Zerca y Lejos ONGD develops a large part of its activities in Cameroon. We present you where we work:
Cameron is known as “petite Afrique” or Africa in miniature for its landscape and cultural diversity. Among its natural habitats there are beaches, deserts, mountains, rainforests and savannas. Its official languages are English and French, together with other 242 languages. In the country cohabit more than 200 different ethnic and linguistic groups, among which, the Baka pygmies, who are considered as Cameroon first inhabitants, with whom we work hand in hand.
Cameroon is an Presidential Republic whose president, Paul Biya, governs since 1982. It was a French, English and German colony, and its independence dates from 1st of January 1960.
The value of its human development index (HDI) is ranked as number 150 in a list including a total of 186 countries surveyed, being one of the lowest values of Sub-Saharan Africa.
It consists of 10 regions dependent on the central government, which are divided further into departments and sub-departments. Zerca y Lejos has expanded over the years of history since Bengbis, in the South region, starting point of our activities in 2001, in Djoum and Mintom, also in the Southern region and at the country's Extreme North. Yaoundé, which is in the Central region, is the country's political capital and is where our headquarter in the field is located.
The Southern Province, dominated by the equatorial forest, is where we have more representation. It is divided into four departments. We currently have presence in one of them, the Dja and Lobo department
In this department, the most populated of the South, is where we have our operational base and where we carry out the majority of our activities with the Baka Pygmy ethnicity and the Bantus communities (bulu and fang). Here we work in the Bengbis subdepartment, and in Djoum and Mintom , where our presence is systematized in the baka settlements, implementing projects of the four plans: promotion of health, education, autonomy and defence of Human Rights, and infrastructures of drinking water access and sanitation.
The capital of Cameroon, Yaoundé, is located in this region, where we are currently carrying out aid projects for employment with a gender and sensitivity perspective intended for young people at risk of social exclusion.
We also work in the departments of Mom and Manguen II , where we began our work in 2001 with the Basse tribe, with projects focus on improving the community health.
Extreme North Area:
This is one of the country's most populated region. Our work there started in 2005, in N’Drock with projects to promote access to potable water.
In 2008, after the specific request of the local community, work began in Tourou with infrastructures and water purification projects. In addition, we have signed a collaboration agreement with the University of Maroua for the technical development of the area, a plan of action to improve water access system from the north.
Since 2013, the terrorist group Boko Haram increased drastically its violent activity in this region. Therefore the presence of expatriate staff in this area represents a risk that cannot be faced. Despite this, thanks to the work of our member of the assembly and coordinator of the projects in the area, Antoine Bouba, the school of N’Drock remains operational, the only school operational in the entire region of Tourou that provide quality education to more than 600 boys and girls in the middle of war.
Peru has an area of 1.285.215 square kilometers, being the third country with the biggest extension of South America, after Brazil and Argentina. Its territory is composed of diverse landscapes: valleys, plateaus, the high peaks of the Andes and the Amazon forest, being one of the countries with the greatest biological diversity of the planet. It has 30 millions inhabitants, 11 millions of whom live in the capital, Lima.
The Peruvian culture is diverse, as a result of the intense mixture of cultures that arises from the colonization 500 years ago. As part of its rich cultural tradition, Peru features many different languages. Although Spanish is the language of common use, quechua is a major legacy of the Inca empire which is still spoken in many parts of Peru.
Politically, Peru is organized as a democratic presidential republic. Administratively, the country is divided into 24 departments, among them the departament of Loreto, where Zerca y Lejos NGOD carries on its activities..
Loreto, located in the northeast part of the country, is the largest department of Peru, with an area of 368.852 square kilometres. It is a large area of jungle plain, crossed by numerous rivers of large flow. It is in this region where the rivers Marañon and Ucayali find each other, forming the Amazon River. The population is 1,018,160 inhabitants, nearly half of whom live in the capital, Iquitos. The rest of the population live throughout the country, having as the only means of communication the river, given the absence of roads.
Loreto is a region which presents a critical situation regarding its social indicators. 56% of the population are living in poverty , being the District of Alto Nanay (The place where the project is carried out) in the category of “Extremely Poor District". With regard to education, this is de department which presents the worst indicators: only 6.1% and 1.4% of the students achieved the sufficient knowledge in reading comprehension and mathematics respectively. In regard to health, the child mortality figure was 39 per thousand live births in 2015. The figures for chronic malnutrition rise to 24,8%, reaching 36,3% in the District of Alto Nanay. With regard to the access to basic services, 70% of the population of the region in question have neither access to potable water nor drainage. . Almost 40% of the population is without electricity.
Because of this situation and following the principles which encourage Zerca y Lejos to contribute to the construction of a more just and humane world for those underprivileged and in situation of extreme isolation, this project aims to to support the work of the NGO Suyay in this region during two years in order to prevent violations of fundamental human rights, mainly in the field of education and health.
From Spain, we focus our efforts on being a bridge between cultures through awareness activities in schools, secondary schools and universities. In addition, we promote oral health aimed at poor people at the Cooperating Clinic of Lavapiés.
Our volunteers are our strength and their work is indispensable for the management and the impulse to the work which we develop on the ground from Spain. If you want to learn more about the volunteer activities in Spain click here.
You can come to see us, we are waiting for you!