials. Pastor John’s use of personal pronouns gives the reader an unquenchable test to peruse the pages. 

The writer takes his inspiration from his CBC health service ministry where he has  worked for decades as counselor for the HIV and AIDS victims. His personal daily encounters with clients in pains and tribulation caused by HIV and AIDS brought about the project. In a simple and testimonial style the man of God points to the cross of Christ Jesus as the only saving arms that can redeem human pain and suffering. Dedicating the book the Rev, Pastor Sam Jato of the RBC Bamenda, exalted the author for being a touch bearer of hope and love to a devastated world. He called upon Christians and the readers to give the book meaning by living its prescriptions and recommendations. A prayer of thanks sanctioned the heavily attended service.

Pastor Kengok John joined the CBC health service as chaplain in 2001 and has served in many capacities. He holds a BA in theology of education from the ECWA theological seminary in Jos. He is married and has four children. 

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 10:10 AM, ,

Look at my ring

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Hip hop jewelry has taken over the world of fashion in a big way. Every one seems to be be making personal fashion statement with hip hop jewelry. Like everyone else,  I am always interested in hip hop trends.  In an effort to fine out the latest, I was looking for fashion jewelry wholesale online when I came upon Rinadon.com - USA based wholesaler that offers a rich collection of hip hop jewelry wholesale. The collection defines western fashion trends and what people who like style are using. I liked many handbag and Twelve Crystal Shamballa personally. Some more items are on my on my wish list for as a gift to someone who is special to me. Those who are interested in latest hip hop jewelry wholesale must explore the site and see what they offer and how. Also have a look at their perfect personal accessories that can make any one stand out among the crowd.

Wholesale Rinadon.com is a leading wholesaler and distributor. People who like latest fashion trends and styles in Hip hop jewelry wholesale already are familiar with the neatly laid out site and look for best and latest in jewelry must see what is featured there. Explore the site and see what they offer for you. You will find the best satisfaction for any taste and style. What else, I want that Natural Shell Stretch Ring now.

posted by S A J Shirazi @ 9:41 AM, ,

World environment day in Bamenda Cameroon

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Aaron Kaah

The center for appropriate technology steals the show on world environment day in Bamenda Cameroon. Activities marking the world environment day took place in Bamenda Cameroon on June 6 th 2011 at the Bamenda commercial avenue ground stand with the north west governor Abakat Ahamat calling on the environmental stakeholders to give the environment and forest maximum protection and sustainability. The state man said a healthy environment was a prerequisite for a healthy community. The governor charged the environmental regional delegates present at the event to give the theme Forest: Nature at your service mportance by preaching the importance by checking excess human activities on the environment. He explained that the best tool against the adverse effect of climate change was to keep the environment safe by planting trees and flowers.

In an exhibition on the alternative ways of protecting the forest and environment, the center for appropriate technology under the Director Njini Victor exhibited a bio gas facility sourced by pig droppings as a cheap means of providing energy for cooking and domestic usage in the rural communities where dependence on the environment and forest was dominate Mr. Njini stole the day as he also exhibited a solar parabolic cooker that absorbed energy from the sun for the cooking of rice and mushroom during the event to the amazement of all and sundry. Mr. Njini called upon the government services to make good use of the technology which according to him was cheap and affordable and the best efficient way of energy management. Whileanswering questions from the press and the public, the Director of the center for appropriate technology (CAT) explained that h is dreams were to link the rural communities in Cameroon with this simple but powerful tool that could energize the protection of the forest and environment. He said the task of CAT was to link the theme of the event to the practical solutions of environmental sustainability. Other exhibitors showcase the importance of grafted economic trees as other ways of protecting the environment and forest. A match past by environmental associations and a musical concert on the theme ““One more tree now” also spiced the event. The United Nations has declared 2011 as the international year of the forest to shine the light on the significance of protecting the environment and forest.


posted by S A J Shirazi @ 7:07 PM, ,

Aaron Yancho KAAH - Our Contributor From Cameroon

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Aaron Yancho KAAH is a Cameroon journalist with more than ten years of experience in the fields of FM broadcasting, television and online publishing. Aaron is recipient of two international awards (the George Atkins Communications Award, Ontario Canada and the (CTA) Technical Center for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation-Community Media Award, Brussels).

