African Centre for Community and Development in Cameroon

 

Arrey Mbongaya Ivo 
Founder and Director of African Centre for Community and Development.
e-mail: ivoemmanuelarrey@yahoo.com
web: www.africancentreforcommunity.com

 

Abstract: This article explores my key areas of work as the Director of African Centre for Community and Development which is involved in diverse humanitarian and development devices towards poverty alleviation, education, sustainability and the empowerment of vulnerable sub-populations in Cameroon, Africa and the world. African Centre for Community and Development is a non-governmental organization.

Key words: African Development, International Development and Cooperation, Education, Citizenship Empowerment, Holistic and Sustainable Development, Poverty alleviation, Communication, Participation, Environmental Protection, Gender, Cameroon.

Firstly I would like to thank Global Education Magazine for the invitation to share my work as the Director of African Centre for Community and Development on this much cherished platform.

My work as Director of African Centre for Community and Development in Cameroon

My work as the Director of African Centre for Community and Development is founded on precepts and duties to man and community that happen to be the very basis of my organization in the first place. I would say putting people first, improving wellbeing by including all and eradicating poverty via holistic and sustainable approaches are focal points which in many ways are not separated from my strong commitment to vulgarizing education, sharing and learning, communication, cultural exploration and inter-cultural dialogue, art, environmental protection and broadening the use of transformational technologies as a way of combating poverty, achieving millennium development goals and reducing suspicion and development lapses in Africa and the world.

In this light we have come to know the best way to advocate for people is to approach them, learn from them, their cultures, values and their tested practices in order to create platforms where others can borrow, replicate, adapt and transform their own lives for their immediate wellbeing and the wellbeing of mankind.

This in no way is a mild task as it entails a lot of processes including reading extensively, watching videos and slides, organizing workshops and seminars, writing articles, sharing and analyzing news, which need resources that are in many cases scarce and difficult to access. It has meant narrowing historical differences between people, cultures, races, civilizations, histories, technologies, politics and lifestyles in order to create bridges where people and organizations with a common good can see the need to work together and that hopeless people can also dream and work hard to leave their vulnerabilities which in many instances is not their making.

It has also meant making links between formal and informal sectors, urban and rural livelihoods, coastal and forest livelihoods, private and public interventions, social conflicts, economic thinking, agriculture, fisheries, environment, poverty alleviation, and subjective and objective wellbeing analyses in order to approach things from a humanitarian and educative and inclusive dimension that will be relevant to my immediate contexts which is Africa and the rest of the world.

Practically we have interviewed a wide array of stakeholders with diverse backgrounds, needs and opinions towards transforming lives and alleviating poverty. We have talked to and documented several hundreds of people and worked with diverse organizations in workshops in order to learn on their models and to vulgarize good knowledge to places that matter so that actions that will be taken are going to be based on informed data hence impact more meaningfully on the poor and vulnerable. This is vital as it can no longer be denied that projects have been failing in developing countries and that the path that aid has taken has not always been sustainable or has not reached the affected. Africa needs my model as most things about Africa are unknown, speculated upon, complex and multi-dimensional hence need a complex, but inclusive, just, bottom-top, flexible, participatory work based on research, goodwill, dedication and sound education to impact.

We have thus interviewed and worked with cultural and development organizations, fishermen, farmers, women groups, researchers, community-based organizations, non-governmental organizations, teachers, orphans, the poor, artists, scientists, writers and many more categories that this ink and bronze-aged paper cannot take for now. We have learnt that the poor are not a passive lot, we know what people want from their voices themselves and we have expressed what we think could be done to transform lives in Cameroon, Africa and the world in our blogs, radio programmes, videos and seminars.

