In my previous post I laid out for you what makes ICA, ICA; although I mentioned our grass-roots approach and our propensity for building equal partnerships and fully collaborative approaches I should go further on this.
In Cameroon our main partnership is with the Centre for International Cooperation (CIC). CIC was founded by Professor Leke Tambo and his wife Mafua Patricia Tambo. As a team, Professor and Madame Tambo have dedicated their lives to improving the education and welfare of their people. In addition to his role with the CIC, Professor Tambo also serves Cameroon as the Secretary General for the Minister of Basic Education. Madame Tambo is deeply involved in the community, and contributes regularly to programs and events for the advancement of women’s health and education. The indigenous non-governmental organization (NGO) that they have created is dedicated to the cause of their people.
Professor and Madame Tambo have created an organization that understands the reality innately, it represents their reality; they grew up in villages very much like the ones ICA now works in. They have an empathy born of the soil, and an energy driven by concern for their fellow citizens. Any project that is undertaken by ICA is done so in full partnership with CIC, in fact most of the implementation work falls on CIC. CIC identifies the highest priority areas, CIC collects and helps interpret the foundational data collection, CIC hosts the community focus groups, CIC manages the construction, CIC prepares the reports, CIC educates the locals, finds the required trades people to assist, secures the required governmental cooperation, the list is endless.
Of course the Tambo’s do not conduct this important work without a wide network of support from within Cameroon. Over the years they have recruited into place an organizational structure that shares their views on Cameroonians helping Cameroonians. Our relationship with CIC is a partnership of equals; both organizations have their roles to fulfill in order to realize any success. Over the years the CIC has become adept at building any project on time, on budget and “on” quality, while still ensuring that the original intent of the program is never lost. For us at ICA the value of this relationship can not be overstated. We have developed a level of candor, professionalism and trust between the organizations that ensures that when things do start to go awry, as they will with any human endeavor, there is a comfort level within the communications that guarantees frank and open critical discussions and thereby enables the proper corrective measures. CIC relies on ICA to finance operations, but CIC has far more invested, this is their people, this is their country, this is their life. CIC is a vital part of what makes ICA.
It is an honor to work with Professor and Madame Tambo, two inspiring individuals who have helped change the educational environment within Cameroon.