Providing Health Care and Education in Rural Cameroon: A worldwide, innovative project lead by Cameroonians

Providing Health Care and Education in Rural Cameroon: A worldwide, innovative project lead by Cameroonians

Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Ascovime believes that good health and education are key assets in the fight against poverty. In Cameroon illnesses like malaria, sleeping sickness, and rheumatism are widespread, but not everyone have access to, or can afford medical treatment. Equal access to education is another challenge. Statistics show that in some regions only two-fifths of all children are enrolled in school. Nationwide three-fourths go to school. Ascovime wants to reduce the inequalities between rural and urban areas by providing access to health care and education where nobody else does it. Every year Ascovime organizes around 20 campaigns offering free medical treatment and school supplies. Ascovime's continuing fight against illiteracy and disease will hopefully in the long term help people out of poverty.

About Project

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Ascovime is innovative because: 1) it is lead by Cameroonians for Cameroonians. This means that every action is based on a profound knowledge about economic conditions, political structures, demographic trends, norms and values. Combined with the knowledge and experience from Ascovime’s international volunteers, this is highly beneficial for the campaigns, which in turn are continuously being improved through evaluation and feedback process afterwards. 2) it responds to an urgent need which is not covered. Year after year Ascovime is intervening in rural and poor parts of Cameroon to provide free medical care and school supplies to people who need it and thereby improving their living conditions.
 Help from the outside can be important and crucial in the fight against poverty. When no one else contributes in an area, one organization's actions can change a lot. Ascovime is not alone in doing such work. What is special about Ascovime, is that the organization is created and lead by Cameroonians for Cameroonians. This is a central factor in avoiding social disasters. A Cameroonian's knowledge about Cameroon is irreplaceable by a non-Cameroonian's. F.ex: A European organization wanted to integrate Pygmies from the rain forest into the economy and community outside. By living in houses, working to earn money, they would not be poor. The organization constructed houses and the pygmies came to live in them. Then the European organization left and did not witness the pygmies struggle. In the end they didn't integrate and were poorer then what they had be in the forest.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Ascovime's primary activities are: 1. Providing free medical consultations and medication 2. Providing free surgeries (inguinal and umbilical hernia, hydrocele (in testicle), ovarian cyst) 3. Give the people information and simple preventative action guidelines about diseases and epidemics (HIV, diarrhoea, malnutrition and hygiene) 4. Give free school supplies to children (chalk, pen, books) 5. Help teachers improve the quality of teaching by providing books, benches and desks 6. Communicate to the parents the importance of letting their children go to school. 7. Providing university scholarship to selected students (future project) Ascovime’s activities can be divided into two main fields: Health care and educations. We believe that both are crucial factors in fighting poverty. For example is hernia in the groin a widespread pathology in Africa. The patients are mostly young men, prevented from working and thereby providing their families, because of the pain caused by the hernia. Surgery is very expensive because the patient himself has to pay for everything. The hospitals are often situated far away, in the big cities. When Ascovime can provide these men with a simple surgery, free of cost, they can go back to work and to providing their families. Ascovime’s donations of school supplies to children improve their conditions for learning. Books, benches and desks given to the teachers, improve the conditions for teaching. Lately Ascovime gave away more than 400 books to open a high school library.
About You
About You
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About Your Organization
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Organization Address

15 rue de la nativite 75012 Paris

Organization Country
Country where this project is creating social impact
How long has your organization been operating?

More than 5 years

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What stage is your project in?

Operating for more than 5 years

Tell us about the community that you engage? eg. economic conditions, political structures, norms and values, demographic trends, history, and experience with engagement efforts.

