Services for a healthy environment and people

Rural Development Center Association: Cameroon

About

RUDEC needs the services of all volunteers from any country, with no barriers to age, sex or colour, who can help in rural development either with the continuation of existing projects (such as the orphan project, the afterschool project, community health outreach, women empowerment clubs or the eco-tourism project),or in the creation of new viable and sustainable progammes. The smaller the project the better. Do not overwhelm yourself or the community with large and timely projects. Aim to complete the project within your time in country, and focus on the sustainability of it after you leave.

Website
www.rudec.org
Founded
2006
Headquarters

United States

Reviews

Michael
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I spent a good deal of time with the people of Belo, RUDEC, and Cameroon as a whole. Cameroon was hands down my favorite country out of the more than 20 i have visited and 3 I have lived in. The scenery is phenomenal (i was there during wet season), the country is far more developed than you might think, and most importantly the people there are fantastic. Everyone seems to be a personal ambassador for Cameroon trying to give you the best experience possible. I really can't put enough in this review to fully convey how pleasant it is walking through town and greeting everyone you meet in a slow and caring manner. The people of Belo are amazing and will receive you as their own. This is a great volunteer experience if you are self-motivated and want a catalyst by which you can spearhead your own projects for change in a developing country. Besides this RUDEC also has many functionary roles if you looking for more time and less responsibility however you'll have plenty of time I assure you. Joshua is driven and always working on a myriad of things. If you pay attention there are endless things to be done to further RUDEC's work. If your goals rely on the internet get the VAST majority done prior to arrival. It exists in Belo but...well you'll see. The house is fantastic and will most likely exceed your expectations. I never felt unsafe AT ALL in Belo or really any other location in Cameroon. Living expenses are minimal. The scenery around where you live is breathtaking. Get a motorcycle and travel the ring road! Say hi to Lucky Child for me and buy a painting. Try corn beer til you like it. Wash sugar cane before you eat it. Finally, put effort into primarily hanging out with Cameroonians you will experience so much more and they are nicer anyways. They like to host you for dinner so ask them. 10 of 10 would recommend.

What would you improve about this program?
Internet connection that is not stone age.
Default avatar
Andrea
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteering with RUDEC was a life changing experience for me. I was a volunteer in Cameroon for three months during my leave of absence from university and it is something I will remember for the rest of my life. It was my first time traveling abroad, and Joshua and the community were supportive and welcoming. There are endless activities for volunteers, including tutoring in local schools, working with women empowerment groups, volunteering at hospitals, etc. Joshua also encourages volunteers to start their own community development project based on a needs assessment conducted by the volunteer. This is a great opportunity for self-starters. Beyond volunteering, Belo is a perfect location for exploring. It is a safe community and is tucked away on a mountainside, making every moment picturesque! On my 21st birthday, fellow volunteers and I hiked to the top of Mount Oku and spent the afternoon on the banks of its sacred crater lake - definitely an unforgettable birthday experience!

What would you improve about this program?
RUDEC volunteers have the opportunity to continue existing projects started by previous volunteers or to start new projects. Although this provides each volunteer the opportunity to help in his or her own way, it also leads to some projects being discontinued. RUDEC could have a greater impact if it implemented projects with more discretion, ensuring sustainability and continuation.
Default avatar
John
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I worked with RUDEC for 3 months, primarily as a summer school teacher. It was a great trip, and one that I'd definitely recommend to others. The scenery up in the mountains is beautiful, it's very safe, the people are very friendly and Joshua always makes time for volunteers! If you want to experience the real, everyday developing world, then this is for you.

What would you improve about this program?
For the first half of my volunteer period I was the only vounteer. Coming with a friend would have made it easier to settle in.
Default avatar
THEO
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I went there a few years back as one of the first volunteers. It was an amazing experience, especially because Joshua, the manager, supports you to thrive in what you do best and would be most useful for the comunity.

Programs

Displaying 1 - 3 of 3

Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

John Lindsay

John is from Newcastle, England, and a recent graduate of BSc Disaster Management at Coventry University. He was 20 years old when he volunteered with RUDEC as a summer school teacher during a university placement year and is now, since graduating, seeking a career in the humanitarian and international development field.
John

Why did you decide to intern abroad with RUDEC?

John: Given my intended career direction, I was seeking opportunities to gain experience in international development at community level. This is exactly what RUDEC offers along with the freedom to manage your own work. A lot of organisations charge a lot for excursions to developing countries and have a strict program to follow, but the beauty of RUDEC is that you can go out there without breaking the bank and take charge of your own project while still having support at the same time.

It’s a great experience of what the developing world is really like, and great for personal and professional development. Also, I never experienced any issues with safety and security. A lot of people who don’t know the country might just immediately associate it with insecurity, but Cameroon is a peaceful country and there shouldn’t be any trouble.

How has this experience impacted your future?

John: Volunteering with RUDEC has had a massive impact on my future, professionally and personally. Professionally, I’m still young and only just starting out in my career, so spending 3 months in Belo and working independently is great experience. A proven capability of adapting to unfamiliar environments and cultures is something that employers look for.

