Leveraging a Habitual Practice to Touch Lives

Leveraging a Habitual Practice to Touch Lives

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Cameroonians are blessed with a sense of giving. They leverage this to address some of the gruesome challenges in remote parts of the country, albeit at a slow pace. However, the constant burning desire of some Cameroonians to give back to their community and promote the well-being of the community is predominant.  

A predominant act of giving by Cameroonians, commonly described as “sadaka’, can be described as an act of giving by someone to show love and appreciation to her/his community. “Sadaka”’ can sometimes be associated to the Muslim religion. However, it is widely practiced by persons who feel blessed and seek to bless others. Hence, it can be described to be an overt manifestation of the intrinsic belief that “I am blessed, so let me bless others”. 

For over 2000 indigenes in a small community in the Noun division, West of Cameroon, the lives of about 250 have been impacted by a ‘daughter-in-law’ – Charity (name withheld). Charity acknowledged and appreciated the love towards her family and reciprocated in a unique way. She saw them as a blessing and, in turn, blessed them. As a result, the nightmare of rarely accessing a medical doctor and quality health services in a year is gradually becoming a thing of the past, thanks to Charity’s golden heart. 

Kindness begets kindness. 

Like most Cameroonians in the diaspora, or ‘bush fallers’ as it is called in local parlance, Charity was planning her 2020 Christmas holiday visit to her husband’s village with excitement. It was a highly anticipated period for her, especially given that the global tensions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic were easing out. 

Charity cherishes the convivial moments she spends with her husband’s family annually. Through diverse ways of giving, family members express their love towards Charity and her family.   

“I realised everyone just loves to see my family and comes with small gifts of food or drink to share. What do I have to give back that will leave a lasting impact on the community?” Charity pondered on how she’d reciprocate such kindness. 

Like every diasporan, Charity thought of coming with several gifts for her family members and loved ones. She considered feeding the community.  

However, according to Charity, this wouldn’t create any lasting impact.  

“When I go home, [kill and share] a cow and buy drinks for people to drink, they enjoy it. The next day, there is nothing left to remember”, she says. 

This can be likened to ‘sadaka’; a typical local giving practice predominantly exercised during festive periods and or, by well-meaning individuals to a group of persons. 

Sadaka refers to acts of charity towards others. It can be done because of one’s generosity, to show love, compassion or because of one’s faith. 

Innovate for impact! 

Hence, Charity was inspired to engage in an action that touches lives beyond her immediate family and loved ones. She nurtured the idea of offering free basic health care support to the entire community. 

“If we offer free consultation by bringing free quality health services to the community… that is priceless. They don’t have to travel for several kilometers just to get consulted”, she thought to herself. Although this is just a few days in a year, it has been welcomed as a priceless moment for the community members. 

Charity organized a free two-day medical consultation and provided basic medical supplies worth about $400 – $550. Her brother-in-law, a medical doctor in Europe voluntarily consulted patients and they bought some basic medical equipment (blood pressure monitors, thermometers, and glucose testing kits) which are then left at the dispensary for continued use. They make use of the basic community dispensary and are assisted by the lone nurse in the dispensary. 

This gesture has been replicated in December of 2021 and 2022. Charity’s simple act of reciprocating kindness has morphed into an annual health campaign for the community.  

The good news has attracted others from neighboring communities. Charity plans to accommodate the neighboring villages, increase the consultation days from two to five and invite hematologists, cardiologists, opticians, dentists, and gynecologists; specialist domains identified through some of the diagnosis. 

Despite the quest for more, the efforts by Charity have helped community dwellers to know their blood groups. This helped to reduce deaths associated to sickle cell anemia. She made available drugs for malaria and fever; a luxury they rarely get and those who could afford spent huge sums to send drivers to purchase them from nearby towns.  Most importantly, it is the only time of the year they get to interact with a medical doctor. 

