Celebrating our 15th year as a charity!

Building Schools For Africa 2008 – 2023

Building Schools for Africa started as an idea in 2007 when Marianne (founding trustee of BSFA) came home from Cameroon with tales of a small rural community called Ntseimbang which was desperately in need of a school. She had been working in Cameroon as a coordinator for a small UK-based charity which recruited international volunteers to fund and facilitate various projects in Africa and elsewhere. Part of Marianne’s task was to identify a project for the following year and although Ntseimbang ticked all the boxes in terms of need and willingness of the community to help themselves, another village had been chosen. In light of this, Marianne and her husband Ian and two friends Nick and Nicky Hayward, who had also previously volunteered in Cameroon, set about raising the money to fund a school in Ntseimbang working independently through a local Cameroon development organisation called SHUMAS (Strategic Humanitarian Services). To everyone’s surprise the necessary funds were quickly raised and the school built on time and within budget.

Encouraged by this success, yet aware to of the huge unmet need in this area, the foursome decided to apply for charitable status in 2008. This being done, further funds were raised and five more schools were built that year, again, in partnership with SHUMAS.

By this time the team became aware that they were likely to be in for the long haul. Although the need was great, the projects captured the imagination of funders who seemed to be attracted to BSFA by our promise that every penny donated, would go directly to their intended project with no deductions being made for administration costs. Our website was starting to attract some corporate donors and in 2009 six more schools were funded and built. Eleven more followed in 2010 and by 2015 (a bumper school-building year for us!) the total funds that had been raised by the charity had exceeded £1.5 million.

From the very beginning, BSFA trustees realised that Education and health are inextricably linked, and that poor health, lack of water and sanitation were major factors in preventing children accessing effective education, every bit as much as lack of school buildings. It was also clear that our partners SHUMAS also needed support. Apart from challenging local infrastructure such as erratic electricity supplies, poor access to internet, widely fluctuating cement prices and terrible roads that are all but impassible in the rainy season, SHUMAS, in recent years has had to contend with the dangers and uncertainties of civil unrest.

Since 2020, conflict between government troops and anglophone separatists have made life very difficult for everyone and has created over a million internal refugees and a generation of young people who have had no education at all. As a result, and following advice from SHUMAS, the charity has chosen projects which try to address these problems. These include the provision of basic humanitarian supplies, the provision of temporary jungle schools, provision of clean water and initiatives to train and enable refugee women to start up businesses in order to fund education for their children.

Although education is our underlying aim, the problem of providing it is indeed mulitifaceted and, for instance, young people who have been traumatised by the violence (including rape) of conflict have benefited from psychological support programes which have been funded by BSFA.

Fifteen years after becoming a charity, BSFA has raised over £2.75 million which has funded the construction of over 100 schools, numerous health centres and water projects along with many novel projects as shown in the table below. All of the founding trustees are still active in the charity and they have been joined by others so that we now have a stable and committed trustee body of six people:

Marianne Johnson

Ian Johnson

Nick Hayward

Judith Moore

Stuart Whitman

Andrew Hindle

(Nicky Hayward is no longer a trustee but remains intimately involved in a supporting role)

Although fund-raising has been much more difficult in recent years as a result of several economic factors outside our control (eg COVID) we have a number of loyal and hugely generous donors who continue to support the work that we and SHUMAS try to do. They know who they are and how much we appreciate their support and trust. Thank you.

Table 1.

SCHOOLS HELPED BY BSFA (Classroom/workshop number in brackets)

2007

Ntseimbang (4)

2008

Mejung (3) Roh Meluf (4) IPS Bamali (6) Quebessi (4) Achaillam (2) (19)

2009

Njap (3) Fungeh (3) Njinikejem (3) Kimbo (6) Ndzevru (8) Mbande (3) (Total 26)

2010

IPS Dzeng (6) CS Dzeng (6) IPS Bamdzeng (6) CBC Bamdzeng (6) Bamessing (3) Mambain (3)

Nkartsen (3) Nseh Makop (3) Ngali (3) Mbah (3) Vekovi (3) (Total 44)

2011

Buh (3) Lassin (4) Jakiri (3) Ber (3) Ndengue (3) Muteff (3) Mayo Darle (3) Goulfey (3) Abang (3) Ndegvaya (3) Tubah (1) (Total 32)

2012

Idenau (3) Mbot (3) Makanene (3) Nseh Gp 2 (3) Ntoh Nseh (2) Njintout (3)

Bangourain Chefferie (3) Koumaga (3) (Total 23)

2013

Mfe Mback-Mbock (3) Koumenke (3) Rifem (3) Kishiy (3) Kiyan (3) Nkar (3) Kittiwum (3)

Ngouetou (3) Biakoa (1) Mintyaeminyumin (3) Djafga (3) Ouro Boubi (3) (Total 34)

2014

EP Ngokop (3) GBSS Makanene (4) CNS Manjo (2) GTC Ntigi Bambili (4) GTC Nkeung (3) GSS Mbve (1) (Total 17)

2015

PS Rifem (3) GBNS Ntoh Mbiambe (2) GTC Mbiambe (2 workshops) EP Kro Waifi (3) EP de Bagara Yaoua Yaoua (3) IPS Rifem (3) Ngoukong King Place (3) GTHS Bamendakwen (2 workshops) GSS Bangshie (3) CES Mongonam (2) Tech College Maria Sylvestra (2) GNS Nchemba 2 (2) GSS Nchemba 2 (2) EP Salle (3) BSS Sabongari (4) (Total 39)

