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Jun 28, 2018

Work in progress

Thank you!
Thank you!

Dear donor,

With your support, we are building an electric bore-hole in Father’s House orphanage, Muyuka.

The work started on March 21, after different rounds of interviews with prospective contractors. We are saddened to say that the work has not been yet finished, because of numerous problems. The last one of them the Anglophone crisis that has brought violence to the area of Muyuka. After two months of gunshots and population movements, the orphanage finally decided to move out of the area two weeks ago, after flying bullets entered the children’s dorm.

Don’t be afraid, the children are safe, and we are going to finish the Borehole in the coming months when the situation becomes stable again. We are accountable to you and will keep reporting on this situation through our Orphans and Vulnerable Children program

We cannot blame it only on the political crisis, we have had numerous difficulties in this project and we want to be transparent with you.

Project Challenges

The project budget was found insufficient. This was because the first contractors gave a very low estimate. They did not finally carry out the job because our selection committee deemed them unprofessional, and we hired another technical partner.

To overcome this financial constraint:

  • We financed this with 2 microprojects, one funded in November and one funded in January
  • The orphanage also committed to increasing their contribution to the project. The orphanage is paying for 1,100,000 Million or roughly 2000$ by itself. This is done in a delayed payment.
  • The consultant agreed to split the payment throughout a few months.
  • We discussed over the budget and agreed over the minimum functional work: Appropriate drilling to access clean water and a pump that is functional and gives clean water.
  • We will make another project for the finishing: The tank and the system that carries water to the tank, so they can store water. This is very important because the pumping system is electrical and electricity cuts are still frequent in Muyuka.


Later on, when the consultant began work, we had other challenges:

  • The first drilling was not successful. The soil of Mile40, Muyuka has a different composition than those in the nearby communities, and it caught the technician unaware. It required an extra drilling in a new position.
  • By the time the drilling was finished the political situation had gone worse. Muyuka is located between the two major population centres of the South-West Region, and the separatist group has focused efforts here, trying to get to the capital, Buea. Workers were refusing to go to Muyuka. They were afraid of being attacked or extorted by the military or the rebels. So the work could not be completed.
  • Lastly, as said, the orphanage itself decided to relocate to the founder’s house for a while, and we are halting this operation in the orphanage while the situation calms down.


We have learned a lot from our mistakes and want to apologize for failing you and the rest of the donors. Be assured, Father’s House Orphanage will have water. Our organization keeps (and now even increases) our operations in this and other conflict zones and we will find a way to finish the work.

We keep in regular touch with the orphanage and we could recently support them with a business grant for another project.

We want you to hear from the people you are helping, that even with the project difficulties, are already so grateful to you.

“We have been carrying water on our heads, one of us even fell some weeks back” (One of the blind children)

“What we have suffered this dry season cannot be explained, you don’t know how much good you are doing for us” Mom Commy, Orphanage mother.

“The whole community praises you, we all need this water, you have helped many of us, we have gone through a lot.” One of the neighbours

Thank you for helping them and for believing in us, we will continue reporting on this project here, in our main program page, please add it to "project favourites" if you want to receive e-mails with updates. 

If you want to know more about the political crisis in the area and what we are doing to mitigate it, you can also check this other project.

Thank you very much, and our deepest apologies for this failure.

 

Drilling
Drilling
children of the house
children of the house

Links:

Jun 12, 2018

Follow-up Visit 30th March (PART II)

Alice
Alice

Dear donors, thank you for being with us. This report is a continuation of the one published last month on a follow-up visit carried out on the 30th of March. Since that day, we have done about 8 of such visits, plus our monthly general catch-up in our field office. I will continue showing you the details of this trip, with some updated data on participants.

From Tole Weeding, where we had met Modestine, we started coming back to the centre of Tole.

We arrived “church street” where we saw Alice and Salome. Alice was one of the youngest girls of this batch, so we were impressed when she had quickly set up a functional business. We met her smoking fish to dry and sell. She explained to us she has a client that purchases her whole batch, so she does not spend time in the market. She has kept stable and made 44 dollars every month after that without any interruption. She was also quick to explain on that day that “not all the fish you see here is mine, only the one down” and we appreciate the honesty. Smoked fish is a very common ingredient in many Cameroonian dishes.

Almost immediately after she received her business grant, Salome fell sick. So at the time of our visit she had not really done anything, we just talked with her and made sure she was OK and had not had to use the money to pay hospital bills. After another week she set up her ground-nut (peanut) business. She buys in bulk and sells in different markets. She put together her savings with your grant and made a purchase of 96$, but she has not yet realized much profit (about 10$ a month). This could still be a bookkeeping error or indicate that she is not really involved in the business and occupies much of her time with other things, such as her new-born baby. We keep working with her to find out what’s the problem.

We moved to the entrance of the village now, to finish our visit with Mbo quarters. There, we met with Lizette, Ako and Chantal. Lizette is doing trading of cocoyams (or Taro) and palm oil. She was very fast, and even though we gave business grants in the 3rd week of March, she closed the month with 47$. Which she maintained in April and later on doubled this May. We met her on the spot while she was moving the cocoyams to the main road, where a customer was waiting.

Ako, at the time of the visit, was still setting up her business. “I’m still arranging my table and getting some advice, I’m new in the village”. Some weeks later, she started selling eru (a local vegetable similar to spinach) in the market. “Now I’m just doing this, but when my child grows a bit I will be selling soup around, food is where the money is. I can’t carry him all over the place, he is too heavy”. She made 28 dollars in April, and 50 in May.

Chantal has set up a little bar, and she was there selling when we met her. Bars are not our preferred choice of business, but we think it’s important to orientate and guide, not to impose. She showed us her business records and she had a common problem that we fixed on the spot. It took a few more visits, but her business records are fine now. She made 39$ in April and 183$ in May, which is great for such a young businesswoman.

