Fail Forward Story
Achieving Success after failures to offer trainings
It is rare to get out of bed on a July morning to the melody of birds in Kumbo town of North West Cameroon because this is the middle of the rainy season. This exceptional weather was indicative that any human outdoor activity could successfully take place without rain. So was Green Care Association (GCA) staff ready for a trip to the remote village of Kov Vifem to train bee farmers. A four wheel truck has been hired with material and equipment for training put in place for the journey. After confirming the check list GCA staff took off for Kov Vifem by 8 am with the intension of arriving its destination by 9 am, good and agreed time for the training to begin. In about 30 minutes’ drive, the driver all of a sudden shouted ‘waaaaah’ to the total surprise of everyone. When we wondered aloud what has happened he simply told the team he has forgotten official documents of the car, a situation which meant we could not continue. So we then returned to collect the documents, and by the time that was done it was already past 9 am. Once we realized the lateness the driver was very guilty and worried as he kept wondering aloud when we shall arrive. The rush was not for long because we took an alternative shorter road leading to the village. We could not drive because the truck got stuck in mud. All efforts to sail through the mud were futile. We soon realized it was more than two hours in mud. At one point we had to abandon the car in the mud to return home. The bee farmers at Kov Vifem were calling our mobile phones every minute to find out reasons for delay. After some time, we had to call and reluctantly tell the farmers our sad story that we were not able to reach because of bad roads. This was a very big shame on our part and an assumption of irresponsibility on the part of Green Care Association.
Having registered this failure we immediately rescheduled a different training to take place in a weeks’ time. When all planning was done and we again took off in good time. When we got to Kov Vifem, no farmer villager ready for the training. After waiting for several hours, we decided to Kumbo. We were all dejected for failing the second time. It was on our return trip that a GCA team member suggested that we should give the training to farmers in a different village. We unanimously agreed to take training to Gwarkang, a village in another location. A date for the training was set exactly two weeks after the failed programs at Kov Vifem. This time around we went without hitches. When we arrived Gwarkang, the leader of the bee farmers instructed us to officially pay a short visit to the traditional ruler (Fon). At the Fon’s palace, he was very happy and imparted his royal blessings on us. During the training, the Fon also gave us palm wine and delicious lunch. After the training of twenty bee farmers at Gwarkang, one of us was decorated as a notable (Shey) in continuing appreciation of the training. It turned out that the training was the very first of its kind in the village. We donated some modern hives to the farmers after coordinating elections of a committee to promote apiculture. Barely three weeks after the training, the committee leader called GCA to announce that four of the hives we colonized by bees and in two months the colonized hives had increased to seven.
This became our motivation and as if not enough a delegation was again sent from the Fon’s palace at Gwarkang to come and appreciate GCA. A complete contrary to the troubles we had had in the former village of Kov Vifem. In a short time the village was transformed positively as villagers could now improve their lives with income from bee farming. One Mr. Lukong who was part of the delegation from the palace brought us two live chickens and palm wine. He happily declared to GCA ‘…I now understand that bees are there waiting for me to make honey and money and am here lazily waiting and complaining poverty, what a challenge…’ Thanks to funds from our donors we were able to change lives so fast and now remain convinced at GCA to keep on pushing on each time we have a disappointment.
Tree Seed collection intensified
Even though little has been written about the Agricultural Training Centre, Green Care Association (GCA) has continued to function with one of the activities of tree seed collection for the seed bank. This remains an all season activity but it is always difficult to know when seeds are mature for collection. Much exphasis is on Trees species that are near extinct or critically endangered. This exercise has credited GCA as the lead organization around the region with a seed bank and now institutions and individuals visit GCA at any time of the year to get seeds for their private nurseries. The species collected are mostly fruit and trees with medicinal or economic value. It is for these reasons that some community forest and water management schemes keep visiting GCA for seeds and in some cases seek assistance on tree nursery and out planting. Recently one of the staff of Caritas Kumbo Diocese, Mrs. Lucy commented ‘…GCA has made us so comfortable in the domain of tree seeds by providing each time over the years all that we want at the right time…’ As an institution we are also very thankful to Global Giving donors who assisted us to construct the office and obviously space for the seed bank. While making efforts to complete other components of the structure like toilet and verandas we remain very grateful to Global Giving.Thank you so much.
The community mushroom centre is now a reality given that Green Care (GC) is able to cultivate and experiment mushroom in the centre. More and more community dwellers are becoming interested in mushroom and its by products, as they can now buy fresh mushroom, Mushroom juice, ask related questions and above all part take in trainings organized at the Centre. One of the beneficiaries ‘ Miss Violet happily declared ‘ Thanks to GC resource centre, I now know so much about mushroom, especially concerning medicinal properties” . While still fund raising to complete the Verandas and part of the ceiling, GC is very grateful to Global Giving donors for the wonderful support she has been receiving. We are proud of Global Giving and hereby wish to once more extend our appreciation.