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©2017 BY THE GENERAL DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE, INC.

International Grants: Mandetkene, Cameroon

BUILDING A BUSINESS

The summer of 2017 GenDev’s grant program partially funded the building of a general store in the rural town of Mandetkene, Cameroon that funds scholarships for children to continue past primary school.

Two summers ago, two Washington and Lee students did a project in this town and learned the village of Mandetkene had a problem. Many kids were ready to go to middle school but couldn't. There is no middle school in the village, so students have to go to Foumban. This means paying for transport and room and board for the student, and this is too expensive for many people.

Middle school is something we take for granted in the US, but it's not an automatic next step in Mandetkene. Inspired to do something, the W&L thought about a sustainable way to get income for the town's school. If the school had a means of generating revenue, it could give students scholarships and pay for other school expenses, like adding another teacher. At the end of the brainstorming process, they came up with the idea to create a school-run store from which all profits would go to these school needs. The local Parents' Council would run the store.

For the 2017 summer, two other W&L students, including GenDev’s CEO, Maren Lundgren, were recruited to execute this idea. GenDev helped monitor the building’s construction and the creation of the business side. Reports as of November 2017 show that the store is functioning well under the competent Parents’ Council’s leadership.

To see more about the project, check out this blog: https://traveleatandlearn.blogspot.com

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