Personally, I gained a lot as well. For the first half of my trip I was the only volunteer. While Joshua was always there when I needed him and helped in any way that he could, planning and delivering my program took a fair bit of effort and initiative on my part. It was a challenge, but now I’ve proven to myself that I’m capable of facing new challenges. It was definitely a challenge worth facing.

cliffs

What is one piece of advice you’d give future RUDEC interns?

John: Be open-minded and don’t go there with any big assumptions about what Belo is like; especially if this is your first trip to Africa or the developing world. It is very clearly the developing world, but it isn't the extreme wilderness that some people might imagine. It’s a relatively normal place, just without the same luxury that we have in the west.

Be prepared for a different way of life (i.e. not many tarmac roads, and don’t be shocked when there’s a power cut or the internet doesn’t want to work properly), but there’s still enough familiarity with the west that you won’t feel completely alienated. Make a bit of an effort and you’ll get on well.

Tell us about any interesting cultural tidbits you noticed about your country.

John: Some things are just done in different ways. Taxis, for example, don’t function like they do in England. Firstly, you have to find a taxi that is going to where you want to go. Then you have to wait until the taxi is full because you pay per person and empty space means the taxi driver loses money. When I say full, I mean full. Minimum in a 5 seat car is 4 in the back and 2 in the passenger seat.

There will often be another passenger sharing the driver’s seat with the driver as well. People will be dropped off and picked up on the way, so get used to sharing car seats. I don’t know if that counts as culture, but as far as getting on with the local population, I found everyone is generally much easier going than in England and much more friendly. It’s easy to find your feet there and get on with people.

teacher and students

Did you run into a language barrier?

John: There wasn’t a massive language barrier. Cameroon is a bilingual country (French and English) and Belo is Anglophone, so English is very widely spoken. I don’t speak French, so landing in Douala (in a Francophone region) could have caused problems but Joshua was with me the whole time I was there. In Belo, the local dialect is Kom, which is spoken by everyone in the village.

No one would expect you to be fluent when you go out there but people really appreciate when you try, even with small things like “good morning” or “thank you”. People are friendly regardless, but they’ll be even more friendly if they hear you trying to speak in their dialect. Also, you’ll probably hear the word “wabangna” a lot which is Kom for “white person”. Once I learnt what it was I started hearing it everywhere. You’ll get used to it.

More Interviews

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Joshua Chiamba

Job Title
Co-Founder and Coordinator
Joshua Chiamba was born in 1975 in Belo, Cameroon. He is the co-founder and coordinator of RUDEC-Rural Development Centre. At the age of six on the death of his father he was sent to live with his aunt, who supported him throughout his school days. Upon leaving school, His great could no longer afford to support him. He did not studied at university, instead he decided to become a proficiency beekeeper and social worker; researched what he needed to do and what organisations to connect with to be the best beekeeper he could be.
orphans

What position do you hold at RUDEC? What has been your career path so far?

Joshua: The position I hold at RUDEC is co-founder and coordinator. My career path was not easy because I lost my father and could not have a person to send me to school. This made me to choose a path of practicing with other organization and learning skills that could help me out of Poverty, I studied beekeeping with a British organization called Bees Abroad and became a proficiency beekeeper and learn also social work skills from all projects that I work with them.

I did consultancy with Wildlife Conservation Society Cameroon. I have done courses on Project planning, management and evaluation so that I could better manage RUDEC. I am still looking for avenues to studies as I need more education to do better and better.

horse riding

What does the future hold for RUDEC - any exciting new programs to share?

Joshua: RUDEC started without capital or resources set to run it but a belief that change would come. RUDEC started in my little room in 2006 and moved out to a central office now in town though on rents but a big move! We had always thought of expanding RUDEC to other countries in the world, which is not easy but progress is coming on.

We have successfully register RUDEC in Germany by a volunteer and it is helping us now to have PayPal donations and support, this process will have to continue. We always have exciting projects like teach abroad project to orphans and vulnerable children ongoing! We have a tourism project as an income source for RUDEC and many more would come up so that RUDEC would become a sustainable organization in the future. We hope to have a volunteer house for our volunteers build so that they pay cheap.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

Joshua: I started working for RUDEC since its creation in 2006 and sees changes in my life. I have manage this post since creation and my knowledge has grown so much that I cannot recount here. I have learn to know people especially international volunteers and community people.

My skills in personnel management has improve so much that it’s much easier now for me to handle people and their situations. My interest in working as a volunteer for my community has continued to grow because each day I see orphans and feel petty for them and that has made me more motivated to do work , let alone when people give me thanks for the work done to better their lives or their community.

belo

Describe a time when you felt especially proud to be part of the RUDEC team:

Joshua: Being part of RUDEC team is inspiring because of the flexibility and focus. I always feel proud to be part of this team. We have always work as a team and this is what we do not see in some projects and being part of RUDEC it makes me proud to be with this team always. One of my most memorable time was when we initiated the orphan’s project in 2008. One of the team member asked me if we could start and orphan because she saw many in the community that needed help.

We did not have the resources and money to take on this project but as a team we had a meeting and we agree that we have to start it and work hard for it even without resources to give hope to the hopeless children. As a team, miracles happen that we enrolled first 25 children and begged things to give them but this volunteer when to her home country and raised 500 euros that help us pay fees and get school needed for these children.