General information on Cameroon

Although Cameroon is one of the more stable countries in West Africa, vulnerable families and children face many challenges. Poverty, malnutrition and HIV/AIDS mark the lives of many, especially in rural areas. Children are in need of protection and care so that they can grow up in safety, go to school and become independent adults.

Vulnerable families and children are affected by conflict

When children have nobody to care for them, SOS Children`s Villages provides them with a home (photo: SOS archives)
The Republic of Cameroon is situated in West Africa and is home to 23.7 million people. In general terms, the country is more politically and economically stable than other countries in the region. However, families are in need of support as they continue to face important challenges.

Economic crises and conflicts in neighbouring countries have repeatedly affected the lives of Cameroonians. Cameroon’s neighbours – Nigeria, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea – have all had their share of difficulties. This has led to an influx of refugees into Cameroon, especially in the northern and eastern areas of the country. The conflicts with Boko Haram in the far north of country have intensified in the recent past, and an increasing number of people have had to leave their homes.
 

Children are in need of protection and care

Children in SOS Children’s Village Mbalmayo participating in Red Hand Day to draw attention to the fate of child soldiers (photo: R.Tiagho).

The country’s health issues also affect children. Infant- and maternal mortality rates are amongst the highest in the world. In the case of malnutrition the situation is getting worse: malnutrition in children rose by over 11 per cent between 2014 and 2016.

Only around 57 per cent of children finish primary education. School is free but parents often cannot afford the extra costs involved.

An estimated 310,000 children have lost their parents to AIDS but the lives of many more are affected. These children often have to care for sick relatives or become the main breadwinner. Although not legal, around 42 per cent of children are forced to work, (UNICEF est.).

Children have also been forced to fight. According to some reports it was children who carried out 21 suicide bombings carried out by Bolo Haram in the Far North Region of the country between July 2015 and February 2016.

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