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YOK ,its region, its economy, its popuJation

Yoko is a small sub-prefecture located three hundred kilometers north of Yaoundé.

It is in a remote region, difficult to reach. A single dirt road, not always in good condition.,

leads into Yoko. In the rainy season, it is usable only with great difficulty The nearest small

city is two hundred kilometers away and 6 hours are needed to go to Yaoundé (300 km) The
district and the parish cover an area of fíve thousand square kilometers with a population of
approximately fourteen thousand inhabitants. The population density is thus very low (O. S per
sq. km) The villages are very far from one another. Sorne villages can be reached only on
foot, others only in the dry season with an all terrain vehicle. Yoko is in a transition zone
between north and south Cameroon. This is evident from a geographical point of view (from
forests to savannah) as well as trom a cultural and religious point of view (at the limit of
Islamic influence ; in sorne vil1ages, SO to 90% ofthe population is Muslim).
The inhabitants live essentially from farming (manioc, peanuts, yams) and from hunting and
fishing. Incomes are Jow since commercialization of agricultural produce is rendered very
difficult due to the state ofthe roads. Throughout the region, the young people, who make up
about SO% of the population, generally attend school. However, in the past few years,
educational services have declined substantially. Girls go to school less ofien and stop their
studies at a younger age In the small town of Yoko (three thousand inhabitants), there is a
Iycée with classes through to terminale (the final year of secondary studies).
Health services are very deficient. AIDS is spreading throughout the region and prevention
measures are urgen!. Unfortunately, as in all of Black Africa, malaria also continues to be
In Yoko, electricity is only distributed in the evening and with more 01' less 1011g interruptions.
The other vil1ages don't even have that. As for water, every family must look out for itself by
going to get it from small streams and stocking it during the rainy season. This situation led
the Mission to dig a large cistern for its own use two years ago.
A mobile phone network works since 2007 in Yoko and all around only.

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The Mission covers an area of 5,000 km 2 and is home to about 30 widely-scattered village
communities of between 40 and 1000 inhabitants. The Catholic Church came and settled in
this region in December, 1948. Thus, evangelization is recent and in some communities the
majority of the inhabitants are just now preparing for baptism
One French Dominican priests, assisted each year by a young Cameroonian pastoral trainee,
are in charge of this Mission: Father Didier Pentec6te. The Mission reports to the diocese of
A great accomplishment has been done recently with the translation of the Gospel into the
local "Yute" language

The Pastoral:
 Many baptisms of adults and adolescents are celebrated there even though many community
animators are themselves not yet baptized. In this context, the Mission applies itself to
creating self-sufficient living communities in all the far-flung villages This implies the
priority of training animators who will also become leaders for their villages. This is
especially necessary as visits to these communities can be made only once a month since they
are so far away and the roads in such poor condition. Many villages can be visited only once a
year since they are poorly accessible by car which means a long round-trip on foot!

Youth FelJowship:
Several groups permit the large population of young people to come together : Cop'Monde
(World Cooperation) for the youngest, JEC (Young Christian Students), and Jeunes du Monde
(Youth ofthe \Vorld) for those who work. It is especially important for the young people to be
able to meet in groups ; in their villages, they are not often allowed to express their opinions :
the power is in the hands ofthe elders and tradition must be respected.
Training programs are organized for young people : lectures, film projections, discussions and
meetings with parents. These programs address all the difficult local realities: abortion, AIDS,
witchcraft, corruption, justice.
The Fellowship also has a library (in need of more material) with two reading rooms. A small
computer center allows young to train themselves on 3 computers TY and YCR are also at
their disposal.

Other training programs:
Training programs are not limited to religious themes nor are they only for the young.

In addition to the topics listed aboye, there are specialized sessions about agriculture, hygiene,

music, sports and courses in the locallanguages.

Training programs for women need to be developed as many of the young women have left

schoo! early. Previous!y, this was ulIdertaken by a religious commullity which, llllfortllllate!y,

had to !eave the Mission - they lvere caUed back to thei,. congregation lvhich, like so many

others, has been overtaken by the prob!em ofan ageing comnnmity.

The Mission is current!y lookingfor allother congregation, evell aforeig¡l one, though with no

resu!ts as ofyet.