His focus is on promotion of agricultural and environmental development through reporting in Africa.

Aaron has also worked on policy advocacy in Cameroon to keep journalism high within the framework of the civil society movement. At the moment he is a communication consultant for development organizations in Cameroon.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 6:20 PM, ,

Breast Ironing

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Breast ironing is a widespread well established cultural practice in Cameroon. It is also practiced in countries such as Guinea-Bissau, Chad, Togo, Benin, and Guinea. Breast ironing is the massaging and pounding of young girls' breasts at puberty with hot objects such as kitchen knives, traditional sticks, pestles and bananas. The object is to stop the breasts from growing so as to limit early marriages or stop sexual advances from men. Most perpetrators of these acts, elderly women in the villages have advanced several reasons for this. For this group of women a girls breast is only suppose to be seen if she is ripe for marriage and anything short of this is a crime.

In the widikum community in North West Region of Cameroon an old woman is not shy to expose her breast as a prideful sign of passing through the breast ironing ritual in her teenage age successfully. There are already well established female mobilization forces in these communities solely responsible for the ironing of breast. During the exercise mostly performed at night, the perpetrators and their host sing a high pitched tune “to make the operation nicer”.

More than two million girls in Cameroon have faced a breast ironing night. Victims who are ready to comment on the act report that the effects of breast ironing are painful and cause a lot of psychological and emotional stress in them. Young men in rural areas may refuse to marry women who have experienced breast ironing. Victims (girls) are left with horrific testimonies. Some of them today already mothers look back with anguish and deep revulsion.
Today, many NGOs in Cameroon are raising awareness on the effects of breast ironing. The Association of Aunties which works for the emancipation of single mothers with support from the German technical cooperation for development (GTZ) in Cameroon and the Center for Human Rights and Peace Advocacy (CHRAPA) with assistance from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Bamenda, Cameroon advocate that breast ironing is a social injustice and should be punishable under the Cameroon law. But those who carry out this cultural practice say they do not intend to inflict pain on their victims.

Today on our program, two experts (Host 1) A representative from the ministry of women’s empowerment and the family in Cameroon. (Host 2) Mr Jamils Richards a humans Rights activist. Both experts sitting as host will examine (breast ironing) as a cultural and traditional practice in Cameroon and how it affects young girls, our sisters, mothers and Aunties.

That's right. We know that some cultural practices involve violence against women. As rural areas become more integrated with urban centers, many of these practices are now being highlighted. A group called the Association of Aunties works for the empowerment of single mothers in Cameroon. Recently, they stated their opinion that, although breast ironing is a widespread cultural practice in the country, it leaves young girls with psychological stress and physical pain.

First, let's explain what breast ironing is. Breast ironing is the massaging and pounding of the developing breasts of young girls to prevent them from growing. Many elderly women in the villages see breast ironing as the best way to prevent their daughters from prostitution and early marriages. These women argue that breasts which develop quickly are a sign of juvenile delinquency and must be checked. Hot objects like sticks, warmed bananas, kitchen knives and pestles are used.

One in four girls in Cameroon has experienced breast ironing. It is practiced in all 10 regions of Cameroon, and is most prevalent in the Littoral province, where a survey found that more than half of girls had undergone the practice. More than half of the cases of breast ironing were performed by mothers. Most of the victims are left with physical pain and emotional stress. They are also left with black spots and wrinkles on their breasts. In many communities, there are women who are experienced at breast ironing and are paid to carry out the act. The payment is often salt, wood and palm oil. It is painful that though these girls are exposed to Ironing, the high rate of prostitution which their perpetrators want to reduce is still very visibly rampant. Most of these victims still get pregnant at teenage ages; even from old men who are suppose to protect them and to send them to school.

