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The Foundation Help Cameroon covers its themes through project activities directly in rural communities. The foundation raises funds or donations in the Netherlands and brings everything to Cameroon. In Cameroon, The Foundation Help Cameroon regularly visits schools and public hospitals to seek first-hand information about their organisation’s welfare and also discuss with local people and professionals about what is needed. The fundraising appeals for such medical equipment and supplies are based and guided by such on-going dialogue. Apart from mobilising support for the schools and hospitals, the foundation also monitors how various donations are being used. Equally critical are the dialogues and debates are generated about some of the issues. For example, in exchange for medical equipment, the hospital commits to provide support for specific groups (e.g., those affected by HIV/AIDS, or pre-natal care for pregnant women). In many cases, the foundation also lobbies with local or national government officials to get political support that are needed to locally support such efforts. The Help Cameroon foundation Board of Directors decides program based on the results of the above collaborative process with local partners and stakeholders.
Our successes are therefore shaped by discussions with representative(s) of the target population, e.g., the director of the rural primary school or hospital. To build a water borehole the location and technique are discussed with the representative(s). For supply of medical equipment, information about the list of required items is supplied by the rural hospital then a list of materials that can be provided to the hospital is sent as reply. Often, many of the needed materials cannot be provided so the item list becomes very short. For surgical items, the time, the place and after care of the surgery are arranged in discussions with a doctor and with the patient (and his/her family or guardian).

Most of our projects targets grassroots where whatever donations do make real differences in the lives of persons and families who are really in dying need of support. The project stakeholders do shape the project priorities and approaches. We place a very high priority on education of children, access to safe drinking water and supply of medical material as this are some of the pressing needs of the less privileged society which is being derived, through continuous on-going dialogue between partners in this rural area. The local ownership of the project provides a very powerful basis for a mutually beneficial long-term relationship amongst the partners. Whatever activities are started have excellent chance to be sustained by the people even if further funds are not provided. For example, until now communities are positively and enthusiastically engaged with us on the projects. Even after four (4) years, our water boreholes are still functioning and provide safe drinking water. We have not had funds but always recommend that the communities do carry out water quality tests on a yearly basis, as recurrent quality tests have not been covered in our project costs. Often, they cannot pay for water quality tests; we therefore ensure they get short education programs on how to purify water, either by UV-radiation or by boiling of water before use. What we do create is the basis on which local communities feel comfortable.
We are focusing on themes that are supposed to be of national priorities, which the national government is unable or are not providing required support for. It has therefore been difficult to secure required funds to implement most of the things that we aspire to accomplish because these are things which in principle are supposed to be provided by the government. Our funding has meant that most of the staff time is not paid for; therefore key project activities are done on volunteer basis. This exposes the program to the risk of discontinuity when the volunteers cannot perform. Most resourceful donors are willing to provide funds for the projects but are reluctant to recognise the need to fully compensate the core staffs that make the work possible. Future project budgeting will need to properly include contributions for required staff financial resources such as basic salary, allowances, travels and communication costs. These costs tend to be small but unless provided, may mean that the project cannot properly be executed.
The last four years of work has demonstrated to the target population why we are their best partner for the selected themes. All the funds and materials that we obtained have been delivered and saved lives. The stories are well-known across the country. Most boreholes break down within a year whereas ours are still functional even after four years. The locals do take on the responsibility of carrying on with the work. The demand for our support is growing and other organisations are beginning to follow our grassroots approaches.

Our biggest threat is the bad image that people portrays in the Netherlands of projects in Africa. The point is that a lot of donations are sent to Africa but much of it does not reach target persons. We had problems with the lack of trust so we decided to focus on few donors with whom we have had excellent track records. We usually work out how best to actualise our projects so that we ensure that all donations reach intended targets. We educate our beneficiaries to work with us to ensure that the donations are properly used. We also visit the benefiting institutions to ensure this also is the case. Up till now, our capacity to do this properly has been hindered by the lack of core budget specifically for such follow-up work. But we usually prepare written report for the donors after finalisation of a project which gives them assurance that there generous donations are being properly utilised. The donor also receives a report on the theme(s) they support also included in the report we send to our donors is a photo collage of the mid-term and end result of our projects. We also discuss in the final reports points relating to proper functioning of the water supply system, the deliverance of medical supplies and the medical operation needed to overcome various physical deformation. Furthermore, the final costs of the project are presented and discussed and how exactly the social investment that {name of company} gave was used in the project.
Proper project evaluation will also be performed, and Key steps in the process are monitored and communicated with the Foundation Help Cameroon Board of Directors on a regular basis. The continuous evaluation focuses primarily on the communication between the project manager and the subcontractors that are carrying out the activities. It is therefore very important that subcontractors know exactly what their responsibilities are and these are specified in the final contract before the project activities can be carried out.
Our program is feasible and offers the poor societies the chance to help themselves and improve their future life prospects.

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