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In most African countries, especially Cameroon, men are considered to have the potential to be leaders, while women are supposed to sit back home and do chores. In some parts of my country, female leaders are considered to be disrespectful and not submissive to their husbands. For this reason, Breaking Ground, in partnership with Memorial Flavia, a partner NGO in Dschang, organized a leadership seminar for our farmers in Legouh, an agricultural cooperative, from our partner village, Nzong.

Partipants, set up for the seminar

During this seminar, which lasted 2 days, the participants learned leadership skills, qualities of a good leader, and how to apply skills learned in their organization. Also, they learned that being united, cooperative, and transparent, will help their cooperative grow.

Each group prepares to do a presentation

In addition, they worked in small groups to discuss organizational topics like, the role of the management committee and the general assembly in an organization. Each group did a presentation on a topic and women were encouraged to lead the work.

participants cooperating to working on a topic

At the end of the training, Breaking Ground is happy to see bold women who are ready to lead their community. Mrs Tintock Francoise, president of Legouh agricultural cooperative was very happy that she learned a lot from the seminar. She learned leadership skills, effective leadership, and she believes this training will help her become a good leader by applying these skills in her organization.




Participants get ready for the "problem solver game"As a Cameroonian, I can testify that gender stereotypes still exist in my country. For example, in my village, Babessi, we are expected to get married at a certain age. When I last went to the village, my relatives were surprised that I wasn't married or haven't had a child at the age of 23. To them, my masters degree would make me a less desirable wife.

In Regions like the North, women are not encouraged to be leaders, and people often say, "a woman's place is in the kitchen" . In order to breakdown such gender barriers, Breaking Ground, in partnership with Coaches Across Continents ( CAC )  organized a soccer program in Ngoundere and Dschang in order to train local cameroonian coaches.

We had three volunteers from CAC, Charlie; the ground coordinator, Mike; a high school teacher, and Lea; a Swiss national, volunteering untill grad school in the fall. They had two training sessions, one in Ngoundere and the other in Dschang and did activities that promoted life skills, taught about HIV/AIDS, coorperation, and leadership.

Participants were encouraged to work like a team. For example, in the game called "problem solver", they were divided into groups of three and formed a circle. Each group was given a ball and had to carry it around the circle without using their hands, and not letting the ball touch the ground. Each group succeeded but used very different solutions. This game was to teach participants the power of teamwork and how to coorperate with each other.

The coaches also taught games like " Run like a girl" where they gave directions like "kick like a girl" or "kick like a boy." At the end, the coaches asked them why they did the activities differently as a girl or as a boy. The game's goal was to examine gender roles and show participants that, whether you are a man or woman, boy or girl, they are equal.

 At the end of the week, Breaking Ground was happy to see the creation of girl leaders who will contribute to develop their community, breakdown gender stereotypes and use sports as a development tool.


Meet Our New Social Media Intern!

Breaking Ground is happy to introduce our new Social and Media Communications Intern, Melissa Mariembe. She was born in Ndop, North West Region of Cameroon, specifically in Babessi village in Bamenda. She obtained a bachelors degree in Law at the University of Buea and is currently a student of the masters program International Trade And Investment Law in Africa at the University of Dschang.                           

She will be working with our Peace Corps volunteer, Haley, for the next month in order to be trained on publishing Breaking Ground's social media updates. She will begin work in August. Let's welcome Melissa to the Breaking Ground team!


A Healthier World, One Water Pump at a Time

In Cameroon, one often hears the phrase, “water is life.”  It’s true – water is a necessity of all living things, and providing clean, disease-free water to all seven billion people on Earth is a growing challenge.  According to the World Health Organization, 1.1 billion people currently lack any access to a potable water source, putting them at risk for a multitude of diseases, including cholera, dysentery, and intestinal parasites.  Additionally, 1.6 million people die from diarrheal diseases every year, and 90 percent of these deaths are children.

In the Adamaoua Region, cow herding is a common economic activity. The herds often wade through streams, contaminating the local water sources.The Adamaoua region of Cameroon, is home to the Fulbe ethnic group, a traditionally nomadicgroup that practices cow herding and is present throughout West Africa. To this day, cow herding remains a major economic activity, and it is common that herds wade through rivers and streams, contaminating the water source. 

Community Members in Beka Hossere build the water pumpBreaking Ground’s most recent project, funded by Memorial Flavia, is a water project in Beka Hossere, a village of 20,000 residents in the Adamaoua Region.  Recently, our executive director, Paul, traveled up to survey the progress, as the construction is currently underway.  Construction began in April, and when finished, the water pump will supply 3500 inhabitants of Beka Hossere with potable water, providing these people with a basic human right.  The project is scheduled to be finished at the end of June 2016.  


Does the Solution Lie in a Soccer Ball?

Today, our world is ridden with conflict: with war, famine, and political upheaval… and our world leaders spend decades trying to find a solution.   

Did they ever think that the solution could be as simple as a soccer ball?

Today, April 6, is the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, a day to celebrate the role that sports can take in encouraging cooperation and solving conflicts.  Sports are universal activities that promote values such as fair play, discipline, and teamwork, values that contribute to a more peaceful and cohesive society. 

Breaking Ground uses sports to address critical development issues in Cameroon, especially those concerning gender equality and women’s empowerment.  In collaboration with Coaches Across Continents, Breaking Ground is currently organizing our annual Girls Soccer Tournament, held in the city of Ngaoundéré, in the Adamaoua region.  This year’s tournament will take place on the week of June 12th.A girls' soccer team in Ngaoundéré

The Adamaoua Region is a region that is predominantly Muslim and culturally conservative, meaning that young girls are often married at a young age, preventing them from finishing their education and burdening them with the responsibility of managing a household and children.  Men are considered the head of the household, and women are often barred from leaving their compound without the permission of their husband.  Our program aims to provide address these issues through soccer as a social development program; through participating in sports, these women will develop a sense of independence and leadership that challenges their traditional patriarchal society.  We, at Breaking Ground, believe that soccer can help create a more just, equal world, which is why we sincerely wish you, our readers, a Happy International Day of Sport for Development and Peace!