Action MAPLE is a not-for-profit organization created 1 1/2 years ago by Christelle, Cindy and Ariane, three young Cameroonian women from the diaspora. Their mission is to have a positive and lasting impact on the lives of rural populations in Cameroon at first and that of other African countries thereafter.
During an interview with Digikan, the founders explained the scope of their pilot project “Wanda Four”, which will allow Cameroonian mothers to have a better cooking experience through the use of a new type of oven . Passionate about this project, Christelle and Cindy explain their journey, from the name of the not-for-profit organization to the implementation of the first project.
Q: Why did you choose Action MAPLE as your name?
Christelle: I was referring to the Maple Leaf in Quebec, the province where the project was born and the dynamic women we represent. Action MAPLE means the Action for the Mobilization and Support of the Populations against Poverty and the Limits to the Blossoming.
Q: What does the “Wanda Four” project consist of?
Christelle: When I went on vacation to Cameroon a couple of years ago, I could not help my cousin in the kitchen because of the intense, toxic smoke that I could bear more easily before coming to Canada. In the country, women are used to cooking on a wood fire and endure this smoke for several years. But what they do not know is that this smoke produces toxic and dangerous gases. When I returned to Montreal, I researched how we can improve the health of these women over the long term and, above all, make the time they spend in cooking more enjoyable. And that’s when I discovered the existence of a new type of oven.
Q: What is the particularity of its ovens ??
CW: They will not only be economical, we will reduce the amount of wood used by women, and cooking will be faster, because with the new oven, heat will be concentrated around the pot.
Q: How are you going to get them ??
CW: We will work with welders in Cameroon, who will follow the plans that we have already developed. I actually created a prototype in Montreal by bringing the cameras from Cameroon. After a few tests, I noticed that the cooking was very fast and the oven heated rapidly. We still have some adjustments to be made in the layout of the materials, but we can say that the plans can already be implemented.
Q: Have you ever received grants to finance this project ??
A: We received a grant from LOJIQ (Quebec’s international youth offices) to finance the trip, and we organized a fundraiser that brought us $ 5240. This money will be used to create the first 50 prototypes that will be distributed to several NGOs
Q: How will the distribution in Cameroon ??
Christelle and Cindy: We will distribute the ovens in several stages. First of all, Cindy will go to the country to look after the administrative side. So the company registration and field analysis. Then, Christelle will go in, contact the welders, do the assembly and distribute the furnace in several families in Yaoundé, Douala and western Cameroon. Our partner who is already in Cameroon and who is already a specialist in the field will then follow up with all families who have received the first ovens in order to evaluate their efficacy and to improve it if necessary. We will then contact business schools to continue distribution. We intend to produce and distribute 1000 ovens.
Q: Have you ever achieved the desired goals in Montreal ??
Cindy: For now, we are making this wonderful project known to the Cameroonian Diaspora in Montreal, through social networking nights, social networks, dance classes, etc. We want to reach as many people as possible, but this is not at all obvious, as Cameroonians in the Diaspora are not fast to embark. We need to expand the team and above all to make our cause known and the benefits that this could bring to the populations.
Q: What will be the next target country after Cameroon ??
Cindy: I think that after Cameroon, Togo will be next our next destination. We are targeting several African countries, the choice of Cameroon was the easiest for us since we grew up there. But once we reach our first goals, we can talk about expansion.
Article written by Éva Medi