Tools for vocational training and apprenticeship in Cameroon
Mouda, Cameroon

The Bethleem Foundation in Cameroon wants to increase the capacity of its training centre from 50 to 150 students per year and thereby providing the ”most at risk youth” training so they have a better chance on the labour market and less chance to end up in a criminal circuit or in terrorist organisations.

Project has successfully been executed

Amount collected: € 6.500,-

Sponsors: KWA bedrijfsadviseurs

Project information
The situation
The far north of Cameroon is after the central region, the most populous region of the country with a population of more than 4 million, which is 20% of the total population. This region is also the poorest with a 74.3% percentage of the population living below the poverty line. Poverty is greatest in rural areas where government investments are limited, food security is in danger – due to the ever-increasing effects of climate change such as reduced rainfall, progressive desertification and drying up of Lake Chad – and where it has been plagued by the atrocities of Boko Haram terrorists in recent years.

Young people in rural areas have limited access to vocational training centres that are all concentrated in cities. Most young people survive this uncertain future with small informal trade; some become involved in criminal activities and, worse, some join terrorist groups such as Boko Haram.

The importance of the project
The Bethleem Foundation wanted to give these young people a hope for a better future by establishing a craft school in Mouda in 1997.

The apprenticeship system allows these “most at risk youth” at the end of the training to find work on the labour market either being employed or self-employed. Since the centre was established, there has been on average 50 young people per year training for the different professions. However, the demand for training is many times larger.

The students who follow here a vocational training are young people from the most northern and poorest part of Cameroon, and among them many orphans, half-orphans, street children and handicapped children.

The implementing organisation
The Bethleem Foundation was recognized as a social work organisation of public utility by decree of the President of the Republic of Cameroon in 2007. It has as aim, offering street children and orphans protection and education. Half of the foundation is owned by the papal institute for foreign missions and half by the religious congregation “silent workers of the cross”. Both are also the biggest sponsors for the organisation.

Bethleem Foundation has classrooms, dormitories for boys and girls, and large workshops for woodworking and metalworking.

The envisaged project results
Workshops and dormitories have been renovated with the support of the European Union and the capacity of the centre has been increased. It can now welcome 150 young people a year. However, the centre does not have sufficient financial resources to purchase the additional tools and training materials. The Van Doorn Foundation wants to help this organization to acquire the necessary resources, but also to become less dependent on external financing in the future, by helping them to prepare an education business plan.

The organization sets itself as ultimate goal:
• The centre has sufficient qualitative and quantitative training resources;
• The centre is capable of teaching young people qualifying professional skills that the local market requires, and the centre can offer this training to a larger group of young people;
• The centre is able to create various objects and items and thereby generate additional income;
• The unemployment rate among young people is decreasing, the crime rate is lower and the alliance with terrorist groups is reduced; and
• The centre is more and more recognized and known throughout the region

The chance of sustainability
The organisation already has all the buildings and funds for the salaries of teachers and other employees. Up to now, the organisation is only for 30% dependent on sponsors. Given the target group, no course fees are paid in principle. Training lasts 9 months and actually costs € 45 in course material, i.e. € 5 per student per month.

The intended practice-oriented training courses must make it possible for students to make assignments, delivering products that can be sold, and generate the necessary income for the centre enabling it to fund the course material themselves.

Progress of the project

KWA Bedrijfsadviseurs initially made € 4,000 available for additional tools and training material, for two vocational courses (woodworking and metalworking). In January 2020, 128 students enthusiastically started their education, which was subsequently suspended until October 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In 2021, KWA Bedrijfsadviseurs made another € 2,500 available for the purchase of training material for a third, tailoring course.

The results

Additional classrooms, workshops and dormitories have been built with support from the European Union, and additional tools and training materials for the various courses have been purchased with donations from KWA Bedrijfsadviseurs (€4,000 in 2020 and (€2,500 in 2021).

CFAAM has therefore been able to expand the capacity of the vocational school from 50 to 150 students per year. The school has also managed to generate sufficient  income for the running costs of the school and thus to be financially independent.