Tuesday, 2 October 2012

More about ASA~ What do we do here?

Let me tell more about my volunteer work here with the organisation. I had joined the ASA- programme in Germany  website: asa-programm.de  and it's a programme supported by Engaement-Global - a non-profit making company in Germany, and they promote global learning of youth in Europe, mostly in Germany. There are different programmes under the ASA programme, and I joined the "Basic Programme". In April and June 2012 I have already been to 2 preparation seminar in Germany and met other volunteers for the Africa group. During our 3 months internship volunteering experience in an African country ( I chose Cameroon), we develop a project with a partner organisation (like Nature Cameroon) on different topics and issues in group of 2 partners, and my project is about making a strategic plan for the next 5 years, a frame work for applying funding to sustain different projects like solar oven bakery programme in Nguti, water projects/ socio-economic surveys in villages around the Nguti sub division, or biodiversity/ wildlife inventory surveys or research focus in the Banyang Mbo Wildlife Saunctury in South West Region of Cameroon. 
Snapped at NC office in Buea Sara, admin officer of the organisation

Marli was helping out with cocoa farm works!  

Me, pounding water fufu at a oil palm farm.

During our stay here in Nguti, a peaceful town surrounded by protected forests and agriculture lands, we are introduced to many parties and people, like the Nguti Council, the Mayor, the Sub Division Officer (DO), churches, the Hospital (where I am lodging at their Brother's Guest House), and the agriculture delegate... The most exciting thing is that I've got to visit and work in FARMS every week! To cocoa farms ("kaka" in local dialect), oil palm farms ("banga farm"), cassava farms, coco-yam farms....ect. Last week I was in a banga farm in Banangtii visiting how do people extract palm cooking oil from palm nuts, from harvesting the palm nuts bunch in trees to the final product - cooking oil (locally called"red oil"/banga oil/ chop oil"). The other days I've been to cocoa farms to help cracking cocoa pods and remove seeds for fermentation, drying and selling. Next week, we will go to different villages to meet with farmer's cooperatives and learn about their concerns and problems. Then field trips to different farms, oil palm nurseries, plantations of cocoa and oil palm, a local saw mill that has waste wood management problems. We also have chances to attend different meetings or conferences like the PASC meeting/ council meetings to enrich our experience in Cameroon, get to know more about hot environmental issues and how common interest groups (CIGs, Cameroonians love abbreviations!) work together to struggle to survive. By mid of October, I will also attend a cocoa research conference in Yaounde. 

Although it's a pity that Marli (my partner) has gone back to Germany because of sickness, we try to sort things out and i'm glad that many people in Nguti are very supportive! And I know that Marli will be working on her part as well. My stay is rather short, but I've learnt so much that out of my expectation. The ASA programme focuses not only on our projects, but how we see the culture differences and try to bring along what we see here back home and share to those in the Global North who knows less about Africa. 

More about the organization Nature Cameroon (donwload a brochure):

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