Knowledge - Academy - Development
PO.Box 5213 Douala
Tel: +237 677 776 465
+237 656 563 535

ASAFE Empowering of Urban and Rural Communities facing the economic Crisis in Cameroon.

Since its creation over 30 years ago, ASAFE has engaged in well-known activities within the women entrepreneurship sector. The organization has, since the recent years and going, embarked on the challenging journey of empowering the Rural and Urban of Cameroon communities with varied economic activities and services. The Economic situation of the country in the wake of the Corona virus that virtually crumbled the nation’s business sector resulting to abject poverty got the ASAFE leadership to think out of the box and engineer adapted solutions. “It was a nightmare watching Cameroon business women blocked in Hotels in China and forced to spent their lifetime savings due to the lockdown” Gisele Yitamben the founder and President of ASAFE once said. Back in the country, the lockdown had a toll on business turnover as stocks could not be replenished causing business to close shops. It sounded like an Armageddon on sight

Inclusive Sustaining Growth Initiative as antidote of Poverty

The first step was to engineer an “Inclusive Sustaining Growth Initiative” known in French as “Riche Ensemble”. The initiative that is based on virtually no capital for someone venturing, is devised around shared participation between ASAFE and a community. ASAFE brings the assets and small capital while the community provides the land space and human resources. Such participatory and collaborative approach has been endearing to the community.

The first project of the initiative took place at KUKUN, a village located in the Nyong and Kelle Division of the Center Region of Cameroon in 2018. It started with ASAFE meeting the authorities of Kukun to find out what the economics needs of the villagers were and what solutions they had. During the discussions, the President of ASAFE introduced and presented the “Sustaining Growth Initiative”. The initiative was well received and it was agreed that the first project was to be Rabbit rearing. A mixt commission of representatives of the village, ASAFE and the Administration was set up to select the first candidates for the project. It was also agreed that to be selected a member must have children of primary school age. These children will be needed in growing and providing the Rabbit feeds. The first ten people thus selected were trained in building hutches for the Rabbits and how to feed them. Each candidate was given two pairs of male and female rabbits to rare according to the project modalities. The project has grown up and neighbouring villages of Kukun are making an appeal for the project to be implanted in their area.  (You can find the report and other documents of the of the project here)

The North-west South West war conundrum in Cameroon

When a civil protest for political protest in the two Anglophone regions of Cameroon (the North-west and the South-West) turn bloody and resorted to a bloody separatist civil war, the result was chaos. Around 6000 people were killed and over 400 000 internally displaced people (IDP) were registered across towns in Cameroon. The town of Douala where ASAFE is located received a swamp of IDPs that numbered over 50 000. Because most of the IDPs had no lucrative activities nor where to spend the night, Douala witnessed a rise in crime and other perverse activities like drug trafficking and consumption, child prostitution and public assault.

ASAFE carried out a sensitization meeting in chosen areas of Douala with the IDPs on ways to bail them out of their doldrums. It was finally agreed that training workshops will be organized for them on income generating activities where they can learn some trades and earn a living. With the assistance of the United Nation Population Fund (UNPF) a five days training on how to manufacture mosquito killer candles, assorted decoration beards, bathing oil and soap. 100 IDPs took part in the training that included how to calculate the return and selling prices in the halls of the ASAFE building in Douala. Every month ASAFE invites the IDPs to listen to talks on sexual transmissible diseases, family health and women and human rights. Training on income generating activities are offered to them during the same period (Find the report and more documents here)  

   COVID19 or Armageddon on sight

To face the lockdown that was having a toll on business activities and rendering people poor, ASAFE introduced “Out-of-Soil” agriculture as a concept to keep people engaged on economic activities at home while caged at home. Working with officials of the Ministry women and Family affairs for the mobilization of the masses, people were encouraged to grow crops such as Garlic, Onions, Yams, Mushrooms and Chickens around their homes by applying technics designed by ASAFE specialists. Over 1500 families from the Sub divisions of Douala 1, Douala 2 and Douala 3 benefitted the training. It was a source of income admired by many and the process has become a house name in the City of Douala. The resounding success of this is being echoed in the rural villages of Cameroon and ASAFE is receiving repeated calls for the implementation of the concept in rural areas (You can find the reports of the activities and other documents here)

Ujeck Mè Jeck or the indigenization of “The Sustaining growth initiative”

When the President of ASAFE visited the Mayor of Dibamba, a rural council in the Sanaga Maritime Division of Cameroon in early 2023 to discuss the prospect of launching the “Sustaining Growth Initiative” in that council area, she had the good ears of the Mayor. He had a meeting arranged for the ASAFE team to present the initiative to the population. A session attended by over 200 persons took place at the Council hall. After the presentation that was met with the approval of people present, the assistance unanimously decided to translate to the name of the initiative in the local Bassa language by christening it “Ujeck Me Jeck” which means ‘you eat, I eat too’. 

