Inspired by my late father and his active community service and relentless educator role, I began volunteering at the age 17.
As a youth volunteer, I supported a variety of workshops and activities for young children in a small locality in the east of Cameroon called Bertoua, where I was raised.
Growing up in this small town I was exposed to the realities of poverty and underdevelopment which helped me understand many of the health and educational challenges faced by many families in this small, rural, and remote town.
This Eastern region of Cameroon was overwhelmed with challenges such as lack of education, jobs, and housing, teenage pregnancy, and malnutrition, among others.
Even at a young age, I recognized the role I wanted to play in my community and for people in need and chose to dedicate my time and skills for the good of others.
My desire towards community work grew even stronger as I pursued my Bachelors in Sociology/Anthropology and participated in internships with local and international organizations like Plan International which promotes different aspects of community development.
As a support staff and assistant development facilitator traveling across different local communities in Cameroon for development projects and activities, I realized this is what I wanted to do.
After my Masters in Social Policy, I was driven by my passion to have a deeper impact on my community and started developing ideas for projects that would allow me to do so.
Initially, I wanted to start a project that encouraged continued education and training to promote equality and decrease disparities among people.
Ultimately, this would empower people in the community to take control of their own development through fostering education and health programs, but there was a huge need for collective action to generate solutions to common problems in these communities.
These experiences culminated with the foundation of community Development Network (CDN) in August 2013, with the strong support of other youths who shared the vision and passion for supporting community growth.
CDN started with developing programs and activities for a community center in Bertoua and grew from there.
A year later, with the help of further partnerships and strong team members, we decided to expand our efforts to other nearby towns.
We set up a base in Douala, Cameroon, where we began with capacity building workshops focused on discovering and developing the potential of youth as an after-school support project and, gradually we launched our projects and activities for children, women, and persons with disability, empowering and supporting individuals and communities in health and education.
We have run projects in The East, Center, South, Littoral, North and Southwest regions of Cameroon with projects ranging from dental hygiene, capacity building workshops, HIV/AIDS campaigns, Human Rights Education.
Today, CDN has grown from a small local organization to one running projects and activities throughout Cameroon with the help of our Chapter in Boston, Massachusetts and a very hardworking, dynamic, and passionate team in Cameroon.
We continue to develop and implement projects in health and education in Cameroon targeted at children, girls/women, and persons with disabilities.
We have a small structured team and limited resources, but we believe it is good enough to keep us working and making an impact on the lives of people in the communities across Cameroon.
You can join us to unite efforts to support and guarantee a brighter future for the communities we work with. -- Finley