Any time the history of NGOs and Development will be written in Cameroon, Strategic Humanitarian Services (SHUMAS) will probably have a whole page to itself.
She has done what was hitherto thought impossible for an NGO in Cameroon: Improving lives, reducing poverty, and empowering people so that they can meet their needs, without compromising posterity from meeting theirs.
The organization is the brainchild of Mr Ndzerem Stephen Njodzeka a jurist by profession who felt that his full potentials were not being exploited as a lawyer, because his primary interest was improving lives and enhancing people to exploit their full potentials reason why he left the judiciary for development work.
SHUMAS started timidly in 1993 as a charity but was legally recognized in 1997 as an association as per the law in force under registration number 1082/E.29/1111/VI.7/APPB.
Like a mustard seed, the organization has grown from an idea to a whole system with eight major programs and projects implemented indiscriminately to benefit all needy communities and social groups.
In the educational domain, SHUMAS has constructed and rehabilitated over 640 classrooms and equipped them with benches, tables, and chairs. More than 672 scholarships have also been awarded to orphans, children of single parents, or children from underprivileged backgrounds.
More than 58 schools have equally benefited from assistance to their school gardens, enhancing practical knowledge and generating income for school needs. To ensure sanitation in these schools, SHUMAS constructs toilet blocks and water supplies in the majority of schools.
To contribute to increasing food security and eradicating hunger amongst poor peasant farmers and unemployed youths by training them on sustainable, climate-smart agriculture, more than 7000 participants have completed training at the SHUMAS Biofarm, and most of them have received start-up assistance.
In a country where people with special needs are considered inadequate, inferior, and incapable of living a normal life, SHUMAS has trained more than 40 people with special needs from its 2-year training program.
To recover productive farmland and protect water catchments, SHUMAS has replaced 2,000,000 eucalyptus trees with 2,500,000 indigenous, environmentally-friendly trees species.
More than 40 specialists have been trained, 6 community institutions have received renewable energy, and hundreds have been sensitized through the 4 operational energy units at the Biofarm
Water they say is life but most communities in Cameroon suffer from acute shortage of portable. It is within this context that SHUMAS has opted to provide water to needy communities. So far over 125 rural communities have received potable water supplies
Women represent a majority of the world’s population, but often don’t have the same opportunities as men to participate in society and fulfill their full potentials. Conscious of this challenge, SHUMAS has ventured to accompany women in development. 52 women’s groups receive micro-credit loans bi-annually, ranging from 100,000 to 450,000 CFA from SHUMAS. More than 400 women have been trained on livestock production and received start-up animals;.
In the domain of health SHUMAS has equipment and/or rehabilitation more than 20 health centers. 46 nurses have been sponsored in their training at St Louis Institute and National Polytechnic Bamenda after which they return to their rural health centers to work.
Moreover, SHUMAS is one of two Interface organizations in the North West Region, acting as a liaison between community-based health organizations and the Regional Delegation of Public Health in several divisions.
SHUMAS is a low-resource organisation. As a result, SHUMAS relies on the contributions made by national and international volunteers and interns each year. Working with SHUMAS also allows the volunteers to gain crucial skills that improve their future employment prospects. SHUMAS has hosted more than 250 national volunteers and more than 200 international volunteers from countries such as the UK, Germany, and Canada.
by Njodzefe Nestor