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Regional News of Thursday, 28 June 2012

Source: Cameroon Tribune

North West - Assisted Farmers Receive Donated Livestock

In order to ensure the sustainability of its integrated livestock projects, Heifer Project International, Cameroon makes use of its Pass On the Gift (POG) principle that ensures that assisted farmers pass on the received knowledge, female livestock offspring and farming inputs to other limited resource farmers.

It was in respect with of this principle that 26 farmers belonging to the Muneng Self-help Group in Santa Mbei, Santa Sub-division in Mezam Division of North West Region were joyful recipients of 26 pregnant heifers or young dairy cows and a bull on June 8, 2012. The event rallied government officials, local and traditional authorities, HPI Cameroon staff and assisted farmers and community members. The hand over of the animals expanded a network of hope, dignity and self-reliance within the Santa Mbei community.

Speaking at the event, the Divisional Officer for Santa Subdivision, Dighen Lawrence, praised Heifer for helping to bring poverty and hunger under control in Santa Mbei and Cameroon as a whole. Mr. Dighen called on the assisted farmers to translate their knowledge on animal farming into concrete action so as to reap the fruit of the donated animals. The dairy cattle handed over to the new farmers is estimated at FCA 20 million and it was the third time a Pass On the Gift event was holding in the community in ten years.

The Country Director of HPI Cameroon, Dr. Henry Njakoi uplifted the assisted farmers for making the seeds of hope blossom in their community with donated animals. He thanked the former beneficiary farmers for living up to expectations, calling on the new recipients of pregnant heifers not to relax, but to emulate the skills of their successful and more experienced colleagues. The Country Director said the farmers' enthusiasm in cattle farming and the massive turn out was evidence that they all had hope for the future. Apart from education, Dr Njakoi reminded them that hard work was key to significant change. He commended the Mbei traditional authorities and their subjects for making good use of Heifer's donations to change their lives and community.

Before receiving their dairy cattle, the President of the Muneng Self-help Group saluted Heifer and its partners for supporting them make preparations ahead of the arrival of the cows like the construction of stables and technical follow up. He said his group was created in 2007 to find ways of ending poverty and hunger by improving livestock and food crop production in their community. He said the gift of the dairy cattle was an investment to make their dreams come true.

Shortly after receiving her dairy cow, Akenji Rose threw her hand bag and loin around her animal in show of love and appreciation. "I will sleep with my animal in the fence ...," Rose noted. A mother of four, she said her family has been looking forward to receiving a dairy cow for seven years now. Another elated recipient of a dairy cow, Ernestine Njula, described the gift as "living hope," promising to use it to satisfy the family's basic needs of food, income and animal manure. To all the 26 recipients, there was no limit to their joy and hope that was inspired by the experience of other successful Heifer Project International, Cameroon assisted farmers in their community.