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A CLOSER LOOK

Great Soppo, Cameroon

Cameroon lies in the heart of central Africa with its coastline touching the resource-rich Gulf of Guinea. Cameroon has a high literacy rate comparatively to the rest of Africa. Cameroon’s economy is strong as well, but there remains a large concentration–mostly in the rural north–that struggle in poverty. The country is ruled by what many consider an authoritarian figure, current president Paul Biya, who has served since 1982 and seven terms. The country is divided by the majority French and English minority who seek to break away and form their own country.
Cameroon’s poverty level is considered a rural phenomenon, with 55 percent of the poor occupying that geography.
At an estimated population count of 24.68 million people, 30 percent of Cameroon’s society lives below the poverty line.

About Great Soppo

Great Soppo is a locality of about 5,000-10,000 inhabitants situated in the heart of the regional headquarters of Buea in the English-speaking South West Region of Cameroon, which lies near Mt. Cameroon and is close to Cameroon’s coastline. It is about 100 miles from Cameroon’s economic hub of Douala. Most of the inhabitants are Anglophones from the North West Region of Cameroon, who have fled there as a result of the conflict in the North West Region. The primary indigenous group in Great Soppo are the bakweri ethnic group. Great Soppo is a small informal business hub characterized by micro business entities such as tailoring workshops, foodstuffs, convenient stores, beauty salon, clothes shops, documentation services, carpentry workshop etc. Most micro-enterprises sell on the side of the road but there are traditional shops do exist within the town’s infrastructure. Great Soppo has several denominations of churches and Christian life is interwoven into the community. Educational institutions exist and provide standardized instruction based on national criteria; educational breakdown is the following: 5 Nursery schools,3 primary schools, 5 secondary schools. Overall, Great Soppo is a mix of rural and urban but lacks the infrastructure and government support to grow as a thriving community. People sustain themselves through a market economy but it is observed that income-levels are either at or below median income levels across the country.

Join the Journey Cameroon

JTJ was first led to Cameroon via a Cameroonian board member in 2013. A small team had formed inside Cameroon who sought to plant the heart and soul of Join the Journey in the rural English-speaking northwest provinces. The efforts have been led by Afuh Temah, a passionate Christian who desires to see the good of his people. Our journey in Cameroon has been a journey of discovery in building empowerment programs but also one of tragedy. We had been firmly planted in the small village of Tiben but were forced to evacuate as more and more of the beneficiaries we had befriended were killed off at the cost of a government reprisal against an independence movement. Our partners remain steadfast and we worked together to launch micro-loans for five individuals in 2018.