A girl by the name of Manka’a Sirri Ngum , from the Bafut community of northwest tribes in the grass field of Cameroon has bad memories of breast ironing. The experience left her with marks on her breast. She later developed breast cancer. She remembers the flattening of her breast with a hot steel kitchen knife. She hardly can with hold her tears. The operation left her in great pain. Her frustrations were intensified when she later lost a breast through surgery to remove the cancer. Manka’a remembers that her mother later mistook the growing cancer in her breast for an evil spell which could only be eliminated through more ironing. Now Manka’a is ready to speak out against all odds in the village.

Host 2: Changing this cultural norm will take time and education. In the regions of Cameroon where breast ironing is practiced, those who defend it as a cultural practice say they have no intention of inflicting pain and psychological stress on the girls. But resistance by girls to breast ironing is often seen as rebellion against established village traditions and rules. As a result, most of these young innocent girls suffer in silence

Host 1: The Association of Aunties has said that any act which is against social justice, whether it is a cultural, traditional practice or not, is against Cameroon law. They are working with the victims to mitigate the practice.

Host 2: According to Dr. Nick Ngwayam, a surgeon at the St. Louis Clinic in Bamenda the Northwest Region of Cameroon, very often the developing tissues in the breast are expanded and destroyed by the heat applied in breast ironing, first, because it is done in a harsh manner. This according to Dr Louis, attract lots of problems during child bearing that may result to poor breast feeding habits or the none flow of breast milk after delivery at all. This medical doctor says can lead to serious consequences in child bearing and upbringing.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 1:33 PM, ,

News from Cameroon!

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Aaron Kaak

One person is reported dead and four others hospitalized after eating poisonous food in the out skirt of Douala in the littoral region of Cameroon. The five victims all belonging to one family ate poisonous fish caught with Gama line in a popular Cameroon dish called “mungo chobi” on June 8th 2011. This resulted to vomiting and dysentery. Before being hospitalized one of the victims had given off the ghost. 

The Cameroon ministry of livestock, fisheries and animals industries has called for vigilance and has asked on the local residence in the region not to eat fish products caught from doubtful sources. According to a CRTV Douala reporter, poverty and misery has caused most Cameroonians business fellows in the out skirts of the city to resort to silly ways of making income like the marketing of poisonous food item to ignorant citizens. This incident is coming at a time when cholera out break is sweeping across Cameroon. Across all the regions of the country scores of people have been reported dead. The epidemic started three months ago in the far north regions where 120 died and was blamed to inadequate sanitation and hygiene facilities as well as the poor living conditions of the locals. Despite attempts by the Government to contain the crisis, the epidemic is going out of hand crushing many to dead in the country’s remote areas like Fumbot where 8 have perished. . In the north west Region five people have so far died from one family after exposing themselves to the corpse of an affected victim that was imported in to the village from the south west region and over 40 affected by the disease in the Bafut area some 10KM from the Bamenda the capital city of the region. Doubtful water sources and uncontrollable movement of the affected victims is the root cause of the rapid wide spread. 

Plan Cameroon international has singled out itself in the fight against the disease by donating chlorine water and other technical equipment to contain the situation. With the fast approaching rainy season, the ministry of public health has gone on a swift campaign to keep the disease at bay. The washing of hands with soap has being prescribed. The marketing of food items like yogurt and milk by products had being banned in schools across some regions Serious financial provisions have also been made in all regional state hospitals to check the out break.

