Marieke on her first day at the site
Marieke on her first day at the site

Hello friends and supporters of BWC!

On the 25th of September 2014 I joined the Better World team in Bamenda as a new volunteer, to be staying with them for three months. Although my background in terms of studies is not in agriculture or environmental science, I have always had a great interest in these topics, and in the positive change that permaculture can bring.

I chose to be volunteering at the North-West regional office in Bamenda to be very closely involved in the further development of the permaculture demonstration site in Bafut; in turning that into a real learning centre and ecovillage.

Of course that development does not only require practical work on the ground (planting, sowing, pruning, harvesting, the building of the eco lodge etc.), but also a lot of organizational management. BWC has a lot of great partnerships with many local, national and international organisations, but the structuring, planning and following up on these collaborations cause a great workload for the BWC volunteers here. That is what I’ll mostly be helping with in the coming three months.

Volunteer Better WorldAside from taking up part of that day-to-day workload, I’ll also be working with the other BWC volunteers to create good infrastructures for project writing, reporting, documentation and strategic planning, to help these processes run more smoothly and efficiently – not only during my presence, but also in the future.

In exchange for this I receive a lot of hands-on experience with permaculture the African way, an amazing experience being immersed in the nature and culture of North-West Cameroon, and simply a great time working with the lovely BWC team!

You can read more about my experience here in my blog.

For those who want to know a bit more about me:
I’m from the Netherlands, 23 years old and have just finished a research master in Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the University of Amsterdam. In January 2015 I will go on to do a PhD on the topic of Language Evolution at the University of Edinburgh.

However, I decided to first take three months to follow my other, neglected passion: that of working towards a sustainable planet and solutions to poverty through the principles of permaculture.

I come from a family of very dedicated environmentalists and have many years of experience helping out with the harvest coordination at the organic blueberry farm of an uncle and aunt of mine in The Netherlands.

Coming to Cameroon to volunteer with BWC for me constitutes a way of finally putting this passion into practice and to see for myself what is possible and what is needed to achieve that. Plus of course the unforgettable and eye-opening experience of living in a culture and nature so exotic to my own!

volunteer outing



2 thoughts on “Volunteer Marieke”

  1. Sounds fantastic Marieke! Edinburgh is missing you but I guess we can lend you out for a bit to make the world a better place 🙂

  2. Marieke has come in at the right time in BWC’s sustainability agenda and is filling a missing link in its concept of exporting development education the African way.
    At the core of BWC’s short term plan is Organizational development.
    Hopefully by living in connection with nature Marieke will certainly deepen her experience and build new skills in community living

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