MFH Cameroon Economic Strengthening Projects Become Self-Sustaining
Medicines for Humanity often includes funding for income generating activities (IGAs) to motivate community health workers (CHWs) at maternal and child health projects in vulnerable communities around the world. These funds are used to support economic incubation and encourage community collaboration. In several Cameroon communities, the outcomes are noteworthy. Here are two stories.
Nfuni is a community located in the Southwest Region and is part of the Diocese of Mamfe. Here, MFH began a CHW program to train community volunteers to make home visits, recognize signs of illness, provide basic healthcare, and refer sick children and their mothers to area health clinics when necessary. To help sustain the program, MFH provided stipends for the CHWs to create business ventures that could help produce incomes for them. The results have been outstanding, and according to MFH Cameroon Program Services Coordinator Olivia Fobid Acha-Morfaw, “We accomplished what we set out to do.”
Olivia added, “In addition, some of the profits from this venture are invested in a community microfinancing scheme in which one person is selected each month to receive a loan to further empower families and to invest in their futures.”
Elimeghong is a community in Njinikom and is located in the Northwest Region. The CHWs are an extension of the health center there and make home visits to provide community health services and refer the sick to the health center. MFH also provided stipends to help create an income generating activity to sustain the CHW program. Here, the business activity focused on animal husbandry and specifically, raising and selling goats. The enterprise has been extremely successful and is self-sustaining. The community support among the CHWs here is exemplary. Olivia explained, “There was an illness that caused the deaths of many goats in the community. The result was that some CHWs no longer had any goats to raise and sell. To make sure that the CHWs who lost their goats didn’t drop out of the program, the community banded together and when goats were born, instead of selling them, they replaced the ones that had died, making sure that every CHW had a male and female goat so they could resume their business enterprise.”
These IGA success stories are just two example of the sustainable changes that result from MFH support and collaboration to ensure that community health programs continue to help save and improve lives in vulnerable communities around the world.