Passion and commitment are two of the many qualities that drive the activities of most community based organisations.
AAFEBEN (Appui à l’Auto Promotion de la Femme de Boumba et Ngoko), a community based organisation in Yokadouma in the Eastern region of Cameroon is one of such organisations. Its members and staff are dedicated and are working hard to promote better living conditions of people living in forest communities in the region.
Since its creation in 2001, the organisation has engaged in activities aimed at promoting quality health, promoting access to education for underprivileged children and the creation of income generating activities for men and women in these communities.
They have positively affected thousands of lives in the communities they work in, this ranging to over 200,000 inhabitants of villages within or close to forest concessions in the dense tropical forests of eastern Cameroon.
Despite this, AAFEBEN has not been able to reach its full potential over the years.
“This is because we are not clear about what we are doing”, suggests Miranda Akongongol, Coordinator of the organisation. “We seem to be everywhere and are not really focused on addressing carefully identified problems in our society”, she adds.
This, she says, contributes to overwhelm the already overburdened staff, having a negative impact on their ability to reach out to all the target populations contribute to address specific problems.
However, AAFEBEN is poised to change things within its 2017 – 2021 organisational strategy. The organisation has kick started the process of developing this document which members and staff consider to be an inevitable tool to guide the organisation to achieve higher heights.
The goal of the meeting was to reflect on its work for the past 14 years, and to define a new direction for the success and growth of AAFEBEN. This meeting helped AAFEBEN members and staff to develop a new five-year strategic plan for 2017 to 2021. A situation they hope will propel the organisation to increase its impact by promoting access to education for more underprivileged children, increasing access to quality health and reduce mortality and morbidity in women and children and promote the creation of income generating activities for many more of its beneficiaries.
The session was facilitated by an Organisation Development Practitioner from Well Grounded. It was a platform for AAFEBEN’s team to develop its vision, mission, overall objective and specific objectives. These give AAFEBEN clear goals it will work to achieve by 2021 in view of improving the lives of people.
“Now I know everyone in AAFEBEN knows the height AAFEBEN seeks to reach. I’ve always believed in AAFEBEN and I know it is going to be better”, Miranda said after the training.
Like other participants, Miranda was very satisfied with what was accomplished within the three days by her team. She particularly commended IUCN for supporting their work through project funding and funding organisation development initiatives like this.
“Many partners do not support the organisation development of non-governmental organisations. Thank you (IUCN) for supporting us”, she said.