Though free basic education policy adopted by the government of Cameroon in 2000, many children remain out of school or dropout mid-way into their training program due to financial constraints.
While more than 90% of school-age children enrolled are in primary school in 2009, less than half completed education and the problem persist to date.
After a year into implementation, Goodness and Mercy Missions is sponsoring the education of 313 needy children in Belo community through its project entitled “Children Education through Women Empowerment”
An innovative idea, surfaced at the 2011 Cameroon Development Marketplace competition, brought approximately 100 women together to embark on an income generating activity supporting the education of needy children in Belo community. These women sold 106 barrels of palm oil with a start-up budget of XAF 6,000,000 (US $12,000) and earned XAF 12,767,000 (US $25,534). With benefits made (XAF 3,881,000 - US $7762), women from the community are sponsoring the education of 313 needy children of Belo community for the academic year 2012/2013.
While it is assumed that the free education policy would stimulate greater demand for education at primary level, this is not always the case, especially for the girl child of poor family background living in rural areas. Financial constraints (such as PTA fees at primary level or tuition fees in secondary school, and high cost of textbooks, etc.) associated with education plague the success of this policy. Therefore, improving household’s income would have a great impact on enrollment rate in school especially for the girl child. How to do this remains a challenge.