A motion for more solidarity 

Charity is poised to sustain this initiative and do more. In leveraging community giving, she believes that “[t]ogether we grow stronger and alone we take longer and sometimes not getting there”. 


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Fiifi is a Ghanaian and currently serves as Communications and Information Officer at the West Africa Civil Society Institute. He joined the Institute in December 2020.


Nancy is a Ghanaian and currently serves as Programme Officer in the Knowledge Management unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute. She joined the Institute in January 2021.


Agnes is a Ghanaian and currently serves as Head of the Administration unit in the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in October 2021.


Doris holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social sciences (Economics and Sociology) from the University of Cape Coast. She is passionate about impacting young lives hence co-founded Impart Foundation. A non-profit organization which seeks to empower young lives through education, technology and entrepreneurship.


Prince Akowuah is a Ghanaian and currently the Programme Assistant in the Translation Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in 2020.


Maxwell Apenteng is a Ghanaian and joined WACSI in September 2010. He provides gardening and janitorial services at the Institute.


George Adu-Mintah is a Ghanaian and currently the Protocol Assistant/Driver at the West Africa Civil Society (WACSI). He joined the Institute in October 2006.


Ibrahim Kwaku Gbadago is a Ghanaian. He joined the Institute in 2008 and provides janitorial services and assisting the institute's errands. Before joining the Institute, he worked at the Palestinian embassy in Accra, Ghana.


Ruth Yakana is from Cameroon and currently the Receptionist at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in 2020.


Bethel is a Ghanaian. He provides technical and IT related support to the Institute. He joined the Institute in October 2006.


Whitnay Segnonna holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Management from the University of Benin. With 2 years of experience, she has a strong knowledge of organizational and project management. Combined with her bilingualism, she is very passionate about her work. She joined WACSI as Project Assistant on Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) for the Capacity Development Unit.


Stella Yawa Wowoui holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Translation Studies. She has a perfect grasp of both French and English, as well as an intermediate level in Spanish. She is currently working as a Project Assistant on the Techsoup Project.


Kwame is an experienced IT Consultant/Software Developer. He is skilled in Web Applications Development, Digital Security, Database Management, Digital Marketing and Brand Management. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Information Technology and is a Microsoft Programme Alumni. He is currently serving as a Marketing and IT Officer on the Techsoup Project.


Grace Akpene Ziggah is a Togolese and currently the Logistics Officer and also assists in administration duties at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in June 2009.


Lilian Dafeamekpor is a Ghanaian and currently the Assistant to the Executive Director at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in 2020.


John P. Frinjuah has expertise and interests in civil society, international development, democracy and governance, conflict, crisis, and security. He has extensive experience working with civil society and international development organizations where he supported and managed research, programmes, and provided technical assistance on a variety of themes around public policy, governance, and development. He is an alumnus of the University of Ghana and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy - Tufts University in the United States, with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from two institutions respectively. John speaks English, French and several Ghanaian and regional West Africa languages.


Gervin has extensive international development experience, including 5 years of policy advocacy and capacity building of grass root organisations. He has implemented over the years a combination of agriculture value chain, livelihood, food security and governance and rights programmes.
Prior to joining WACSI, Gervin worked on two USAID projects focusing on agriculture value chain development and governance in northern Ghana
Gervin holds a master’s degree in development & Governance from the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany as well as a Masters in Global Studies from the Universities of Vienna (Austria), Leipzig (Germany) and California (Santa Barbara), USA. He is passionate social justice and inclusion.


Leandre Banon, Beninese, joined WACSI in September 2014 as Capacity Development Programme Assistant. Since then, he has worked in various units within the Institute to support operational and institutional capacity strengthening programmes for civil society in the region. Currently serving as Capacity Development Programme Officer at WACSI, his main responsibilities involve designing, planning, implementing and monitoring capacity development programmes for civil society constituents and grouping across the West Africa. Leandre is a certified Change the Game Academy Programme Trainer. His background lies in the areas of economics and development planning.


