Our operations began in the Anglophone areas then spread to all corners of the country. We are proud of the many accomplishments that over 3,500 volunteers have made in the fields of education, health, small enterprise development, agriculture and rural development. We are now looking forward to the next fifty years with the same spirit and ambition that got us to this point.
There is much work to do in Cameroon to support the country’s plans for economic and social development. In spite of its rich natural resource base and its rich and diverse culture, Cameroon is still struggling to make ends meet. The upcoming years promise to be very exciting and challenging as we work shoulder to shoulder with our counterparts and partners to solve problems of HIV/AIDS, malaria, illiteracy, food insecurity, a degraded environment, vulnerable youth, and more. As we continue to work on elevating our level of engagement with Cameroon, especially in underserved parts of the country, we are concentrating our efforts on the following three core areas: English, Maths and science teaching; maternal and child health, and smallholder integrated farming systems.
Cross sector initiatives are very important and an integral part of Peace Corps Cameroon’s strategy for the future. They provide unique opportunities for both volunteers and their communities to synergistically draw additional strength, resources and new ideas from other sectors. For example, volunteers from all sectors in Cameroon can play a role in the country’s strategy to combat HIV/AIDS through sustainable, grassroots efforts. Examples by sector include:
- Agriculture volunteers work on community gardening projects to help improve nutrition of people living with HIV/AIDS.
- Education volunteers strive to improve youth leadership and life skills by producing locally based learning materials that address contemporary problems of at-risk youth.
We will continue to look for non-traditional ways to improve our projects as well as innovative ideas that may come through the use of Peace Corps Response volunteers or possibly Peace Corps Volunteer Leaders. We continue with our commitment to serve the underserved and most vulnerable populations in Cameroon, who are largely located in very rural areas of the country. We recognize however that we are limited to those areas where regional security concerns are not an issue. Although some border activity has caused us to limit our program areas, there is still a vast portion of the country that remains underserved. We intend to continue our efforts to evaluate program opportunities in those areas.
If you come to Cameroon to visit the work of the Peace Corps volunteers, its counterparts and its partners, I am confident that you that will see that the spirit of John F. Kennedy is still alive. You will see it in statues as well as named streets in his honor, but more importantly you will see it in the works and deeds of the people. His vision to promote world peace is being played out daily by more than 120 active Peace Corps volunteers. The receptiveness, openness and hospitality of the Cameroonian government and its people, has been key in making this relationship successful and productive over the generations.