(Funds sent by Dec 2015 – £1,537,509)

2016

Zouaye EP (3), GS Keonom (3) CS Boyui (3) Mayel-Ibbe (3) Dama CES (3) SAPATCCO (St Patrick (3) Lycee de Mogon (2) Nketisoh GS (3), GSS Ichim (3) (Total 26)

2017

Kungoh GS (3), Kedjom Ketinguh GTC (3), GBPS Meyomessala (3) EP D’Edjom (3) GTC Mbokevu (2), GTC Jihibai (2), EP Kalong (3), EP Bapes Mondial (3) GSS Sodiko (1 – science lab) (Total 23)

(Grand total to date 289 classrooms/93 schools)

2018

CETIC Banock (3) St. Bartheley Primary (3) CS Batoke (3)

(Grand total to date 298 classrooms @96schools)

(Total Funds sent by Dec 2018 – £2,184,296)

2019

Akok Ndui Nursery – furniture only

GBPS Sodiko (3), EP Bamendou Chefferie (2), EP Bake (3), EP Konyambetta (2)

(Grand total to date 308 classrooms at 101 schools)

2020

GBHS Bekoko (1 lab)

Nkah pop-up community school for IDPs (4)

Benakuma Pop-up community school for IDPs (3)

CS St John Nursery/Primary New latrine/benches at

(Grand total to date 316 classrooms at 105 schools)

2021

CS Charles Luanga (3)

EP Mendazi (3)

CS Jakiri (roof on Church hall to provide school) (Education in Emergency)

All Saints Bayelle latrine and borehole

St Joseph’s Sec school – Science Lab

GBHS Ntui (3)

2022

EP de Sogum – (3)

(Grand total to date 330 Classrooms at 112 schools)

2023

CETIC Kongola (3)

Science Lab All Saints Bayelle (1)

CNPS St Paul’s Ntahtekah (9)

(Grand total to date 343 classrooms at 115 schools)

(Total Funds sent by Dec 2023 – £ 2,784,833.50 )

OTHER PROJECTS

Dormitory for disabled students at SHUMAS HQ (2012)

Purchase of second-hand 4-wheel drive vehicles for SHUMAS – Tercel (2010), Hi-Lux (2013)

Roh Kimbo River Bridge to enable children safely to cross the river to reach school(2013)

Science Equipment for GBHS Kimbo (2011)

Science Labs (see school project list)

Health Centres refurbished and equipped – Dzeng (2010) Nseh (2012) Kovifem (2013) Njitapong (2013) Wainamah (2017) Ntaache (2019) Bani Baloum (2019) (Total 7)

Health Centres equipped only – Ngorin (2015) Sabongari (2015) Mendankwen (2016) Bipock (2014) Etoko (2015), Ntong – Babadjou (2015) Kevu (2017) Bare (2018) Akumlam (2019) Solar Panels at St Odile (2021) (Total 10)

Stand-Alone Water Projects

Taa-Mbveh (2014) Nkanchi (2009) Dzeng (2010) Rey-Njamana (2015) Lam Road (2015) Menda (2016), Nseh (2013), Munjong (2017)

Upper Futur (2019), Akumlam Health Centre (2019) (Total 10)

School water projects

GTC Nkeung (2014) EP Ngokop (2014) IPS Bamali (2008) Quebessi (2008) Njap (2009) Fungeh (2009) Ndzevru (2009) Mbande (2009) Mbah (2010) GS Buh (2011) Muteff (2011) Mbot (2012) Njintout (2012) Ngouetou (2013) Djafga, Ouro Boubi, Waifi, de Bagara, Dobogo, de Goubere (all in 2015) Teloh (2010) Sabongari (2015) GSS Nchembe 2 (2016) Koumenke (2016) CES Makanene (2016) CBC Makanene (2016) Biakoa EP (2016), Mayel-Ibbe (2016), Lycee de Mogon (just a fence round the borehole – 2016), CES Dama (2016) Mambain GS (2016) Nketisoh GS (2017) d’Edjom EP (2017), Meyomesalla GBPS (2017), Bangourain Chefferie (2017) Njintout (2017) Jihibai (2017) Kalong (2018), GBPS Sodiko (2019), Kon Yambetta (2021) All Saints Bayelle (2021) EP Kodek (2023) (Total 42)

Biofarm – Fencing and Stock (2017)

Transportation and installation of donated brick-making press (2017)

Equipment for disabled trainees

Wheelchair and Living Support for disabled employee of SHUMAS

Humanitarian Response Projects

1000 Internally displaced people (IDPs) – Shelter Kits, WASH kits etc. (2020)

171 IDPs in Kourap – Latrines and Livelihoods (2020)

Transportation of Rice from Sabongari to IDPs in Bafoussam (2020)

Fungom Humanitarian Support Project (3056 IDPs) (2021)

School Drop-Out therapy and rehabilitation project (100 youngsters) (2021)

Economic Empowerment for Education including business start up (300 women) (2022)

Economic Empowerment for Education (50 women in Far North) (2023)

Ian Johnson – chair BSFA January 2024

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Building Schools For Africa