Stichting Help Cameroon

The Foundation Help Cameroon: Strives to realize equal opportunities in Cameroon by facilitating access to clean water for primary school children, some key medical supplies for hospitals and medical/humanitarian support to social, physical and/or economically vulnerable groups. The coming 5-10 years the Foundation has prioritized the immediate support to help to ensure that our children, who are our leaders of tomorrow, all can get fair chance for a better future. Our immediate focus is on supporting existing primary schools and healthcare services in critical areas. But we are also facilitate self-help projects especially for women groups in terms of easier access to micro-credit faciliti...

Stichting Help Cameroon
Sumatrastraat 55a; 1094 LP Amsterdam; The Netherlands
Sumatrastraat 55a; 1094 LP Amsterdam; The Netherlands
Amsterdam, North Holland 1094 LP
Netherlands
+31645024976
http://www.helpcameroon.org

Board of Directors

Martin Koel, Alida Roskam, Huguette Samgot

Project Leaders

Huguette Samgot

Mission

The Foundation Help Cameroon: Strives to realize equal opportunities in Cameroon by facilitating access to clean water for primary school children, some key medical supplies for hospitals and medical/humanitarian support to social, physical and/or economically vulnerable groups. The coming 5-10 years the Foundation has prioritized the immediate support to help to ensure that our children, who are our leaders of tomorrow, all can get fair chance for a better future. Our immediate focus is on supporting existing primary schools and healthcare services in critical areas. But we are also facilitate self-help projects especially for women groups in terms of easier access to micro-credit facilities so that they are enabled to better take care of themselves. Of particular importance to us are girls and single mothers affected by HIV/AIDS many of whom, having dropped out of school, were driven by poverty into prostitution and now are trapped with their children in the hopeless situation. Here are our themes: Education for disadvantaged children - this is something that cannot wait. Access to safe drinking water - this reduces preventable diseases. Medical supplies for rural health facilities - boost morale of local professionals. Socio-economic projects - help the local people to better help themselves. Project Model The foundation Help Cameroon covers the above themes through project activities directly in rural communities. The foundation raises the funds or donations in the Netherlands and brings everything to Cameroon. In Cameroon the foundation is regularly visiting schools and public hospitals to see first-hand and discuss with local people and professionals what is needed. The fundraising and appeals for medical equipment and supplies are prioritized and guided by such on-going dialogue. Apart from mobilizing support for the schools and hospitals, the foundation also monitors how the donations are being used. Equally critical are the dialogues and debates are generated about some of the issues. For example, in exchange for medical equipment, the hospital commits to provide support for specific groups (e.g., those affected by HIV/AIDS, or pre-natal care for pregnant women). In many cases, the foundation also lobbies local or national government officials to get political support that are needed to locally support such efforts. The foundation Board of Directors decides program based on the results of the above collaborative process with local partners and stakeholders. Project development is therefore shaped by discussions with representative(s) of the target population, e.g., the director of the rural primary school or hospital. To build a water borehole the location and technique are discussed with the representative(s). For supply of medical equipment the list of required items is supplied by the rural hospital then a list of materials that can be provided to the hospital is sent in reply. Often many of the needed materials cannot be provided so the item list becomes very short. For a surgery the time, place and after care of the surgery are arranged in discussions with a doctor and with the patient (and his/her family or guardian). Project SWOT Analysis Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats of the program a)Strengths The projects are grassroots where whatever donations do make real differences in the lives of real persons and families. The project stakeholders do shape the project priorities and approaches. The priority placed on education of children, access to safe drinking water and supply of medical material are things which have been derived from processes that part of on-going dialogue between partners. The local ownership of the projects provides a very powerful basis for a respectful mutually beneficial long-term relationship amongst the partners. Whatever activities are started have excellent chance to be sustained by the people even if further funds are not provided. For example, until now communities have positively and enthusiastically engaged with us in the projects. Even after four (4) years our water boreholes are still functioning and provide safe drinking water. We have not had funds but always recommended that the communities do carry out water quality tests on a yearly basis, as recurrent quality tests has not been covered in our project costs. Often, they cannot pay for water quality tests. We therefore ensure they get short education programs on how to purify water, either by UV-radiation or by boiling of water before use. What we do create the basis on which local communities feel comfortable to proceed on their own. b)Weaknesses We are focusing on themes that supposed to be national priorities but for which the national government is unable or does not provide required support. It has therefore been difficult to secure required funds to do the things that we want to do because they are things which in principle are supposed to be provided by the government. Our funding has meant that most of the staff time is not paid for so key project activities are done on volunteer basis. This exposes the program to the risk of discontinuity when the volunteers cannot perform. Most donors are willing to provide funds for the projects but are reluctant to recognize the need for fully resourcing the core staff that make the work possible. Future project budgeting will need to properly include contributions to required staff resources such as basic salary, allowances, travels and communication costs. These costs tend to be small but unless provided may mean that the project cannot properly be executed. 2.Opportunities The last four year of work has demonstrated to the target population why we are their best partner for the selected themes. All the funds and material that we obtained have been delivered and saved lives. The stories are well-known across the country. Most boreholes break down within a year whereas ours are still functional even after four years. The local people do take on the responsibilities to carry on with the work. The demand for our support is growing and other organizations begin to follow our grassroots approaches. 3.Threats Our biggest threat is the bad image that people have in the Netherlands of projects in Africa. The point is that a lot of donations is sent to Africa but much of it does not reach target persons. We had problems with the lack of trust so decided to focus on few donors with whom we have had excellent tract records. We have used to work out how best to do the projects so that we ensure that all donations reach intended targets. We educate our target people to work with us to ensure that the donations are properly used. We also visit the benefiting institutions to ensure this is the case. Up to now our capacity to do this properly has been hindered by the lack of core budget specifically for such follow-up work. But we prepare written report for the donors after finalization of a project. The donor also receives a report on the theme(s) they support. A photo collage of the mid-term and end result is always included in the report. The points that are discussed in the final report are the functioning of the water supply system, the deliverance of medical supplies or the medical operation needed to overcome the physical deformation. Furthermore, the final costs of the project are presented and discussed and how exactly the social investment that {name of company} gave was used in the project. During the project the process of the project is evaluated. Key steps in the process are monitored and communicated with the Board of Directors on a regular basis. The continuous evaluation focuses primarily on the communication between the project manager and the subcontractors that are carrying out the activities. It is very important that subcontractors know exactly what their responsibilities are. Therefore these are specified in the final contract before the project activities can be carried out. Our program is feasible and offers the poor societies the chance to help themselves and improve their future life prospects.