Interviewing farmer on the impact of climate change around Bonadikombo, Mile Four Area, Cameroon

Some experiences 

Personally, I produced and presented slots called “Cultural Panorama”, “Green Planet”, “Books and People”, “Art Gallery”, “Development Trends” etc over local radios, produced and published interviews under the banner of “People Places and Events” which are accessed online and have organized workshops like “Fighting Poverty and Engaging Conservation through Sounds 2009 and 2010” and “Conference on Sustainable Strategies and Practices for Development” which led to a framework that could be used by stakeholders to buttress their organizations in the sustainable and holistic thinking unavoidable at this time.

I have also organized “Outreaching to Orphans” which led to green practices like planting of trees with orphans as well as environmental sharing. I control our poultry venture that produces quail eggs and has improved on meat and egg laying village poultry varieties and has designed local incubators so as to improve access to proteins in a region where resilience to diseases is vital. I have communicated visions, stories and social issues via my poetry and art exhibitions etc which some can be accessed online. Communication is a strategic device of my work hence the reason why African Centre for Community and Development has a bold presence on Eldis, Facebook, YouTube and I have engaging profiles on twitter and Facebook.

 African Centre for Community and Development gifts and planting trees with Orphans during “Outreaching to Orphans 2009 (above and below)

 

In order to engage the international community of experts and goodwill ambassadors across levels seeking to better human lives across communities, we created Holistic Approach to Sustainable Development group on LinkedIn which has active, sharing, participatory polls and news on development and Global issues. I also created “Hello Africa” Group on Facebook to share useful transformational issues on sustainable development and wellbeing and these platforms are gaining grounds across various stakeholders.

With fieldwork, a deep humanitarian orientation, Global learning and from data gathered and analyzed I have developed the experience necessary to understand diverse stakeholders and to help build up their capacities in order to arrive at sustainable development. I thus spread knowledge as regularly as I am doing in order to build power atoms in society, which will merge to produce power molecules and compounds necessary to vulgarize power development and to reduce poverty within my immediate society and the world.

That is why we run conferences to train NGOs, CBOs, SMEs and accept professional invitations to grant talks aiming at mainstreaming people via bottom-top approaches and holistic devices into long lasting development. I have come to know the branch is not the whole tree therefore my work focuses on including the stem, roots, leaves, fruits and every tiny cell in the drawing and life of development. Africa being naturally cut out of information and un-mapped needs such a vehicle to be heard so that actions affecting her will reflect on local realities, needs and interests.

Last reflections

This case for Africa also applies for many powerless developing countries as well. All these tallies well with our academic and professional backgrounds in Laws, political science, project planning and management and development communication and I guess has played no small way in African Centre for Community and Development getting a special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations”.

With collaboration and support it is clear that the zeal to create community Development Radios and Television, farmer field schools, Capacity Building and Development Schools, eco-tourism hubs, Vocational training centres on intangible cultural assets, sustainable agriculture and fisheries, sustainable development, environmental protection, green technologies and economies, poverty alleviation, gender empowerment, holistic approach to sustainable development, etc. will be a reality for Africa and the world.

I encourage all readers to follow our work, updates, etc. and to share in our platforms so that we can redesign old unworkable schools and instruments into fertile grounds for human wellbeing and development. Support us where it is necessary so that our seeds will sprout and bear fruits for society and for man. We are by our nature communal beings hence developing ourselves is our duty and calling. A bumpy road is not good enough to stop us hence it should not be a reason why we cannot collaborate, partner, support each other and add wellbeing where it is absent.

Bibliography

Arrey I.M, 2008 “Subjective wellbeing” a lucrative contemporary jargon for development management? Published online in http://africancentreforcommunity.com

Bond R, Hulme D. 1999. Process approaches to development: theory and Sri Lankan practice. World Development 27 (8): 1330-1358.

Camfield, L. (2004), ‘Measuring SWB in developing countries’ in Glatzer, W., Von Below, S. and Stoffregen, M. Challenges for the Quality of life in contemporary societies, Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Gow D, Morss E. 1988. The notorious nine: critical problems in project implementation. World Development 16 (2): 1339-1418.


This article was published on October 17th: International Day for the Eradication of Poverty in Global Education Magazine

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