Global Partnership Sparks Community-Driven Initiatives in Cameroon
Eldercare Cameroon to provide support for community-based wellness and life-enrichment initiatives in central African nation
The Community Development Volunteers for Technical Assistance (CDVTA), an advocate for elderly-friendly communities; WD International Consulting, a staff and organizational development company; and It’s Never 2 Late® (iN2L), a developer of digital engagement technology for older adults, have jointly launched a global initiative to enhance the quality of life for elders in the Republic of Cameroon, in central Africa.
Eldercare Cameroon will include multiple community-based projects that connect U.S.-based Life Plan Communities (formerly CCRCs) to CDVTA. Since 1988, CDVTA, a member of the Global Ageing Network, has provided support to northwest Cameroon’s most vulnerable citizens—older adults in rural communities—to foster social inclusion, quality of life and community initiatives, education and elder rights advocacy.
“CDVTA reaches more than 74,000 individuals and 129 villages in northwest Cameroon through the efforts of more than 450 community volunteers,” said Francis Njuakom, CDTVA Founder, and Executive Director. “Eldercare Cameroon—through our partnership with iN2L and WD International Consulting—builds on those successes to support elder-driven, community-based initiatives.”
An Auspicious Encounter
The collaboration among the three partners was the result of a chance encounter between Njuakom and Jack York, president and co-founder of iN2L, during the Global Ageing Network conference in Perth, Australia, in 2016. York made a donation to CDVTA in support of a sustainable goat-rearing endeavor for seven villages in Cameroon. The success of that project led to a more ambitious fund-raising campaign to build Cameroon’s first senior center—the Dorothy York Senior Center in Elemighong Village.
“What’s most exciting about this collaboration is that these projects—and the projects that will come out of Eldercare Cameroon—are driven by the communities that will benefit from them,” said York. “The goal of our partnership is more than helping to build structures, raise money or launch specific initiatives. It’s about enriching lives and connecting communities.”
While fund-raising for the senior center, Njuakom partnered with Walter Coffey and David Sprowl, Managing Partners of WD International Consulting, which provides staff development through mentoring, coaching and professional growth services, to raise funds for the first-year salary of a full-time community nurse. As the first community nurse in Cameroon, she will work from the Dorothy York Senior Center focusing on wellness education and support to elders in the surrounding villages.
“We are committed to the excellent work of CDVTA,” said Coffey. “Having seen its impact firsthand, we know CDVTA is making an incredible difference in the lives of elders. We have never seen such effective, elder-driven community-based services and we want to support CDVTA in meeting their mission.”
How to Donate
The success of these individual projects led to the formal establishment of Eldercare Cameroon. “Thousands of lives are being touched by CDVTA’s work—from building schools and latrines to bringing running water and electricity to villages,” said Sprowl. “We are excited to continue contributing to those efforts.”
The Global Ageing Network will receive all tax-deductible donations for Eldercare Cameroon. This project aligns with their mission “to connect and support care and service providers worldwide to enhance quality of life for ageing.” Katie Smith Sloan, Executive Director of the Network, expressed her hope that Eldercare Cameroon will serve as a model for more global collaborations.
Individual donations will be accepted for Eldercare Cameroon projects, as well as opportunities for CCRCs, businesses and other entities to partner with individual villages in Cameroon. Learn more about Eldercare Cameroon and donate.
For details on individual and organizational partnerships, contact WD International Consulting at WDintl@bellsouth.net.