Cameroon is a diverse country. It has more the 200 ethnicities and languages. Once a colony, the country was divided into French Cameroon and British Cameroon, making today’s official languages both French and English. The landscape varies from beaches, mountains and rain forests in the South, to savannahs and deserts in the North, causing a variety of illnesses (malaria is widespread except in the mountainous regions, where respiratory and pulmonary diseases and dysentery are common). Despite slow movement toward democratic reform, the political power in Cameroon remains firmly in the hands of President Paul Biya. On ground level, the local communities have a chief, who serves as a guide in religious and juridical matters. Because of its modest oil resources and favourable agricultural conditions, Cameroon has one of the best-endowed primary commodity economies in sub-Saharan Africa. Still, it faces many of the serious problems confronting other underdeveloped countries, such as stagnant per capita income, a relatively inequitable distribution of income, a top-heavy civil service, endemic corruption, and a generally unfavourable climate for business enterprise. 48 % of the population is living below poverty line. Closely linked to this is the life expectancy at birth, which for the total population is 54.39 years. Statistics show that 5,3 % of the population is living with HIV or AIDS, but we can assume that there are more, unknown cases. People's religion is made up of 40 % indigenous beliefs, 40% Christians and 20 % Muslims. The leaders of Ascovime are Cameroonians from different ethnical groups. They have the crucial knowledge about these facts and can therefore meet the needs and meet the people on their terms to avoid social disasters. It is for example important for Ascovime that the local chief and local authorities agree to a campaign in their community. It is also important that the distance to the nearest hospital or health centre is 20km or more. The idea is to not take away work form the local doctor, nurse, pharmacy or dentist, but to intervene where there is no one else.

Share the story of the founder and what inspired the founder to start this project

Dr. Georges Bwelle, a surgeon at the Central Hospital in Yaoundé, founded Ascovime. Dr. Bwelle has travelled around in his country and seen a lot of misery. He has seen poverty, illiteracy and sick people. But he has also met people who came from nothing, who lived in mud huts and went to schools which were torn down by wind and rain twice a year and today have a university degree and are doing important work. Some of these people are trying to give back to the community they came from and let others get a chance to make it in life. This inspired Dr. Bwelle to believe that life is a chance and everyone should get an equal opportunity to live it. He started traveling around Cameroon together with volunteers from all over the world. They have visited rural villages and tried to help the people there by provide free medical care and school equipment. The success of these campaigns led to the founding of the organization he decided to call Ascovime (In French: Association des Compétences pour une Vie Meilleure). Dr. Bwelle is a person who acts to see the changes he wants in his country. His skills and energy are impressive, something every volunteer who have been on a humanitarian campaign with him, will agree with. He is the kind of man you meet once in your lifetime and never forgets, because the goodness in his work will for always inspire you. Jérémy, a French medical student, met Dr. Bwelle in Cameroon, saw his work, and decided to create Ascovime Paris to facilitate the work done by Ascovime in Cameroon financially, with equipment and volunteers.

Social Impact
Please describe how your project has been successful and how that success is measured

Throughout the last 10 years, around 20 humanitarian campaigns have been conducted in different villages in Cameroon every year. A report form each campaign is written and published on the website, showing the figures of medical consultation, surgeries, educational donations. Since the beginning, Ascovime has conducted more than 20 000 consultations and 1.000 surgeries. Ascovime always tries to go back to the villages in order to follow up some patients. The number of books, chalk, pens and blackboards given to children and teachers is unknown. Participation to a high school library increases the possibility to learn, progress and achieve. Increasing the number of children going to school and children taking higher education measure the success.

How many people have been impacted by your project?

More than 10,000

How many people could be impacted by your project in the next three years?

More than 10,000

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

Our aim is to recruit more active members to increase the organizations network and thereby improve Ascovime’s economic aspects and social impact.

Task 1

Establish relations with medical schools in France for future volunteering and exchange program

Task 2

Intensify our information campaign. Be present with information stand on important and relevant arenas

Task 3

Organizing events such as charity dinner and cake sales.

Identify your 12-month impact milestone

Transport is a necessity to get to rural areas. Ascovime’s wants to invest in a small bus, so that today’s transportation costs (25% of the budget) can be used to reach out to even more people.

Task 1

Conduct a cost and benefit analyses based on the facts that we have a mechanic to maintain a bus, a bus driver, a safe parking place is already found.

Task 2

25 mots oFund raising events: Subdivisions of Ascovime in Paris and the US are raising money for this goal. (Cake sales, charity dinners, concerts).u moins.

Task 3

Finding sponsors: Communicate the importance of a bus to possible sponsors.

How will your project evolve over the next three years?

