Benevolent Community Education and Rural Development Society, BERDSCO founded on 15th October, 1990 is a mixed gender organization. The Ministry of Territorial Administration licensed it in Cameroon and thus enabling its existence on the 15th of October 1990 and later incorporated by the decision No. 107/9.37/D14/L/Vol.10/T/SP with activity code 825 and statistical No. 7227801 – B. It is registered as an association with the status of a non-governmental, non-political, non-profit making body working specifically for the interest of the rural population with the head office based in Buea, the provincial capital of the South West Province of Cameroon. It is recognized by the Ministry of state in charge of external relations by enclosure in its directory of NGOs by design No. 002456 of 26 August, 2003. It is solely responsible for activities in Cameroon with the rural family at the focus of activities. In this regard, it exhibits a high degree of issues on environmental education and management of micro-credit schemes in Cameroon, financing of mix gender generating activities from the standpoint of agricultural activities, small-scale animal husbandry to micro-enterprise development.
ItS activities are concentrated on the eradication of adverse of economic crisis, structural reforms and devaluation consequences of the franc CFA on the rural communities. To this effect, BERDSCO has identified the major problems of rural people in the area of income generating activities throughout its operational area of concentration which is the North West and South West Provinces of Cameroon.
Since its establishment in 1990, the NGO has been working in the area of environmental management, micro-savings mobilization, micro-credit delivery to women unions and groups and individual women entrepreneurs, technical management training to women’s groups, the provision of food security programmes, finding solutions to unemployment problems among the women. The teaching of responsible parenthood as a means to improve the quality of family life and as a strategy towards population awareness, the creation of awareness on HIV/AIDS and setting up to Local HIV/AIDS Control Committees. Thus it has trained and set up 46 Local AIDS Control Committees in the South West Province.
BERDSCO has successfully identified and developed 268 women unions in the English speaking provinces of Cameroon. It has trained 500 women in small-scaled entrepreneurs and has delivered micro-credits to 3168 poor for various diversified income generating activities. It has set up livestock farms for the rural population mainly in the area of pig breeding, poultry production and rabbit growing. BERDSCO is the only NGO that was selected by the Ministry of Social and Women’s Affairs (MINASCOF) in 1996 as the only leading NGO in the South West Province specialized in women development programmes. To this effect, it did administer the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFP) finance devoted to micro-credit for women for project: CMR/94/PO3, Women, Population and Development all women groups (unions) in the South West Province of Cameroon.
In this project, this NGO was charged with the mission to conduct feasibility studies on women income generating activities for micro-credit funds of UNFPA, supervision, follow-up and recovery of the said funds as well as evaluation on the impact of the credit on the life of rural women.
BERDSCO executed a project on livestock development for Mount Cameroon Project, an International NGO based in Cameroon on alternative strategy towards wildlife conservation in species and population. BERDSCO is executing a training course annually on “Credit Management for Grassroots Women.
The NGO is has been working closely with Canadian Fund for Common Initiative (CFCI) Yaounde, the Associated Country Women of the World (ACWW) in England for studies and financing of women income generating activities in Cameroon. Their funds put at the disposal of women groups are awarded as grant to BERDSCO to accord revolving soft productive credits to women’s groups. BERDSCO has been identified and awarded a shield as the best manger of women projects by Canada Fund for Common Initiative (CFCI) as a symbol of achievement. Dr. Makinde Olu of Agricultural and Management Training Institute (AMTI) Nigeria has developed documentation on BERDSCO micro-credit system for use by the Common Wealth Secretariat on Credit Management for Rural Women Entrepreneur in Africa.
The Institute has identified our micro-credit delivery techniques as the best innovative practice in Sub-Saharan Africa. To this effect, the Grameen Bank and Grameen Trust are now using BERDSCO as a potential structure for the replication of Grameen project in Lebialem Division, which is one of the poorest and enclave zone in Cameroon. As a mark evidence in the successes of its credit programme for the past five years this NGO has receives from the Micro Credit Summit “Certificate of Appreciation “ for working to ensure it’s goal that 100 million of the world’s poorest families, are receiving credit for self-employment and other financial business services by the year 2005 have worked for the past three conservative years. BERDSCO as an NGO had worked on consultative status and with the International Fund Systems of Rural Micro-financing within the Framework of a Demand Driven Approach to Agricultural Intensification in Cameroon under co-operation with International Fund for Agricultural Development. This is an approach that warrants BERDSCO to install the M & E system for micro-credits. As a result of these multiple achievements, BERDSCO gained its special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations in July 2001. It has now created two Village Banks as structures for community empowerment. It has receives massive capacity building programme from the African Development Bank (AMINA) initiative.