Cameroon Tribune (Yaoundé)

Cameroon: Peace Corps Achievements Marvel First Lady

Mrs Chantal Biya yesterday November 21 visited stands appraising what the Corps has done in 50 years.

The achievements of the American Peace Corps in Cameroon, through the various projects and programmes it has been running in the country in its 50 years of presence were yesterday November 21 in the spotlight as the First Lady; Mrs Chantal Biya, took time off to appraise them. The First Lady was impressed by what she saw and was told by different Peace Corps volunteers, as she went from stand to stand discovering its strides in community development.

From youth development to community health, community economic development, education through environment, all sectors through which the Peace Corps works in the country, the First Lady had more to discover. The careful planning of the 50th anniversary celebration through which volunteers and their partners had stands to represent the various regions they are working in, gave Mrs Chantal Biya a clear idea, through in-depth presentations, of how far the Corps has impacted and continue to impact the lives of Cameroonians.

Right from the time she arrived at the heavily-attended and action-packed Yaounde Conference Centre to a hilarious welcome by dance groups that had earlier taken up vantage positions in the courtyard, Mrs Chantal Biya in the company of Jacquelyn Geier Sesonga, Country Director, Peace Corps, Cameroon, among others, went straight to discovering what the stands had reserved for the august guest. Products like raw shea nuts, shea butter processed by Peace Corps through a West Regional-based women's group, Coftrakol, to financially empower women, among others, got the attention of the First Lady. In a careful presentation of the group with mission to empower the current 25 active members of Coftrakol to become financially autonomous by improving the value of available natural resources (shea nuts), the attentive First Lady was told how through the activities of Peace Corps, the women are already collecting and processing the natural resource in the West Region.

The tour of stands that equally pulled crowds also took Mrs Biya to discover a 23-year-old Cameroonian, Angu Ransom who, thanks to Peace Corps, has developed chemical objects like Lemon Battery or Voltage Battery which changes chemical energy into electrical energy as well as a universal indicator ( a chemical substance) obtained from red cabbage.

Together with some Members of Government in whose spheres of influence Peace Corps is working as well as the Members of the Circle of Friends of Cameroon (CEREAC), Mrs Biya was also marvelled by high quality plantain chips and caramel (groundnuts) processed by Peace Corps volunteers in the Centre Region, cocoa butter, grains and moringa powder that is reportedly medicinal, bee products and natural honey from the East Region as well as other training programmes that seek to enhance girl-child education and empowerment and the fight against HIV/AIDS and malaria in the country.

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