By Maku Vivian
The new Director of the Liliane Foundation (LF), Mr. Steven Berdenis van Berlekom paid a maiden working visit to the Cameroon Baptist Convention (CBC) Health Services from September 20 – 28, 2018.
The Liliane Foundation, a Dutch-based non-governmental organization (NGO) works with 30 Strategic Partner Organizations (SPOs) in Africa (including the CBC Health Services), Asia, and Latin America to fund activities aimed at empowering children with disabilities for inclusion in mainstream development efforts, thereby improving the quality of their lives and that of their families. Mr. Steven, who took the reins of command at the Liliane Foundation in June 2018, was, therefore, accompanied during the visit by Mrs. Anneke Donker, the Organization’s Development Advisor of NGOs.
On ground to receive and facilitate the work of the visiting team was Mrs. Agho Glory, Program Manager of the CBC Health Services’ Empowerment and Disability Inclusive Development (EDID) program through which services to children with disabilities are provided in eight of the ten regions of Cameroon via local based Partner Organizations (POs).
Usually, the LF carries out yearly supervision to her Strategic Partner Organizations to appraise the work being done from their funding. In all, the team from LF visited eight of the Partner Organizations (POs) in four regions of Cameron.
Highlights of the visit centered on how well POs are aligning to LF’s vision and approach of including families and communities of children with disabilities (CWDs) in their care. It was noted with satisfaction that most POs are gradually moving from the charity approach of providing services to children with disabilities to the community based approach, which facilitates the inclusion of CWDs both in their family and community lives.
Given the current global economic situation characterized by fickle donor trends, the team paid a courtesy visit to His Royal Majesty the Chief of Bagang in the West Region of Cameroon to solicit his support for the course of children with disabilities in his community. The Manager of the EDID program seized the opportunity to request for tangible collaboration between the chief and Choose Life Generation, the PO working in the Bamboutos Division.
In a poignant presentation, the EDID Program Manager went down memory lane to commend the services partners such as the Liliane Foundation have rendered to foreign communities such as that of Bagang. Mentioning the present global economic recession, Mrs. Agho called on the Paramount Chief to use his power of influence to sustain the realizations of humanitarian efforts such as those of the LF. She suggested that the chief could do this by being an ambassador for the course of children with disabilities not only in his community, but also beyond.
In a meeting with the Director of CBC Health Services, Prof. Tih Pius, the LF team appreciated the Director for the team he has put in place to coordinate the work of partner organizations. They testified that they could see the result of the hard work of this team in the field.
The LF visitors also used the opportunity to present the new strategic direction of the Liliane Foundation which is aimed at investing more on the capacity-building of strategic partner organizations to enable them become more self-reliant and resilient. In this light, they declared their commitment to support CBC Health Services to start a training program for Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) and Physiotherapy and encouraged the CBC Health Services to speed up with the planning process so that the training can start soon.
The visiting team left visibly satisfied by the quality of work carried out on the field for the betterment of the lives of children with disabilities in Cameroon. It was revealed that more than 2000 CWDs now have access to health, education, social and livelihood opportunities, thanks to Liliane Foundation funding.