Ayama Godlove Yuh – Restoring hope and creating sustainable livelihood opportunity

The project “Restoring Hope and Creating Sustainable Livelihood Opportunity” located in the northwest region of Cameroon. The project aims at improving the deplorable living conditions of prisoners by creating sustainable livelihood opportunities through training and support in socio-economic empowerment initiatives. The project ensures self-skills empowerment and fights against hunger, poverty, and idleness that the prison inmates experience. The organizers want to instill a sense of sound moral and ethical values and self discipline through psycho-social counseling and orientation programs.

Because there are so many people waiting to go to trial, there is overcrowding in Cameroon prisons. A lot of these prisons were constructed during the colonial era and there have been little improvements on these structures ever since. The Bamenda Central Prison is one of the top 10 most populated prisons in Cameroon. It has a population of around 1700 inmates, which is highly overcrowded. There are poor sanitary conditions, which has given rise to poor and deplorable living conditions.

The one meal ration that they receive per day is always too small and poorly prepared, which results in prisoners experiencing malnutrition and its related disease.

The country is facing a high degree of poverty and unemployment and the government has to struggle with budgetary constraints, with a high level of corruption and administrative bottlenecks. Prison staff members also struggle to make ends meet and therefore, provisions for prisoners are often redirected to their own pockets, leaving the inmates even more destitute. Most prisoners have been abandoned by their families and they have to survive only from the small food ration they receive from the administration. All of these factors, in turn, contribute to the degrading treatment of inmates as well as the miserable conditions, which the prison inmates face on a daily basis. It is against this backdrop this project was launched, as a means to provide these inmates with rehabilitation, educational training and support opportunities.

With the Pollination Project grant, the following activities will be carried out:

1) Organize a 4 week empowerment training workshop for some selected prison inmates on entrepreneurship, business management, hygiene/sanitation and nutrition.

2) Carry out capacity building and a live skills training program for some 20 suffering and abandoned inmates on handmade crafts, beads designs and body lotions.

3) Support all 20 trained beneficiaries with startup materials and tools for production and marketing.

4) Carry out constant follow-up visits to all supported beneficiaries to evaluate their performance, understand challenges they face, and provide relevant technical guidance.

5) Identify market links for these products in Cameroon and connect businessmen from around the city of Bamenda to the prisons.