Ouazzang, North Cameroon


A driving force for the local economy

In 2018 a class at Enge high school in Zurich established a savings bank in Ouazzang. Now their work has been extended and made more secure.


Almost ten years ago, a representative of the Mofou asked us to help his people in the north of Cameroon. When we visited the area, we were confronted with a completely impoverished and forgotten population. In this mountainous region close to the border with Nigeria, IPA had meanwhile refurbished several wells, had supported the school in Ouazzang, built two mills and the above mentioned savings bank. Thanks to a donation by the Leopold Bachmann Foundation, it was possible to expand the small bank. After the capital had been increased, more loans were issuedand the purchase of a second motor bike made it easier to assist the recipients. Further education courses and visits to other savings banks strengthened the performance of the management. They had innovative ideas to promote the bank in the streets. At the end of the rainy season the members of the cooperatively organised bank helped to repair the road leading into the region. At the same time, they used the opportunity to inform the inhabitants of the villages along the route about the new opportunities the bank was able to offer them.

On the way to make history


The advertising worked, 65 new members were accepted and many other applications are being carefully examined. 60 loans from IPA funds and 21 from their own resources are a good result. These can be categorised into arable farming, livestock breeding and trade. The loan term can be chosen individually and varies between five to eight months at an interest rate of 1% per month. Compared to the 300% the loan sharks in the region charge per year, these conditions are very attractive. Well organised and financially secure, the management was able to advisethe customers extremely well. The result was that the repayment quota of the issued loans was higher than 99%. Only two recipients were not able to repay the whole amount on time because they were ill.

The savings bank still draws attention to itself. Fundraising among the members as well as the interest payments provided the resources to pay for rewards given to girlswho had achieved outstanding school results. They received their prizes in the form of school materials. This gave them the motivation to continue their school education and at the same time it was excellent publicity for the savings bank. The food production has been increased and because there are now new small shops, womendo no longer have to buy goods in far-away places. The savings bank stands on a solid foundation and will be an even stronger force for the local economy in future. Step by step the region is making progress and it has been noticed that fewer young adults move away from home. The management of the savings bank would like to go down in the history of their people. The chances are good indeed.

The existence is ensured thanks to this upgrading