posted by S A J Shirazi @ 1:29 PM, ,

Network!: Pakistan’s First International Social Media Summit

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Related: Network!: Pakistan’s First International Social Media Summit keynote speech - Monetizing Your Social Media Space, Challenges; Making Money with blogging in Pakistan context, Calling Corporate Pakistan

posted by S A J Shirazi @ 12:42 PM, ,

How Safe are the Cameroon Roads in 2011

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Aaron Kaah

Official reports from the Cameroon ministry of transport say over 1256 people died on the Cameroon roads in 2010 as a result of road accidents and related incidents. Though the ministry did not say for certain what was the main cause of the road accidents, the communiqué went further to state that the Government was doing the best it could to avert the situation. Though early this year the Cameroon governments had banned inter urban transport vehicles from making night journeys into the country roads as a means of curbing road accidents, the syndicate of inter urban drivers retaliated saying the main cause of road accidents in Cameroon was the poor state of the roads and the bad faith of road safety officials in the execution of their functions not the night journey’s.

Foreigners to Cameroon have cried out aloud on the way public transport vehicles are over loaded with people and properties to in elastic limits in the country whose 60% of the roads are still earth ground. This becomes frightening as no road safety measures are taken to guarantee the safety of road users and passenger’s .In the peak periods of the year this becomes an order of the day as the drivers and their vehicle owners gamble to make gains at the expense of the population. Parking and off loading as they will with impunity. The few Inter urban roads are poorly constructed or hardly maintained and over speeding especially by the logging truck drivers who slalom in and out of the deep holes on the so called tarred roads in kribe –Douala, Tiko –Douala, Edea –Yaounde high ways is a big problem, The poor mechanical state of the vehicles is also mournful tale. It is not known in Cameroon at what age a vehicle is supposed to be imported. Vehicles plying the roads, some refurbished to look new continuously without good engines and pedal breaks are imported in to the country at high custom duties making it impossible for vehicle owners to think of purchasing new ones in to the country, the new a vehicle the higher the imported custom duty in Cameroon. Yet government officials run in the most sophisticated vehicles on their roads and some will testify that the roads are good partly because of the superb state of their cars; can they sale these vehicles to source income for construction of these road??

As any one drives around the country, it is common to see smashed up wrecks of trucks that had rolled in to a ditch or in to a big tree or head on in to one another but this doesn’t compromises the bright faces that use the road or the lesser fair altitude in the government officials who stand at road blocks to check the road users and their vehicles.

Along the Bamenda – Yaoundé high way the discovery is even scary, as vehicles flipped on their backs with their tires look in to the air, some with their wind screen shattered, and over all overwhelming frightful trucks, cabs that had rolled in to roadside buildings, all these specimens’ relate the sad story of a nations roads. More threatening is the appearance of fresh scenes on these roads daily. Of recent the road claimed 5 from a single family and a babies head was no where to be found in the wreckage. The pain and agony from the incident left that family paralyzed and the entire nation cold. Can this be at eye opener that the government is not doing enough?

It is also not known why the government has allowed these wreck trucks and vehicles to stay where and not even the sign boards that tell the public “five died here” can be a mercy. But on the whole one thing is clear that the roads in Cameroon are a dead trap and only vigilance on the part of the Cameroon government and road users can reverse the odds in 2011.

As the summer holidays echo, this is time for government to map out road safety strategies with the actors that are and to remain the drivers, some who are too addicted to alcohol that there is a thin line between enough and too much.


posted by S A J Shirazi @ 12:37 PM, ,

Bamenda Crimes

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Two armed bandits in the night of June 8th 2011 were shot dead in Bamenda Cameroon, by elements of the central police district. The two culprits were members of a gang on a wanted police list in the city. According to residence of the Foncha street area, panic gripped the neighbourhood when a fierce fire exchange ensued between the police and the criminals. Two of the victims dropped dead and were later identified as Akenji Pascal and Adakah Divine Fru. These boys in their early thirties had assorted identification papers, ammunitions and plenty of stolen cash on them. Speaking to the press shortly after the incident senior police constable Nsom Bende said they had received information of the fugitives and their operation through a tip up and then decided to confront. The police officers on duty were shocked by the gun skills of the criminals. Before their demise these fellows had wrecked many business firms in the city of Bamenda, one that fateful night carting away with 300,000fcfa. The suburbs of the Bamenda city is a no go zone these days at night but the police has vowed to wage a ceaseless war against banditry and fey mania.


