Fotsing Leo Bucknell U, Cameroon
The ultimate goal of the BikeCart4Change is to be engaged in an innovative social action that examines in depth the need of underprivileged rural communities in Cameroon or specifically in western Cameroon by allocating bicycle and cart to the population. Our concept of social enterprise is to partner with third entities in rural communities to contribute in the betterment of individuals and mainly young people while decreasing the existing poverty gap between urban and rural areas.
The team is made up of two students from Cameroon who are presently studying at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania: Emmanuel Bayere, majoring in Mechanical engineer Fotsing Leo Charnel, majoring in Global management Through this program, we hope to put in place practices that will enable individuals in various rural communities to achieve a high social performance. The ownership of the program or enterprise in different communities belongs both to the BikeCart4Change supervisors and the community in which the program operates. This is an incentive for communities to discover their inner abilities to shape their own life or future. As a first step, we have design a project that will more likely happen this summer with your help. BikeCart4Change is a long term project that aims to help at first FAMCHAP community in Baleng village located in West Cameroon. The goal is to provide bicycles and carts to thirty three families that we have assessed over this summer. We all know that transportation is an integral part of almost all daily subsistence and social activities; therefore this project will facilitate access to the market for families to sell their products, it will ease access to school, cities and health clinics. Later on, with an ongoing funding strategy from the financial profit generated by families; additional bicycle and cart will be distributed to rural communities similar to FAMCHAP. This project will serve as a cost effective means of transportation of goods and people . It will allow families to transport heavy goods up to 1650 pounds based on the strength of the cart and bicycle. It is a reliable and Eco-friendly mode of transportation for short and long distances. It will profit communities in Cameroon that are among the most vulnerable and socially disadvantaged, those living below poverty line without any social security. This project will establish peace, security and effective sustainability by promoting access to materials that will contribute to economic growth by accelerating production, increasing family income, improving standard of living and decreasing the existing poverty and inequality gap between cities and villages. Situation of FAMCHAP: Since independence in 1960, the strategy of mass investment in cities ( Douala and Yaounde) adopted by the government with the help of the World Bank has created huge problems in villages, leaving families far away from the village center completely isolated. FAMCHAP is a community of at most thirty families located in the village of Baleng which has suffered from social and economic exclusion for years. The community has undergone problems such as high child mortality and low literacy rates. These factors have tended to reinforce one another. The key problem that each of them shares is the lack of adequate transportation linkages with other areas. In FAMCHAP, local people rely on agricultural production to sustain the community. They have been facing countless problems for years due to the lack of proper materials to overcome the challenges of transporting goods in the community. Most families in the community cannot secure access to motorized transport; therefore walking, head/back-loading or general physical portage dominates every single activity in the community. The most alarming factor is that the transport burden for domestic tasks tends to fall disproportionately on women and children. Social rules and customs also tend to limit women’s access to available means of transport and children access to school. In villages in Cameroon, It is estimated that about 25% of kids found themselves involved in farm work and 8% doing farm work and studying at the same time . This has raised the issue of child labor around villages for years and FAMCHAP is not excluded. The primary objective of this project is to unleash FAMCHAP economic potential. A better form of transportation is an integral part of a country’s means to poverty reduction. Therefore, this project is intended to give the opportunity to FAMCHAP families to accumulate enough human, physical, financial and social assets to tackle problems such as: the increasing socio-economic uncertainty in the community, the current migration by young adult and the increasing illiteracy rate among young children. In Baleng we will be working hand in hand with the Baleng youth Association and the kingdom of Baleng. Emmanuel and Leo are deeply involved in making a difference in other people lives. Through various programs at and outside Bucknell, they have acquired skills such as project implementation, lead development, website management and bicycle and cart care and design. All these assets will be very useful in the accomplishment of the project. Together, we are constantly working over the project since April 2014. Cheers, BikeCart4Change