Programs

First theme: Educating today's children as the leaders of tomorrow Education is a key means to preparing the young for their future. The UN Millennium Development Goal has targeted improving access of every child of school going age to education. In Cameroon every child may go to primary school for free. But this has meant that the classes are very crowded and with very minimal suitable learning materials. And every parent is still expected to buy for the child all kinds of extras or to pay extras to the schools. Wealthier families send their children to well-resourced schools where they gain much competitive advantage over the children in the public schools. As a result, many talented children from poor families drop out of school early or are so poorly prepared to compete with their age mates from the wealthier families. The talented children such as orphans (especially of HIV/AIDS parents) are most disadvantaged. Our foundation has raised funds to support such children so that they can study in boarding schools in more normal conditions. Without such support such children are condemned to the poor education systems and simply will have no future. Second theme: Safe drinking water for rural primary schools and public hospitals. Water is essential for life, health and prosperity. The UN Millennium Development Goal is to half the proportion of people who do not have access to safe drinking water by the year 2015. Cameroon is unlikely to meet this target due to the lack of required resources (expertise and funds). The result is that a large part of the population will continue to rely on drinking water that is unsafe. They are therefore exposed to the widespread water-borne disease such as dysentery, typhoid, cholera and bilharzia. Safe drinking water reduces these risks of common preventable diseases. The Foundation Help Cameroon focuses on rural primary schools where most households live in some of the poorest conditions. Safe drinking water is often kilometres away from homes. The water that is more readily accessible is unsafe for drinking and are often breeding sites for mosquitoes and related malaria problems. Often these are surface water such as ponds, lakes, creeks or streams that are also vulnerable to sewage contamination. It is for this reason that Help Cameroon raises funds to build and service boreholes and other water supply points to improve rural access to safe drinking water and reduce the risk of water-borne or water related diseases. Primary schools that have received such water points have shown reduced problems with water-borne/ water related diseases. The improvements in the health of the children have also resulted in their better school performances. Third Theme: Medical equipment & supplies for hospitals in Cameroon. Over the decades, many healthcare facilities (hospitals and dispensaries) have been built in Cameroon to improve access to healthcare. These healthcare facilities are often run by very dedicated and hardworking doctors, nurses and other staff who operate under very difficult conditions often without many of the basic items such as proper surgical tables, x-ray machines, microscopes, gloves and electricity. Either such basic items are missing or are in such poor conditions that they need to be immediately replaced. The healthcare workers really need these items and supplies to professionally serve the sick. In the Netherlands hospitals are regularly replacing their medical equipment even though what they have are still excellent conditions. The foundation Help Cameroon has collected from Dutch hospitals such medical equipment and donations of medical supplies as gifts to support the hospitals in Cameroon that badly need them. We have already made three such shipments and this has been a big boost to the local healthcare personnel. Our plan is to improve the collection of such support in the Netherlands and also ensure that they are properly checked and serviced before they are shipped to Cameroon. We also plan to strengthen our team to monitor the donations in Cameroon to ensure that they reach are used for the intended purpose to serve the needy rural communities. Fourth Theme: Special projects to support persons with special needs. There are two main areas of concern here. The first is the case of persons with physical deformations, e.g., albinism, blindness, deafness, lameness or leprosy. Such persons are segregated, stigmatized and treated as if evil and are socially marginalized in Cameroon. Some of these conditions can be fixed through corrective surgery in the national reference hospitals or abroad at high costs. But most of the affected persons are so poor that this is not an option. We help to get funds and arrange for the required treatments. Without such treatment the life prospects of the persons are marginal. The second case is of persons with special conditions that are life-threatening, e.g. heart conditions, which require very specialized and often costly care. We have facilitated the treatment of some children in this kind of condition and believe that it something that we should continue to do especially for children of families that are so poor that the child would have no chance otherwise. Even such a child born in a poor family needs to be given a chance live especially if suffering from conditions that can be treated but which are life-threatening.

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