posted by S A J Shirazi @ 1:29 PM, ,

Cameroon Radio Television News Feature Report

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Aaron Kaah

The centre for appropriate technology CAT based in Bamenda Cameroon has being making remarkable strides since 2001 in providing relatively cheap renewable energy sources to the local populations “CAT” focus on appropriate technology systems that are affordable, and within the techniques competence of the poor on the other hand enabling them to identify their needs and technical options. While CAT favour’s the use of local natural resources that can be exploited in small scale manner. The organisation networks with local councils, community’s schools and health institutions CIGs, government, civil society and companies to deliver and design appropriate technologies in Cameroon.

Today CAT’s dream has actually been coming true with the technical support provided by Prof. Nobert Pintsch and Dr. Senta Siller resource person’s from the senior expert service of Germany. The collaboration between CAT and SES of Germany over time has fostered the development of traditions and cultural specificities of certain villages, enhancing the value of production by hand of artistic creation and taught a chain of women groups and organisations in the central villages of the city of Bamenda that it is possible to alleviate poverty without money but, with the resource available around their livelihood. Prof. Nobert Pintsch and Dr. Senta Siller have combined their technical know how in the domain of appropriate technology and handicrafts to link CAT to other friendly projects in Germany, Pakistan, Iceland, Columbia, Greece help income generation projects in Bamenda like hand made dolls, necklaces dress making etc are having their products sold around the world. A project development in Handicrafts has also being envisage between (NOWECA) North West Crafts Association and centre for appropriate technology CAT by the SES expert to better the lot of the farmers.

CAT is also boasting of a CAT club in the Bamenda University of science and technology BUST; since 2002 . Prof. Nobert Pintsch has being offering short term courses to the students of that institution on appropriate technology, and which later culminated with the expert donating some dental equipment to the institution. There are all indications that things are not only changing for CAT, but for the people of the North West Province of Cameroon, who are today celebrating their cultures, life styles and artistic know how through handicrafts, toys and dolls. According to the CEO of CAT Njini Victor his institution has also witness and improvement in technical output though finances are needed to kick start many ventures. While CAT continues to look up to the senior expert service for aid, the hand dolls and toys produced by women groups in Bamenda have continued to portray that women in poverty anywhere in the world can use what they have to buy their way out of poverty.

posted by S A J Shirazi @ 2:50 PM, ,

The Post International

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Aaron Kaah

Opportunities are emerging everywhere around the world for the poor rural people who make life even without any change in the pocket. The possibilities for this new lease of life according to Prof Nobert Pintsch and Dr. Senta Siller of the Senior Expert (SES) in Germany arise from the enormous and unused potentials of these people and the need to use alternative technologies and method’s of constructions, based on traditional knowledge.

Today a social scheme based on self-help income generation has appeared at the door steps of these local people poor in less developed countries. Hand made crafts Dolls, and Toy’s in harmless friendly shape’s and seizes showcasing the traditional garments of their tribes and cultures are not only on exhibition, but on sale’s. This initiative carried and encourage by prof Nobert and Dr. Senta is helping to preserve the cultures of many tribes. The local people have also been taught to accept that setting up local crafts industry’s could be a good source of income generation for them. Today most of these dolls and crafts not only alleviate poverty for the concern’s but helps to market their artistic know-how, and cultures around the world. Without money for a start and a willing heart, the natural resources like bamboos, wood could get any person interested in craft to start up or a needle and piece of clothe to start a business in doll or toy making. Dolls from Bamenda – Cameroon market the rich multicoloured North West regalia of this part of Africa, while toys and dolls from Pakistan redynamise the image of that country that was once in ruins because of war..