Our six-month and twelve-month milestones are important conditions to enable the continuous process of increasing the number and quality of our campaigns.
In the 3 next years we would like the following:
1)Increase the number of campaigns, consultations, surgeries
2)Increase the number of volunteers

3)Buy medical equipment such as an echograph and an electrocautery, which will allow us to do more surgeries, more efficiently.
5)Setting up a scholarship system to encourage good students to go to University.

What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

There are several factors that might impede continued success of our project. As Ascovime is a non-profit NGO, solely based on voluntary work, the organization is vulnerable in terms of the dependence on economic funding and volunteers to carry out our work. In order to overcome these barriers we are continuously working on recruiting new members, volunteers and donators, as well as planning different fund raising events, and establishing economic partnerships. In terms of equipment, agreements with some of Paris’ hospitals has, for example, enabled us to collect no longer used medical devices such as wheelchairs and crutches, that serve as helpful assets to the work performed in Cameroon. Further barriers are those related to transportation of the above-mentioned equipment from France to Cameroon. Due to economic constraints, a storage room in France filled with wheelchairs, crutches, books and other useful donations are currently left untouched. The local political situation is also a concern, but a factor we cannot do anything about. The on-going presidential election has for example caused a temporary halt in our work, in order to avoid being exposed to possible political turbulence. Once the situation is stabilized, Ascovime will recommence its work.

Tell us about your partnerships

We are in the process of establishing partnerships for different purposes:
1)To send volunteers/ medicine students to Cameroon we are discussing partnerships with a university in Paris and a nurse school in Sens
2)To raise money :
- French:international companies present in Cameroon (such as Trace TV) for car sponsoring
- French public institution
3)To improve our knowledge about distributing information and simple preventative action guidelines about preservatives, diseases and epidemics:
-Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF/Doctors without borders)
-Sidaction working with HIV and AIDS

Explain your selections

Today Ascovime is funded only by its members, who consist of family, friends and individuals. This is due to the current small size of the organization. As mentions above, we are working to establish partnerships within the private and public sector (in France) to sponsor the mini-bus.

How do you plan to strengthen your project in the next three years?

Strengthening our project is something we consider a continuous process. However, within the next three years, our aim is to further establish long-term partnerships that will help in improving the economic aspect of the organization, as well as in increasing the social impact of our work on-site in Cameroon. The recruitment of new active members is of great importance, but the earlier-mentioned 12-month milestone of buying a mini-van will be decisive in strengthening the geographic and social reach of our work. Moreover, we are planning to establish a university scholarship for the students with the best academic results at the local village schools. This will serve as a motivation for the young students and also enable completion of a university degree for children of a society where the current conditions indicate that this is normally just a dream.

Which barriers to health and well-being does your innovation address?
Please select up to three in order of relevancy to your project.



Lack of physical access to care/lack of facilities


Limited access to preventative tools or resources

Please describe how your innovation specifically tackles the barriers listed above.

The lack of affordable care is a problem that Ascovime has chosen to address through providing medical consultation and treatment free of charge. Furthermore, Ascovime’s mobile team travels to the remote villages where the need for health care is great, specifically to ease the accessibility to health care facilities. The tertiary barrier is addressed through awareness campaigns related to simple hygienic actions, as well as distribution of for example tooth paste and tooth brushes, shoos, and soap.

How are you growing the impact of your organization or initiative?
Please select up to three potential pathways in order of relevancy to you.



Grown geographic reach: Multi-country


Enhanced existing impact through addition of complementary services

Please describe which of your growth activities are current or planned for the immediate future.

All of the above-mentioned initiatives are current growth activities, but will also serve as long-term goals in the process of improving and growing the impact of our organization. The earlier-mentioned mini-bus investment will contribute largely to grown geographic reach within Cameroon, international volunteers' creations of sub-divisions such as Ascovime Paris and Ascovime USA works to increase the multi-country geographic reach, and acquiring new medical equipment such as an electrocautery and an echograph will help treat more people.

Do you collaborate with any of the following: (Check all that apply)

If yes, how have these collaborations helped your innovation to succeed?

100 mots ou moins.