In March five members of the Cameroon Catalyst (Cam Cat) team from The University of Southampton attended a Development Issues field day at Trinity School in Croydon. The Cam Cat team, which consisted of Will Hooper, Jonathon New, Aidan Brown and Megan Spriggs, where tasked with presenting information on Cameroon, bringing attention to some of the issues the country is facing at present. The pupils where then split into teams of 4 or 5 and were asked to come up with a solution that they felt would best address the issues raised, which would then be judged by the Cam Cat team.

The Cam Cat team’s presentation began with a brief introduction to the charity and went on to highlight some of the reasons why charities like Cam Cat have focused their efforts in Cameroon, highlighting some of the problems faced in the country today. The conversation then moved into a more in depth discussion of the problems faced in rural villages in Eastern Cameroon such as Bambouti.

The information provided in the presentation lead the students to consider the following: education for young children, areas of work other than farming, issues with sanitation and clean water supply, and providing healthcare and energy supply. The teams of pupils were then asked to:

Design and justify a project that addresses the issues faced by a rural village in Cameroon.

The pupils then brainstormed ideas for over an hour, with the assistance of the Cam Cat team and the school’s teaching staff, before condensing all their thinking and justification behind their chosen project onto an A3 sheet of paper. Each team where then given 3 minutes to pitch their idea to the Cam Cat team, explaining their thought process and why they felt their idea would be the best solution to the problems faced in their chosen village. The teams then faced a series of questions from the Cam Cat team about their ideas.

The Cam Cat team where impressed by the calibre of ideas presented by the teams of pupils – ideas such as the travelling school bus that would serve five villages; storing resources as well as generating power though solar panels and a wind turbine. Although not the most feasible of designs, the idea was definitely a creative and enjoyable solution to some of the problems faced in rural Cameroonian villages.

In the end the winning team of pupils, appropriately named, Happy Pannell, presented the strongest case for a building that would provide accommodation for a doctor whilst also demonstrating solutions to issues such as power generation and clean water supply. They considered the costings for the projects and had given thought to the economic opportunities that would arise from elements of the project like power generation.

The day concluded with a presentation of the work Cam Cat has undertaken over the past five years in North East Cameroon – work which reflected some of the ideas generated by the pupils earlier on in the day.

A massive thank you goes to Trinity School for accommodating the Cam Cat team on the day. Events like these demonstrate the importance of educating and nurturing the young to ensure vital work carried out by charities like Cam Cat can continue well in to the future.

Below are some of the ideas created by the pupils of Trinity School.