The dolls of the world international network has already provided milk and honey to many people, and home’s and Hopes have being reconstructed with beauty and fashion today holding the keys to cultural heritages.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 2:48 PM, ,

Anjali Nayar in Cameroon

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Anjali Nayar with a group of soccer fans in Cameroon

During breakfast I was entranced by the Cameroonian jersey-clad dancers, rhythmically hip-thrusting their way across my television screen. It was the music video for local musicians Ebel La Gloire and Macha's latest song: "The Lions in the image of a lion."

"Let's go the Lions, the Indomitable Lions. You are the joy of the country. Cameroon is behind you," sung Macha in the first verse. Enlightening as much as it is entertaining. I've uploaded a clip of the music video to YouTube, so you can try your luck at the accompanying body vibrations.

I headed out on to the streets, where I waded in a sea of green, red and yellow soccer jerseys, shorts, tracksuits, caps, wristbands and bandanas and that is just the beginning.

In the sky above me, there was a billboard of Eto'o "reaching for greatness" (ostensibly greatness is a Guinness beer).

Read here and see images here.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 12:05 PM, ,

Inheriting Joy and Friendship

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Treating the study tour team to a hilarious welcome in a joint forum, the Bamendakwe Dairy Cooperative and the Unity Farmers Common initiative groups in electrifying voices and displays in their numbers radiated the open satisfaction and joy and in their hearts in reverend songs and dancing. In a welcome address to the August guest, the representative of the groups narrated the history of their love story with Heifer Cameroon in their community and said from 2002 the group members had kept over 78 animals, with some sold and others as POG. The speaker nailed down the benefits of the projects to improved nutrition and income for emergency spending. The representative decried the high cost of dairy inputs and low government subventions, fluctuating market for dairy products and the bottlenecks in the certification of dairy products in Community. In a discussion chat that followed, the farmers where challenged to continuously share their experiences in a bid to expand on their production and to seek advice where necessary from Heifer Project Cameroon.

In a brief address to the Farmers the leader of the day for the study tour team Bill Minton appreciated the farmers for their tremendous experiences that taught them practical experiences in family life, care for the earth and sharing and love. “We are grateful you improved your lives” he said. Bill explained that the valves of keeping animals were the same and productive any where. “Please stay focus and be patient, you are in the right direction” he ended.


posted by S A J Shirazi @ 6:24 PM, ,

Cameroon Assisted Farmers

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Aaron KAAH

The Santa Mbei community some 30km from Bamenda the capital of the North West Region of Cameroon was the neighbourhood with living proofs and testimonies from pig farmers as a US study tour team made of Elanco employees visited Heifer Cameroon assisted farm families and CIG’s on the 27th of may 2011 during a working tour to this community. The team understood in earnest what the animals had done in the lives of the farm families, their close relatives and friends in these communities, as they moved in to their homes and animal farms to access the impact of the projects. In a show of pride and wealth David Njei a Pig farmer who received Heifer pigs in 2007 talked the team down to his accomplishments and the training Heifer Cameroon had given him and his group members at the preliminary stages of the project. While showing the team his pen, David kept count of how much the animals had supported his family not only with compost for his vegetable garden where he farms carrots, green beans and garbage but income for the education of his children. ……..This looks really good” Lisa a team member said. Impressed on David’s project Marleen New said it was very interesting to know the farmer had invested in dogs like other livestock breeders in the community to protect his pigs from thieves that were once a threat to his project. “I’m also heart warmth because of the education of his children”Marleen concluded. In paying particular attention to the feeding and hygiene of the animals, Dr Gary Sexton sort answers on the fed composition from the couple and charged them to improve and concentrate more on the feeding and care for their animals and to avoid in breeding as a means of minimizing low productivity. “Nutrition is a big part of the project” concluded Kerry Keffaber. David and his wife have eight children and six are in school. He has bought new household equipment and now saves income in a local micro financial scheme for rainy days. David and his wife are members of the Mbei community forest common initiative group.

