On Thursday October 17, 2019 , the U.S. Embassy awarded over 42 million FCFA to seven Cameroonian organizations working for the development, health, and prosperity of their communities. Ambassador Peter Barlerin announced the recipients at a ceremony at the embassy, as one example of the commitment of the United States to its partnership with Cameroon. This initiative complements much larger-scale U.S. health and humanitarian assistance to Cameroon.
"We know that Cameroonians are the ones best able to bring sustainable solutions to the challenges their country faces," Ambassador Barlerin said. These grants reflect the U.S. experience of the transformative power of citizens taking responsibility for their own communities through local organizing and volunteerism. The grants are part of two funds: The Ambassador's Special Self-Help Program, which supports communities showing initiative to invest in their own development and growth, and The Julia Taft Refugee Fund, a fund to support gaps in larger assistance programs for refugees.
This year, six projects will benefit from the Self-Help Program. They will improve access to clean water, provide classrooms for children, and increase economic opportunities in the Adamaoua, East, South, and Southwest Regions. In the Self-Help Program, community members agree to provide labor, materials, technical, and/or financial contributions to the project, ensuring a high level of community investment and participation.
In one of the Self-Help projects, a community association will construct modern fish smoking stoves and train people in five villages in the South Region about microcredit and microfinance opportunities. In another project, a cooperative will disinfect eight water sources and teach people about safe water hygiene in three villages in the East Region.
The Julia Taft Refugee Fund, named after a former Assistant Secretary of State, will help give out-of-camp Central African Republic refugee women in the Adamaoua Region ways to generate income for themselves.