Following that meeting, ASAFE had to carry out a survey on the economic potentials of some of the villages of the council. This took place in the form of a questionnaire sent to the people to sample out their concerns with regards to economic activities and the projects dear in their minds. Three villages were chosen for this exercise and are Kopongo, Loungahé and Logbadjeck. The activities during the survey motivated the Mayor and village authorities. They decided to offer a piece of land at Sikoum village for the project experiment and training activities. ASAFE has put a water tank, solar energy and build a semi-permanent structure to host the project that is currently being managed by 2 extension staff. A vocational training center on income generating activities such as the growing of Grubs, Chickens, bio agro farming, etc. now operational at Sikoum. (You can find reports of the activities and other documents here)

Community currency as a means to boost trade within Cameroon communities

Trade as a backbone to the economy is at time hindered by the absence of the local currency due to varied reasons. In her many tours around the world, ASAFE’s President, Gisele Yitamben found in the Community currency a perfect tool to keep trade at its usual trends in time of cash scarcity. In developing countries in Europe and the Americas the community currency has been a great booster of trade within communities.         

ASAFE has engaged in the process of offering the Nylon quarters the possibility of operating the first community currency scheme in Douala. The process was the culmination of a survey that ASAFE carried out on the feasibility of operating a Community currency scheme. That survey was followed by a workshop organized to promote trade in communities using electronic means and the community currency. Following that workshop, a community of 20 volunteers were selected to help in the pilot phase. Contacts were made with the Chief of Nylon quarter and meetings held with his Notables to iron out ways of collaboration and prepare ground work for the volunteers work in information gathering on the field. Administrative authorities of the town were also informed about the project while the volunteers have made two field trips for trial interviews followed by debriefings. A preliminary survey of the potentialities of the quarter revealed that 71% of the population possessed an Android phone, 26% own a basic phone and 1.5% had an iphone. That is a god prospect for a technological platform to handle the community currency transaction. With all surveys carried out, ASAFE is now in search for sponsorship to put in place a technological platform that will handle the community currency activities (For a full report and document, click here)  

What Is Community Currency?

Community currency is a form of paper any accepted means paymen/money issued by private entities or community organizations for use at local participating businesses. Its main goal is to encourage spending at local businesses, thereby promoting local ownership of businesses and capital. Community currency is sometimes also referred to as local currency. It consist of physical scrip, tokens, or sometimes just as accounting entries which can be used a money substitutes for transactions among those who agree to accept and use the community currency. The currency is usually issued by a local organization, nonprofit, or similar private entity.

Residents and businesses exchange legal tender for community currencies at the issuing organization or at a local bank that chooses to participate. Because the scrip's use is limited compared to regular cash, these currencies are usually offered at a discount. 

The main advantages of a community currency is that it helps in keeping the ownership of local capital goods, fixed investments and businesses in the hands of the local residents helping them instead of outsiders, foreigners and large impersonal corporations. Regions that are heavily dependent on seasonal economic activities and seasonal-credit ad liquidity constrained in the off season find solace in the community currency.


Pourquoi le Choix sur le Hanneton?

Ce dérivé est consommé en grand quantité au Cameroun. En plus de il dégage des perspectives d’industrialisation énormes surtout dans le secteur de releveur de gout dont le Hanneton sera une matière première essentielle. L’Afrique Centrale détient un grand marcheur de releveur de gout évalué à plus de 30 millions de consommateurs.

Ayant fait ce constat, ASAFE a construit un centre de formation à Sikoum, village situé dans la Municipalité de Dibamba en Janvier 2022 sur un site de 3 hectares.

A partir de ce Centre, 1 fois tous les 15 jours un atelier de formation, en production des Hannetons et d’autres projets générateurs de revenus est organisé et des microcrédits donnés aux lauréats pour la production. On dénombre à ce jour 300 personnes déjà formés et insérées dans le secteur 

Pour plus d’infos cliques sur ce lien.