At the pig farm of Violet Atanga, a widow whose late husband had left with her seven children, two other widows and their children and a few farms to survive on, the team listened to her riveting testimonies of how Heifer Cameroon donated pigs and trainings had brought hope and relief to her household and how the knowledge gained was inspiring them (widows) to work together. “I received my animal (two sows and one boar) on June 30th 2008 and had finished my POG”….violet excited as she showed her farm to the group. Impressed by the housing facilities and the hygienic conditions around Violets animals as well as her POG, Courtney Knupp said the widows were inventive and improvised every thing HPI stands for. “With compost from the project I’ve improved the quality of my farm fields for excellent out put and sold animals for the education of my children and for the payment of health care bills” violet told her guest. Violet answered a few questions on her project, how she was coping with the fluctuating market trends. Grady Bishop praised the widow for her hard work and achievements and remaindered her that learning and sharing was key to success. Violet is a member of the Mbei struggling widow’s common initiative group with 45 members.

At the third stop over of the day Sama Emmaculate member of the Mbei community forest CIG -while leading the team round her pen with 4pigs burst out with testimonies on how the Heifer donated animals and mentorings had transformed her life and that of her sidings, “From the marketing of this swines we afforded other food items form the near by markets” she said. Mike Tockach questioned the hygienic and sanitation conditions of the pig farm and remained Emmaculate of the need to respect the basic feeding and sanitation valves in a bid to sustain her joy and comfort. The team paid particular attention to the feeding composition for her animals and listened to her vivid explanations on the breeding of the pigs. Next, the team was elated in the piggery of Comfort Afanyi member of the Mbei struggling women’s Common initiative group where a visibly healthy boar and two sows depicted good care for the pigs. Dr Fent Joe, Mike Tockach and Lisa took turns asking the farmer of her animal breeding pattern and the gains she had reaped from the project. Comfort referred to the income earned from the project as a “stitched in time that saved nine” she exalted Heifer Cameroon for coming to her aid and that of her group members after the dead of their husbands with animals and kindness. She attributed the education of her children and the affordability of three square meals for her family as fall over’s from the project.

At the village community hall were the team was later received by group members of the Mbei community forest and Mbei struggling women common initiative groups, the pomp and pageantry generated from the songs and dance to welcome the guest was over whelming. In a welcome address to the team by the leader of the two groups, the representative said Heifer Donated animals and trainings were a vital tool for the reawakening of group members as well as their communities. He said the hope harvested from the various projects stimulated good health, quality education buried gender stereotypes, environmental hygiene, love and sharing. The representative thanked the study tour team for coming to share in their experiences and for motivating them for greater achievements. In rapturous testimonies that followed from the group members, the widows said it was easy to forget the dead of their husbands with the birth of the projects in their communities. Some of the speakers told the study tour team that their miraculous recovery brought about constructed news homes for them and their love ones, spare cash and surplus food crops. Almost driven to tears, only melodious songs could translate the feelings of most of these women and men who at their best grappled with words, with which to thank Elanco and Heifer international donors back in the USA.

Responding to the CIG’s, Grady Bishop on behalf of the study tour team said the songs and the smiles in the groups told them how much fulfillment had come their way. “We are\separated by distance but we all have the same passion and benefits in rearing livestock” Grady told the audience. He appreciated the farmers for improving on their livestock, for POG and for the ability to work together. “We have been given a great gift and that’s what HPI has done in your lives and we pledge to tell your story back in our country” he concluded.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 6:10 PM, ,

Successful Dairy Projects

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Aaron Kaah.

A visit to Small Dairy Development Projects with the Bamendakwe unity and Dairy Farmers cooperatives was the task of an Elanco US study tour team to Heifer International assisted projects in Cameroon on the 30th of May 2011. The Bamendakwe village with some 65.000 people mostly subsistent farmers, some 15KM from Bamenda the capital of the North West Region of Cameroon was the community of attraction for the team.

