The GICAECAM in Cameroon
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The GICAECAM, Grouping of Joint Assistance and Cultural Exchange Initiatives in the Cameroon, was founded in 2002.

Its aim, at a social level, is to promote the well-being of Cameroonian youth through the creation of jobs and activities that will generate income through professional training. It will also enable the young people, who are living in difficult circumstances,to achieve a certain amount of autonomy.

In this context, a number of different projects have been launched:

  • The opening of a local bakery that makes and sells doughnuts.

  • Training in New Information and Communication Technologies (NTIC) has provided the youth with the skills needed to open the doors to the employment market.

  • In the area of social development, young girls in precarious situations, who had been reduced to begging and prostitution, were given training in sewing or offered a 4-month training course in hairdressing, which they really appreciated as their status and the living conditions of their families were improved.

The young people were also provided with awareness raising courses in STDs and AIDS.

Agricultural activities have been put in place, such as the exploitation of a pineapple grove.

Very recently, the GICAECAM launched “Motos-Taxi”, a project for the social integration of disaffected youth, aimed at those who have been impacted by poverty, the lack of family support, unemployment and its consequences and for some, living on the streets. Once up and running, Moto-Taxi will create fixed employment for these young people, ensuring their autonomy and an improvement in their living conditions and those of their family, and will also reduce the risks of a life on the streets.

The aims of this project are economic, social and moral.

TESTIMONY

My name is Lucienne, I found out about the hairdressing project at church when they were reading out the announcements after Mass, so I went to the centre to find out all about it and how it worked. I didn’t believe the price they’d announced for the training which was 10,000 CFA francs for four months. When I got there, I found out that it was true and I was the 10th girl to register. The training has been really effective. Now I have financial resources and I’ve opened up my own hairdresser’s. I’m also training my sisters in partnership with the GICAECAM. I really appreciate this project as it helped to make me happy again. My family relies on me now.

I’m a student and my parents are poor and live in the country. I found out about the hairdressing project through a friend who heard about it on a local radio programme when the promoter was talking about the project. She knows, because I told her, that I wanted to do a training course so that I’d be able to fend for myself and pursue my studies here in town. I soon got into it and I’m now the hairdresser in my neighbourhood and I also go to people's homes. I’d like to say a big thank you to Mr. Marcel, as we used to call him. (Sylvie B.).

I’ve been a widow for about 10 years and I’m bringing up four children. I was just getting by, selling things on the market, even though I’m a trained dressmaker, and then I was robbed, which put me back to square one! I was quite desperate when a woman asked me: “Don’t you know about the dressmaking project that’s been set up in this neighbourhood? We received flyers on it, didn’t you? The children were going from house to house distributing them. You should go!” So I went along and it was true and I was interested in the way it works and immediately I felt joy in my heart. Today, I run this project on a daily basis among many women. We all say “thank you GICAECAM!!”. (Madame B. Monique)

Grouping of Joint Assistance and Cultural Exchange Initiatives in the Cameroon
(GICAECAM)

E-mail : gicaecam [at] yahoo [dot] fr