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National partner profile: Cameroon

ASAFE

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The Homeless World Cup partner in Cameroon is ASAFE – Association for the Support of Women Entrepreneurs: Knowledge Academy for Development – a registered NGO providing education and financial support for socially excluded women from rural areas, including microfinancing. They began their street football development programme in 2004 and worked only with male players until 2007, when they switched their focus to bringing the benefits of football to women. One of their main goals is to encourage women’s leadership with the help of football.

ASAFE was founded by Gisele Yitamben, a renowned female entrepreneur and human rights activists in Africa.

ASAFE are a social enterprise with extensive programmes for developing female entrepreneurship, particularly information and communications technology (ICT), in Cameroon. Through their service portfolio, ASAFE provide women with micro-finance, hands-on business education, counselling, and e-commerce support, allowing them to become self-sufficient and bring prosperity to their communities.

In 2002, founder Gisele Yitamben was named "Outstanding Social Entrepreneur" by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. Gisele Yitamben is an elected member of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Handicraft of Cameroon, where she presides over the Vocational Training Commission.

The organisation operates in Douala and Bafang in the West Province of Cameroon. In 2008, they took an all-women’s team to the Homeless World Cup in Melbourne. In 2012, they organised several street football tournaments in the quarters of the town of Douala. The tournaments were complemented by training workshops on income-generating activities. The workshops included manufacturing goals nets, mobile phone repairs, hair braiding, soap making, and cooking and baking. These seminars were organized with support from WomenWin USA.

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Mission statement

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Association for the Support of Women Entrepreneurs aim to contribute to rural development through knowledge, education, and social entrepreneurship. They encourage their participants to study, be physically active and engaged in sports activities, and start their own micro projects in order to achieve financial independence. They are specifically focused on women’s empowerment.

“The girls in the team are underprivileged who, in Cameroon itself, have never traveled to the capital city. The Homeless World Cup strongly boosted their confidence." Gisele Yitamben, leader of ASAFE

Goals for the future

Capacity Expansion

To spread street football to other cities across Cameroon and acquire more equipment

Women's Programmes

To continue with women’s programmes in order to encourage women’s leadership

Education

To educate women and offer them training workshops on income-generating activities with the ultimate aim of enhancing their financial independence and leadership

Additional information

Partner since

2008

Football Activities

Regular training sessions, and street football tournaments

Non-football services

Training workshops on income-generating activities, education, ICT trainings, and microfinancing

Participants challenges

Lack of education, poor living conditions, and a lack of employment and financial opportunities

Country challenges

Despite the abundance of natural resources in Cameroon, 39.9% of the population live below the poverty line and there is an unemployment rate of between 40-50% (World Bank, 2015). Around 5.3% of the population is HIV positive, causing more than 30,000 deaths a year, which makes many children orphans and therefore more prone to homelessness (Africa W, 2012).

Homelessness Statistics

The number of homeless people is believed to be rising, and floods and natural disasters only exacerbate the problem. In 2012, the floods left 25,000 people homeless (ReliefWeb, 2012). Due to internal ethnic conflict, around 5,000 people became homeless in 2014 alone (Cameroon Tribune, 2014).

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