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HISTORY AND PHILOSOPHY

Influenced by his longstanding engagement as a young leader—active in radio and peer sensitization on health and well-being, civic participation and meaningful engagement of/by young people, Deserve founder, Desmond Nji became increasingly interested in the well-being of individuals, whose personal development in relations to that of their society is inextricable. His childhood experience in designing and sewing with his mother, teaching, composing, preaching, mentoring and writing influenced his reckoning of altruism as the bedrock of identifying problems in the society and contributing solutions to the benefit and support of people in need. He admits being inspired by 1 Corinthians 16:14, ‘Let all your things be done with charity.’

‘Charity is the cornerstone of social development, including education and health. If all persons are born equal, then they deserve equal chances to achieve their potentials. Charity helps to bridge the inequality gap. It involves giving; not only in kind, but also knowledge, information and other services. This makes civil society a vital part of the society.’ Desmond Nji.

This philosophy and believes guide our actions since our founding, in:

  • Promoting the well-being of children, adolescents, young people and girls/women including gender equality and their sexual and reproductive health.
  • The use of education as the most robust way of improving health. Health and well-being are a function of wholesome training which shapes the mindset and enhances productivity.
  • Empowering individuals to connect dearly with their communities and become champions for development.
  • Promoting an integral approach to development in which everyone can meaningfully engage in solving common problems; thus, limiting intergenerational clashes and segregation.

‘To fellow young people and the wider stakeholder community I say: meaningful youth engagement is not window-dressing; it is intended to yield benefits for adolescents’ and young people’s health and well-being. As such, if decision-makers do not engage young people, young people should engage decision-makers through innovative ideas.’ Desmond Nji

Early Programmes

Our first community outreach; one which later inspired our subsequent projects was the ‘Invest in a Girl, Reap Sustained Advantages’ training programme. It provided free leadership empowerment to 30 enlisted young people in Bamenda using a wide-ranging curriculum organized for 12 weeks. The thematic areas included: sexual and reproductive health, civic responsibility, self-building, study tips, health and aesthetics. It was developed by and run by young people.

Growth

From 2015, Deserve became a champion for sexual and reproductive health with notable works in advocacy, community mobilization and building of an age-appropriate sexuality education manual for school counsellors in secondary schools in Cameroon. This process involved meaningful engagement of government officials, young people, adolescents, health professionals, educators and faith leaders.

We broadly cover the well-being of children, adolescents and young people and girls/women through our local actions, local and global partnerships.

Our vision has been supported through grants won by Desmond Nji and through technical support and funding thanks to our partnerships.

Expansion

We are committed to sustainable development through our vision, motto and strategies for sustainable actions. We are motivated to set the pace though expanding our outreach and building support programmes.