From February 23 through 25, a U.S. Embassy team traveled to the Southwest region cities of Buea, Kumba, and Douala to promote $75,000 in development projects funded by the Ambassador’s Self Help Program and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The team was led by Self Help Program Coordinator Vilma Barone and included Grants Administrator Rachelle Ngum and technical advisor David Marks. See Facebook album of their visits: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10156572920085716.1073742173.312546460715&type=3&uploaded=19.
On February 23, the U.S. Embassy team visited the project at the HOTPEC Orphanage in Buea where the boys’ dormitory was fully furnished with beds and wardrobes. They were received by Mrs. Beatrice Mugri, Assistant Director to HOTPEC, the delegate of Social Affairs, a representative of the Lower Bokova Chief, and other community representatives. The welcome program included children’s dances and speeches welcoming the guests. In her remarks on behalf of Ambassador Michael S. Hoza, Ms. Barone underscored U.S. support for children’s development, adding: “The goal of this project is to strengthen the capacity of the orphanage home by securing proper dormitory facilities for 80 orphans and vulnerable children, who are the direct beneficiaries of the project. The impact of this initiative is very important as it enables the orphanage to improve the children’s living conditions, reducing the gap between them and their peers who live with their original families.”
On February 24, the U.S. Embassy team visited Kumba to inaugurate an emergency surgery ward at Merryland Medical Foundation financed by the Ambassador’s Self Help in 2014. They were received by the project sponsor and president of the foundation, Mary Njamba, the doctor, nurses, staff, dancers from the Ekombe Cultural Youth Association and the Chief of Mbalangi. In her remarks, Ms. Barone said: “The social impact of this project is that it will directly benefit more than 14,000 people who do not have access to standard surgery services. It is our hope that this project will contribute to reducing mortality rates. The objective of the project still aligns with the 3rd Sustainable Development Goal which aims at ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages.”
On Thursday, February 25, the team visited PEPFAR Small Grants beneficiary in Douala, where they engaged in a working session and checked the lab equipment purchased with part of the funding. To learn more about the Ambassador’s Self Help Program, please see our website: https://cm.usembassy.gov/education-culture/small-grants-program/.