Promoting the self-employment of young people in Cameroon

In Douala, a three-year agricultural project, in collaboration with the non-profit organization “Operation Africa”, aims to foster the independent work of young unemployed through the training and cultivation of soursop in full respect of the environment.

In Cameroon, young people are unable to find employment and the Company is urged to protect the environment. Thus, in Douala, the Development Office of West Africa Jesuit Province put together training and the promotion of self-employment for unemployed young people in the same project. This project aims at “accompanying young people in the creation of a hope-filled future” as stated in the Jesuit Universal Apostolic Preferences.

On an agricultural land owned by the Jesuits in Yansoki, in the village of Mayen, the production of soursop will be started with natural and non-chemical methods. The soursop is the fruit of annona muricata, a plant native to the Caribbean that is also present in some areas of Africa. The fruit is 20-30 cm long and can weigh up to 2.5 kg. Internally the soursop is white, soft, juicy and very sweet.

The soursop cultivation project is a pilot project to support unemployed young people, over a three-year period, to take care of a large plantation on their own and manage it well. The aim is to restore the dynamism of teamwork to the young people, to arouse the entrepreneurial spirit and help them to regain their self-confidence by making their own contribution to the economy of the country through self-employment. For this reason, it is planned to create a youth association that will self-finance the project to offer training to other young people.

This activity is expected to improve the production of soursop; reduce the risk for the population to consume low quality and expensive soursop; create a profitable business for young people so that they do not remain unemployed indefinitely; increase the value of natural products and combat the growing number of diseases related to synthetic products.

The activities planned are: preparation of agricultural land; launching of agricultural training courses (theory and practice); preparation of plants and seeds; management of the agricultural activity and marketing of the harvest.

Background information:

In Cameroon, unemployment is one of the factors that undermines contemporary society. The sector most affected is that of young people aged between twenty-three and thirty-five. The result is that many young people end up involved in drugs, criminal activities and prostitution. Many try to emigrate to Europe or America, sometimes through illegal routes.

Unemployed young people from the parish of Notre Dame de l’Annonciation of Bonamoussadi, run by the Jesuit fathers, and young people from the parish wishing to receive an agricultural education and start forms of self-employment.

This article first appeared on the MAGIS website.