We closed our visit going to Jin’s restaurant. Because it was the mid-afternoon, she was not yet there, she cooks in the morning, the brother sells in the afternoon and then she takes the evening shift. We got a chance to taste her soup, which was great. Jin is the best performing participant of this batch and she made 304 dollars in April and 244 in May.

We have two bad news for the end. The last person we met on that day, before going to Jin’s restaurant, was Solange. Solange had not been completely truthful to us and hid the fact that she was working for somebody else. She thought, rightly, that would make her look less vulnerable, and therefore less likely to receive help. We can understand that a young single mother all by herself might be tempted to hide such facts, and when we discovered it, we were not angry. We just explained to her that if she wanted to keep working with us she should not hide information from us, and gave her a warning that hiding more things would mean her removal from the program.

Achuma, another of the girls, was seen but had no business to show yet, and I’m saddened to say that we don’t have any confirmation, two months after, that she is doing any business.

We know there are going to be failures, but the returns are worth the risk we take. It gets paid back, several times. Take all the girls together, the 18 we helped in March, and sum all their recorded profits for the month of April, both the ones that have something to show and the ones that have not. It’s 894$. What was your investment in them? 900$ and a short training. This May they have just made 1163$, so you can see how the effect of your donation multiplies every month.

We have a commitment with you to not edulcorate the truth. Our girls are amazing enough without exaggerating or hiding the few that some are not doing well. Of the 18 girls trained in March, we have omitted 5 in these 2 reports. They were:  One similar case of fraud and four who are having well-functioning, active businesses. 1 doing very well, above average, 3 doing ok, within the average. 

Thank you very much, always remember that you are changing lives in Cameroon!

As a reference: All girls were given business grants of 50$ in late March. The Cameroonian poverty line is at 24$ a month and the official minimum salary at 65$. 

Salome
Salome
Ako in her market post
Ako in her market post
Chantal in her bar
Chantal in her bar
Jin in her restaurant
Jin in her restaurant
Patience (from last report)
Patience (from last report)

Links:

May 10, 2018

Important changes in this project!

Your school has now 6 classes and 40 pupils!
Your school has now 6 classes and 40 pupils!

Dear Donors,

 

For more than a year now, Mah Diana, founder of Mah Di’s orphanage has been in charge of reporting. This is an extraordinary report to inform you of a strategic change.

We are going to update this project to cover not only Mah Di’s orphanage but other orphanages in similar situations. 

Before we dive into the why, we have to clarify something:

1) Every donation made so far will go only to Mah Di’s orphanage, that’s what you donated for.  The 3 recurring donations we have (donors who give every month) will only serve Mah Di’s. Unless donors write to us saying they are OK with us using the funds in other houses.

Now, why this change?

 

First, Mah Di’s is improving. Thanks to you, thanks to them, they are much much better off than when we started.

They have a school that is doing great and growing (check out expansion project). They self-generate about 20% of their income, as opposed to 4% in 2016, and have their medical, hygienic and feeding needs well covered. They pay all their school fees (for those who don’t go to the house's school) on time. They follow-up with authorities to get fees exemptions and other social benefits when possible. They still have needs, but we are beginning to see a possibility of phasing out in the coming years. This is exactly what you donated for, for them to be able to grow by themselves, and they are achieving it. Congratulations.

Second, there are other orphanages that are also in need of help. Father’s house, the second orphanage we want to introduce, is worse-off in many aspects. The house has not managed to pay school fees for many of the children, and they are at risk of being expelled. They have very limited self-generated funds. They don't have access to clean water in the house (we are trying to address right now). They have less of a standing in the community (local donations are a huge part of Mah Di’s success) since they just relocated.

Our strategy so far has been to create a separate project for each orphanage, but this has not been very effective. (This project has 175$ after a long while). We also think that having too many projects on GlobalGiving with similar thematic might confuse donors or play against our image. It is also easier to manage just one project and have the freedom to assign funds where they are most needed.

Most important, we know if we merge these projects and focus our efforts we can raise more funds. Not only for Father’s House but also for Mah Di’s. Everybody will win.

 

So what is going to happen now?

 

  • Before 1 week we will edit this project to be representative of both orphanages.
  • We will continue sharing with you Mah Di's reports every 3 months. But you will also receive reports from the other orphanage (Father’s House) after we help them. 
  • This is going to be a very gradual process. This year you will only see these two orphanages. But we are on the look for outstanding houses with outstanding needs, and we might introduce you to new families that you can help.
  • We will continue project-specific-fundraising through small microprojects, we just launched one to expand Mah Di’s school. (Here) and will be doing another one to provide a water tank to Father’s house in the coming weeks.

 

Our focus remains the same. 1) Provide basic support only when the need is critical. 2) Focus on big investments that the orphanages can’t do by themselves. 3) Income-generating-activities so they are less dependent on external funding in the future.

If you have any inquiry or you want to share your opinion about this move, feel free to write to me at marc@reachoutcameroon.org

 

So that’s it, your family just got bigger! 40 + 28!

Have a great day and thanks for everything you have done for the children

 

P.D: Until the 13th of May, if you sign up for a recurring donation GlobalGiving gives us a one-time 100% bonus on it! (If you sign up to give 25 dollars every month, they will add another 25 dollars for the first donation, after you have been giving for 4 months).

 

Child of Father
Child of Father's House orphanage
Project to construct a bore hole in Father
Project to construct a bore hole in Father's House
Rahim, young man of the house
Rahim, young man of the house
children of Father
children of Father's House
Thank you!
Thank you!

Links:

 
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