Several realized accomplishments
   •	 Arranging the promises ofthe Yoko Fellowship to serve as a training center
   •	 Same thing for the former N'Djolé Mission on the territory ofYoko
   •	 Construction ofthe Youth Center ofthe village ofMankim by young people belonging
       to the three faiths (Catholic, Protestants and Muslim)
   •	 Building and equipping the Nurserv SchooJ ofthe viJJage ofKono- fnr »11 ('¡"';lrlra~
Fight agailJst Aitis
The Mission having no means for a medical assistance is operating in another way A local
and national well known singer, belonging to the parish, has written and recorded songs in
French language and also in 4 different vernacular languages of this region. Recorded on
cassettes, these songs have been distributed in all the villages covered by the Mission. The
purpose of the songs is to make people aware of their responsibility in the spreading of Aids,
this ilIness not being the result of witcheries actions, as all illness in the mind of people.
After the success of these songs, they have made a further step in creating scripts for movies.
Then the action is performed by the inhabitants themselves of the town of Yoko. They do not
perform but are real1y actors oftheir own story, they live the script, which is a bigger success.
Now the videos are played in front ofthe vil1agers

The boarding schoo/:
The Mission has several small dormitories for the State secondary college students who have
no relatives in town.

The Mission 's Catholic Se/lO o/:
The Mission school has a nursery school and five primary classes plus a section dedicated to a
language introduction. It is highly appreciated for the regularity of its work and the presence
of the teachers who have a true sense of service despite their low salaries. The children
receive individual attention and a good social education. Muslims prefer to send their children
there rather than to the public school even though the government of Cameroon has made the
public schools free of charge.
In sorne others parishes, this kind of school is owned by the Dioceses. Yoko is too far away of
the Diocese of Bafia. Teachers would spend a lot of time and money (trip and
accommodation) to go to Bafia for their monthly salary. The Cameroonian State does not
financially support any longer the private schools though there is a contract between them.
Thus, the Mission is entirely responsible of this school, and has to face the salaries,
recovering only a few percentages ofthese costs through the school fees from the families.
According to this, the life ofthe school is pending from external donations.

Children and classes
   •	 180 pupils with 7 classes all together with:
          1 nursery
          1 section of language initiation
          1 class for each level ofthe primary school (CP: preliminary course - CE 1 and 2:
          elementary course - CM 1 and 2: middle course)

   • 1 Director (taken by the Diocese as director and teacher). He runs one class
   • 3 teachers running each one 2 classes

The actual yearly costs are:
1 director + 3 teachers       120.000 fCFA / month x 12 = 1.440.000 CFA            = 2.200 €
School stationary + special teachers training               200.000                     300 €
Total                                                                                2.500 € / yr
Participation moyene des familles                                                     - 9000 €
TOTAL A LA CHARGE DE LA MISSION                                                      1.600 E/y

The Mission needs to forecast several repairs in the buildings of the school
If the financing could allow it, it would be convenient to employ one more teacher
                                            CONCLU IONS

Pope Pau) IV's encyclical «Populorum Progressio» (1967), describes in detaiJ the duty of the
Church in the integral development of Man. In brief .

                           EvangeliZtltion is not possible without development.

The Catholic Mission of Yoko works in this sen se by training catechists, community leaders,
older youths to be responsible for the younger children, young women and wives to find their
full place and responsibilities within the society. In this way, the inhabitants of these isolated
villages become the actors of their own development and enter actively into the civic Jife of
their community - a necessary step towards democracy
In addition, the Mission plays a role of prime importance in keeping the population from
deserting the countryside for an imaginary happiness in the cities where the fate of many is:
unemployment, social difficulties, the breaking up of families and all subsequent

The Yoko Development Association has been specially created in Paris, according to the

Law 1901 (non-profit organization), with the sole objective of collecting donations and

subventions, in France and abroad, from friends and charity organizations, in order to finance

these development projects. lt is managed entirely by volunteers and does not plan to cover

any expenses but little stationary and necessary phone calls.

Individual gifts and subventions can be made by bank transfer to the account listed here


The fiscal authorities have given these charitable gifts benefiting from the fiscal deduction, at

Jeast for those who are subject to the French income tax.

All mail is to be sent to the association's mailing address (and not to the head office):
Yoko-développement             1 rue du Chemin Vert, 78100 St Germain en Laye - France

           AGENCE: 5T GERMAIN BELAIR                         0017802272
           RUE DE L AURORE
           SAINT GERMAIN EN LAYE                             11111111111111111 "
           78100 SAINT GERMAIN EN LAYE
           Té!.   0620 820 001
           Fax. 0139042305
                                                             YOKO DEVELOPPEMENT
                                                             1 RUE OU CHEMIN VERT
                                                             78100 ST GERMAIN EN LAYE

                                                             le 2 aoill2007

           Agence de domiciliation .
           8T GERMAIN BE'l AIR (02272)
           RIB     3000402272 00010001647 90
           IBAN . FR76 30004 022720001000164790
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