Samuel Appiah is a Ghanaian and currently the Programme Officer in the Finance and Administrative Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). He joined the Institute in May, 2016.


Jimm Chick Fomunjong, Cameroonian, joined WACSI in May 2018 as the Head of the Knowledge Management and Communication Units of the Institute. He has over ten years’ experience as a journalist and a development communications expert. He has a vast experience in supporting African organisations to strengthen their internal and external communications, building and sustaining relationships with the media and, leveraging on the power of social media to promote their mission. He is also excellent at supporting organisations to set up and operationalise functional communications and knowledge management systems. He has a deep passion and expertise in supporting Africans and African civil society organisations to document their praxis, share and learn from experiences documented from the African civil society sector.


Franck Sombo is a development practitioner with the drive to lead self and others to influence productivity and efficiency. His work involves supporting organisations to develop strategic plans, design monitoring and evaluation systems, develop and use relevant performance measurement tools to track progress, assess organizational growth and institutionalise learning. Franck has eight years of experience working with WACSI where he currently serves as the Head, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning. His academic qualifications include Masters in Organisations’ and Projects’ Management, and in Business Sciences and a High National Diploma in Finance and Accounting.

Franck is a Fellow of the International Program for Development Evaluation Training (IPDET) and a graduate of the Graduate Training Institute (GTI) - Ghana with specialization in Strategic Management and Corporate Leadership. He has a rich experience in Project Management, Capacity Development, Strategic planning, Data Analytics, Monitoring and Evaluation, Training and Facilitation, Mentoring and Coaching among others.


Omolara is a development practitioner and advocacy strategist with over 15 years of progressive experience in development programming targeted at strengthening civil society in West Africa.

She joined WACSI in November 2009 as a Regional Advocacy Consultant and later became the first Policy Advocacy Officer of the Institute in 2010.

She was promoted to Head of the Policy Influencing and Advocacy (PIA) Unit in 2015. As the Head of the PIA unit, Omolara offers strategic direction to the Institutes’ ambitions to connect and convene groups of organised and organic civil society actors; and influence regional and global discourses on crosscutting policy issues including—civil society regulations, sustainable development goals, civic space and enabling environment, aid effectiveness, gender equality, and civil society accountability.

Previously, Omolara served as a Programmes Associate with the Women in Peace and Security Network-Africa (WIPSEN-Africa), where she worked with her team to design and implement pan-African programmes on—multidimensional peace support operations and gender mainstreaming in security sector reform in Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.

She also served as a Service Development Marshal at TVQ Consulting Group, a customer service firm focused on designing strategic customer relationship and business growth plans for private and public financial institutions in Nigeria.

Omolara is a social justice advocate, a network weaver, and a convener. She has a postgraduate degree in Peace and Conflict Studies; a degree in International Relations and History, from the University of Ibadan and Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria respectively.

She also holds executive certificates in Behavioral Science in Public Policy from Harvard University Executive Education in Cambridge and in Citizen Advocacy from the Coady International Institute, St Francis Xavier University in Canada.


Kwabena Kroduah is a Ghanaian and currently heads the Finance Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). He joined the Institute in January 2008.


Charles currently serves as the Head of the Capacity Development Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). Charles has over 10 years of experience working in international development and social justice issues in Africa. Charles has expertise in strengthening civil society and public agencies including the design and implementation of governance and leadership programmes, development of knowledge pieces and policy advice. Charles was the founding Board Chair of Innovation for Change (i4C)-Hub Afrique, as well as the founding member of the International Consortium on Closing Civic Space (iCon), an initiative of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington DC. Charles currently serves as the Member of the Governing Board (Coordination Collective) of Africans Rising. He is a Member of the Development Studies Association, United Kingdom. Charles is a 2017 Stanford University Fellow for Nonprofit Leaders and a certified Change the Game Resource Mobilisation Trainer.


Nana Afadzinu is a Ghanaian and currently serves as the Executive Director of the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in October 2010.