A True Success Story
As the program ends and our longtime partner CEFA continues under local leadership, Growing Hope and Evangelical Covenant Church-Covenant World Relief (ECC-CWR) look back on 18 wonderful years of collaboration with the communities of Gamboula, located in Central African Republic’s extreme southwest on the Cameroon border.
In the early days, the CEFA was one of the few non-governmental organizations in the entire country, and was mainly focused on propagating disease-resistant cassava through passing on the gift of cuttings. Through their own good will and good work, these communities have come a long way! To name just a few of their many, many achievements, the 26 cooperatives (whose representatives posed for a group photo at the recent annual meeting) now oversee:
- Producing and adding value to palm oil from safer, disease-resistant dwarf palm trees
- Vegetable gardening, fruit-tree nurseries, small and large livestock husbandry, and fish farming
- Co-ops which organize agricultural training, self-help and savings and internal lending groups
- Involving men in farming activities and women in decision-making
- A “Garden of Eden” Nutritional Rehabilitation Center for children
Co-op members share their knowledge with others in their communities and non-member villages, often passing on starting materials like seeds or cuttings. Local authorities get involved and become a positive influence in promoting this kind of development. CEFA’s reputation in the region is strong.
In early 2020 Roy Danforth, the ECC-CWR missionary, and Benoît Zangao, CEFA’s director, both retired. CEFA’s new leadership has had to deal with both a rebel invasion and COVID-19. In spite of these significant challenges, CEFA is doing well and planning to continue their outreach, funding it through profits made through CEFA’s farm.
A gardener named Rodolphe summed up the program’s importance over the years, saying “CEFA has never given up helping people, nor has it gone away, even during tough times.”
Central African Republic Gamboula Program
Led by Evangelical Covenant Church-Covenant World Relief and Local Partner CEFA