Nourish International, a 5C organization focused on combating world poverty, will head to Fundong, Cameroon this summer to participate in a community-based project.
The group will be collaborating with Better Family Foundation, a grassroots organization based in Fundong that focuses on empowering families both socially and economically.
“Through this project, we are hoping to—as a group—connect with a community abroad, assist in sustainable changes within that community, and develop our own personal and leadership skills,” said Luke Miller PO ’15, the leader of the summer endeavor.
To determine what kind of projects the group would organize and participate in, Better Family Foundation reached out to community members in Cameroon and decided that “the best use of [Nourish’s] resources would be to hold an HIV/safe sex education camp and a four-day healthy relationships seminar, as well as expanding a water project,” said Jacob Fiksel PO ’15, Nourish International’s co-founder and head of the International Project Committee.
Although the Nourish International organization has been in existence since 2003, the Claremont chapter was only started at the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year by Fiksel and Manya Janowitz PO ’15. The Claremont chapter is both the newest of the 29 chapters nationwide and the largest, with thirty members.
The Cameroon trip will be the Claremont chapter’s first trip, though other Nourish International chapters aim for one international project every summer.
Janowitz discovered Nourish International last spring and realized the 5C community lacked an organization of this kind.
“We have some groups on campus that deal with global poverty, but none that give students a tangible way to make a difference and the tools and creative space to be a part of that solution. I wanted to bring that, as well as more discussion about international development, to the 5Cs,” Janowitz said.
Members of Nourish International run small businesses and events on campus for initial fundraising. Then, the group invests those funds in a sustainable development project abroad with the help of a local organization in the community.
The goal of this Nourish chapter is to keep implementing projects like the Cameroon trip, and as Janowitz said, “100 percent of the profits we raise go toward the community we work with abroad.”
Although this is the organization’s first trip, the group is confident they can succeed in accomplishing their goals.
“We will be in an English-speaking region of Cameroon, so there should be no language barrier, and those of us participating will meet weekly before we depart, so we will be prepared for our tasks,” Miller said.
The only foreseeable bump in the road will be adjusting to an unfamiliar environment, but, as Miller said, “we hope to prepare everyone as best we can before we actually arrive in Cameroon.”
As for the future of Nourish International on campus, the organization will seek to increase its presence across the 5Cs by continuing to fundraise.
“In the future, I hope that our 5C chapter can have a strong presence across all 5Cs, can raise large amounts of money, and can run multiple international projects each summer,” Janowitz said.
So far, Nourish International has raised over $1,500 through various fundraising and awareness events, and they are still accepting applications for the Cameroon trip.
The organization is currently competing in an online giving challenge with other Nourish International chapters to raise as much money as they can for the month of February. The winners will receive an extra $1,000 in cash prizes, and 100 percent of the profits will go toward the community project in Fundong.