In a visit to the Dairy farm of Akoh Anthony who had received Heifer donated animals and teachings in 2009, the team came face to face with the animal husbandry of the farmer and his family and how they were striving to improve and sustain the nutrition of their 3 animals with grass the available fed from their neighborhood.
Anthony told the team that division of labor in his family had facilitated the care for their cows. Asked about the care for the animals by Kerry keffaber, Bill Minton and Courtney knupp and how he fed his livestock, Anthony discussed to the best of his knowledge how he systematically constructed his pen, where he harvested grass and how strenuous it was at the initial stages before giving way to a more relaxed and rewarding project. The farmer told the guest about the group bull he was keeping and the hygienic precautions he took before and after milking his animals. “Keeping milk in high quality translated the trainings” Kerry said. “I have 5children and one had being through University thanks to the project” Anthony told the enthusiastic Guest. After joining the project in 2005 Anthony and the family have reaped enormous benefits like the marketing of milk and surplus food crops for extra income with which to run their family and send their children to school After receiving two animals (Heifer and Bull) in 2005 Anthony and his wife have raised five animals, sold one and POG with another. “Good care has an impact on the animals….. And making use of what they can afford from their environment is important” Kerry concluded.

At the next stop, Neteh Susan and her husband Max received the team with all smiles and walked them through their dairy project. The couple talked about their accomplishments and attributed seriousness and working together and the assistance from the Heifer Cameroon counselling to their new found hope in their community. “After receiving an animal in 2009 I now have 3animals and my POG is ready” Susan said. The proud couple talked about the education of their 7children with ease because of income saved through the project and a car Max now proudly rides in the community. Susan’s first daughter has graduated from a teacher training college as a state teacher, thanks owed to the project. “They can study any ever they want” she said. Before joining Dairy project, Max and Susan had been passionate pig farming for over 20 years but Heifer Cameroon guidance moved their project to a rewarding business. The couple told Mike Tockach, Dr Joe Fent, Gary Sexton and Bill Minton how the Heifer training motivated them to give full time interest and investment in pig farming. Showing the team compost gathered from the staples of the livestock Susan said their aims were to maximize food crop production. Apart from the income earned from going to the market with animals and food crops the family had diversified in to tapping palm wine (a local drink collected from palm trees in West Africa) and bee keeping in a bid to expand their wealth. Meticulously keeping their records in every activity s the couple jealously guided these records like wining cards and their guest did not resist leaving some valuable comments on some of the pages.

Receiving the guest at their residence George Ndifor and his wife Grce walked the team through their Dairy staple. These now model farmers had received a dairy cow in 2009 and by respecting Heifer Cameroon prescriptions to the latter, while doing the best they could as a couple successes came their way. “We named our first calf Joy and the second one a Bull Success” George told his visitors as he pointed to his Dairy proud fully. Asked why the names by Marleen New, George and Grace said the names translated the warmth in their hearts and the fulfillments in the project…….. “Nice baby calf”……Betsy Keffaber said smiling at the livestock. Since joining the Heifer Cameroon assisted Dairy project in his community George and his family had sold milk for over 200US Dollars, income with which they have seen their five children through various levels in school and renovated part of his livestock pen. One has graduated from the university with a degree an unbelievable achievement for the family.

Holding the hands of some of the tour members, George said “I’m grateful to the project and to you all, May God bless” he concluded. In the home of one of the project beneficiaries Ndetah Abigail and her husband Augustine the names of the dairy animals also brought the guest to the realities of their rewards in the project. Augustine and Abigail had named 4 of their 5 animals “Joy, happiness, Solomon and the Project”. As an extra ordinary achievement in the project a bio gas installation facility constructed in their residence for cooking and lighting portrayed this family as an ideal one in the community as well as in the project .while treating the team to the joy of the technology Mike Tockach was quick to note that this installed Bio gas facility was a fascinating improvement that made cooking enjoyable and family life comfortable. In a bid to know about the expansion of the skills and technology to other group members the team was told that plans were under way to share the knowledge with more farm families. One bio gas installation facility is priced at 1000US Dollars for its construction.


posted by S A J Shirazi @ 6:21 PM, ,

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