About Bifae Education
Some motto’s in the hallway of Kingomen Government School
Students taking a rest on the lawn before Islamic Primary School
Some pupils of the new government primary school at Mbuluf
History of Bifae (Education).
Bifae Education is a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO), based in Shisong in the Northwest region of Cameroon and Nijmegen, the Netherlands. Since 2005 Bifae, then still including a mixed integrated organic farm, was officially recognized by the Dutch government as a non-profit (ANBI) organisation aiming at community development in one of the poorest development countries in Africa. Any private donation can be distracted from Dutch taxes.
In 2012 the original Bifae as an NGO, dealing with both a farm as well as the schools, stopped to exist. The mixed farm that had been developed from scratch in Kingomen since 2006 on about 30 hectares of pristine land into a well organised business with various cropping and pasture activities was a success. The core economic base in 2011 was a group of 50 cows, bulls and calves. As Bifae when it started had formulated the farm should be Cameroonian and completely independent within about five years from the start, a business case was then calculated. From this it became clear that the farm could continue independently without any funding. However within the board of management, then consisting of its founder Alfred Ngwan (secretary), Mirjam Vloedgraven (treasurer) and Marnix de Vriend (president) serious problems arose. This concerned the property of the cows as well as the general management conditions on how to continue the independent farm. Unfortunately these differences could not be solved. Bifae decided to break up in two different organisations as from September 2011: Bifae Farm (with Alfred Ngwan as its president) and Bifae Education under the continued presidency of Marnix de Vriend. Bifae was especially very active in the years 2006 – 2010 with fund raising and awareness activities in The Netherlands, including the involvement of two schools. In those years about € 120.000 was invested in both the farm and the schools. Half of this money arose from friends, donators, schools and special projects, while the other half was funded through Impulsis, a funding institute with strong connections to the Dutch government. After 2010 the annual investments dimished.
Board and aims of Bifae Education.
Bifae Education is an independent non profit foundation. As from November 2013 it’s board consists of three people: Marnix de Vriend (Nijmegen, president), Christian Kongnyuy Lenjo (Shisong, secretary) and Eugene Lensimo (Shisong, member). Bifae Education aims at assisting primary education in the rural areas around Shisong, a small city near Kumbo, the capital of the 14th century Nso Kingdom. In this area a mixture of Banso and Foulani people tries to make a living through agriculture (cropping and pasture).
Board of Bifae Education as from 2015: Marnix de Vriend (president, Nijmegen and Shisong), consultant water management and climate change, single and a father to three grown-up sons; Christian Lenjo (Secretary, Shisong) nursing in Shisong St. Elizabeth hospital, married and a father of a baby daughter and Eugene Lensimo (member) , headmaster and teacher in Mbuluf primary school, married and a father of three children between the age of 4 and 11..
However since the early 90-ies of the last century their former cash crop coffee can no longer compete with Brazilian coffee on the international market. As a result the regional economy has collapsed. Average wages between 5 and 10 Euro a week are common. Although there is no hunger because the area is very fertile and there is a lot of precipitation (with as much as 6 to 8 metres between April and November) especially the rural villages suffer from a lack of money.
Especially medical assistance and education pose a huge and daily problem to many poor Banso and Foulani (Burrorow) families. This is especially the case when the children lack one or both parents. Uncles, aunts or grandparents do try, but are not always able to compensate the loss of one or both parents.