Peace Corps Cameroon’s Agriculture Program aims to support and strengthen the capacity of smallholder farmers in rural areas to sustainably increase the productivity of their farming systems. Smallholder farmers contribute to more than 70% of the national food needs of Cameroon, though many still apply old and archaic agricultural techniques, which leads to low production. Additionally, most smallholder farmers lack basic business skills to make their farming a profitable enterprise. While the national agricultural development strategy recognizes the necessity of promoting sustainable agriculture that relies on family farms, limited attention has been granted towards smallholder farmers as there has been a shift towards supporting medium and large plantation farming.
Peace Corps Cameroon recognizes the value of an ecosystem approach to intensifying sustainable agricultural production and is committed to work with Cameroon’s Government agencies, NGOs, Local Research Institutions and rural communities who share this vision. The Peace Corps Agriculture Program is implementing a Smallholder Integrated Farming System Project where Volunteers employ a system approach based on conservation agricultural practices, the use of good quality seeds of high yielding adapted varieties, integrated pest management, plant nutrition based on healthy soil, efficient water management and the integration of crops, trees and small livestock. The project is focused on enhancing integrated agricultural production of rural smallholder farmers so as to increase their production and profitability.
Peace Corps Agriculture Volunteers work to build capacity among farmers through innovative extension approaches and the use of field based farmer training events. Their main tasks include empowering farmers with skills in farm planning, supporting new and low cost adapted agricultural technology transfer and building capacity in designing and managing small farm business projects.
Examples of hands-on field activity include:
• Engaging farmers in conducting farm assessment and developing farm plans
• Conducting field trials and demonstrations with farmers related to crop rotation, erosion control, cover crops, seed production, new or improved crop varieties and integrated pest management
• Working with local farmers who are organizing themselves into cooperatives in order to increase their production, lower production cost and gain higher market prices for their produce
• Training local people to create fruit tree nurseries and out plant into farmlands
• Motivating farmers to experiment with new or improved crop varieties and produce their own seeds
• Improving small livestock housing systems and providing health care
• Working with families and groups on methods to decrease post-harvest losses to insects, rodents, or spoilage.
Peace Corps Cameroon also encourages cross-sector work with the other program sectors (Health and Education). All Volunteers are expected to integrate HIV prevention activities into their work. Agriculture volunteers are therefore expected to collaborate with Education and Health volunteers to implement agriculture activities that empower adolescent boys and young women.
Agriculture volunteers in collaboration with health volunteers will also support people living with HIV to improve their nutritional status through improved gardening technique skills building, food transformation and nutrition education. Agriculture Volunteers will collaborate with health Volunteers to ensure that farmers learn more about HIV and adopt low risk sexual and health behaviors.
In collaboration with the Education program, Agriculture Volunteers are encouraging school gardens as a tool for learning and also encouraging entrepreneurial skills in adolescent girls. Examples of cross-sector collaboration opportunities include mushroom production, soy transformation, establishment of small vegetable gardens, nutrition training, malaria prevention activities, school gardens and composting projects with teachers and students.
Monitoring Reporting and Evaluation (MRE) is an integral part of Volunteer service in Peace Corps Cameroon. Volunteers are expected to routinely track, document and report all activities to their Program managers using tools and resources that will be made available once you arrive at post. You will receive training on MRE and on the use of these tools as well as routine onsite mentorship to build and reinforce your capacity to do MRE. You will be expected to report every trimester on a set of indicators contained in your project framework which will help Post staff measure progress towards attainment of program goals and objectives. It will also enable Post staff to share Peace Corps’ work with the Government of Cameroon and work partners.
You will receive training on how to implement the above requirements during your Pre-Service Training (PST) and during several other In-Service training opportunities. To facilitate your successful service, Peace Corps has adapted tools to help you do a needs assessment and integrate your community in a culturally appropriate way that gives you information about the needs of the community in relation to your program goals. Two of the most important key success factors are spending as much time as possible in your community to help you develop and maintain meaningful relations with community members and your ability to communicate in the local language.
Health coverage, Housing, Living allowance, Non-competitive eligibility (federal jobs), Stipend, Student loan forbearance, Training
English, French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish
Prohibits paid work outside of the sponsoring agency at any time
Subject to criminal background check