Cameroon is often referred to as “Africa in miniature” for its geological and cultural diversity.  The north of the country, with six natural parks, offers wonderful opportunities. Located in Central Africa, Cameroon has 400 km of Atlantic coastline with clean, natural beaches and warm ocean to swim in. From tropical rainforest to savannahs, from high plateaus to dry plains and steppes on the Southern border of the Sahel, all the scenery you expect to find in Africa is here in a single country, smaller than France.  Read more about the North West region.

 makossaThe  people of Cameroon are as varied as the land itself, with cultures that are still real and alive. The country is well known for its native styles of music, particularly makossa and bikutsi, and for its successful national football team. French and English are the official languages.

 Despite its vast farmland, children of age groups between 4 to 12 years in rural areas of Cameroon have varying degrees of malnutrition. As much as 50% of children from even middle-income families are deficient in the micro-nutrients that generally affect school performance.

 In most of these rural areas, the use of chemicals to grow vegetables is common, and the desired waiting period between pesticide spray and harvest is not regularly followed. This leads to the degradation of both human health and the environment.

 Currently, Cameroon’s farmers are mostly over 55 years old. They follow traditional practices, which result in poor returns and a hardscrabble existence. As a result, many Cameroonian youth turn their backs on farming and move to the cities in search of “real” jobs, but the cities cannot provide enough jobs for the influx. Faced with unemployment, desperate poverty and even starvation, they often turn to substance abuse, violence and crime.

farmingwomenSince so few other occupations are open to them, more than twice as many women as men are engaged in agriculture as their primary occupation. Limited availability of farm equipment and materials; inadequate education regarding improved farming techniques, processing, transformation, and preservation; poor or non existent farm-to-market roads; and lack of credit facilities all add to the difficulties of rural farming.

Most Cameroonians live in or around the country’s 22 million hectares of forest and depend on the forest for their livelihood to some degree. The loss of more than 2 million hectares of forest since 1980 has led to erosion of agricultural lands, desertification, and the disappearance of plant and animal species. Through its effects on the carbon cycle, deforestation has disastrous effects on both local and regional climatic conditions, accelerating global warming. Its impact on soil fertility and the availability of fresh water destabilizes local agriculture and erodes the rural economy.

 CAMAAY works to preserve and restore Cameroon’s precious natural resources and revive the rural economy, with projects to modernize agriculture, reforest the countryside, educate rural schoolchildren and upgrade the infrastructure. Pick your area of interest and come join us!

Learn more about what to expect when volunteering for CAMAAY