CFDP founder Justin Forzano first traveled to Cameroon in 2006 with the University of Dayton ETHOS Program. Over the next three years, he worked to design and construct a clean water supply system in Barombi Mbo, a village in the Southwest Region of Cameroon near the city of Kumba. Each year Justin traveled to Cameroon, he carried with him soccer equipment and jerseys donated by friends including universities, high schools, and sporting goods stores
in his hometown of Wheeling, West Virginia. Soccer players and clubs in Cameroon were more than grateful to receive the goods and it wasn’t long before Justin got to thinking:
How can we leverage Cameroon’s love of soccer, and use donated soccer equipment from the U.S., to encourage development, and empower new generations of leaders?
Along with a team of local community leaders in Kumba, Justin assembled the initial workings of what would grow into the Cameroon Football Development Program. In the summer of 2010, the inaugural CFDP summer camp brought over 100 youth together from around Kumba for a week of soccer drills and lessons about many of the important issues facing Cameroonian adolescents, including HIV/AIDS, sexual responsibility, healthy interpersonal relationships and community building. With the support of the Kumba community, CFDP established a solid foundation to build upon and has continued to prosper ever since.
Mission in West Africa
CFDP employs a distinct approach to educating and empowering youth in Cameroon which combines educational lessons and discussions with soccer drills and games in a positive and uplifting atmosphere.
CFDP collaborate with schools, churches, soccer clubs, and community groups by training local leaders within partner organizations, like teachers, skilled soccer players, and other professionals, who serve as positive role-models for the youth who participate. They provide each partner group with a handbook that includes information on topics including, HIV/AIDS education, life skills, health and fitness, conflict resolution, water sanitation and general health related issues. Additionally, the handbook contains instructions for leading soccer drills and games as a platform to encourage friendly competition, instill self-confidence, and emphasize teamwork. This curriculum is based on proven techniques for combining health education and sport. Friends at Soccer Dreams Without Borders, Grassroots Soccer, and FSS Salaberry have been instrumental in developing our approach and tailoring it for maximum effectiveness within a specifically Cameroonian context.
After completing their CFDP training, the partner leaders run regular, weekly, sessions at their organizations based on the curriculum handbook. This linear approach allows students to build upon topics and discussions from previous meetings, encouraging enhanced comprehension, reliability, and sustainability. As the sessions progress, CFDP site coordinators from our central Kumba office visit regularly to monitor progress, evaluate the effectiveness of the curriculum for future updates, and otherwise support the session leader.
In addition, CFDP provides collaborating groups with donated new and lightly-used soccer equipment. This equipment serves as important capital for many of our collaborating groups, who, without it, would not have the resources to support after-school football. CFDP participants, both organizations and individuals, who display hard work, a dedication to the ideals of CFDP, and an exceptional execution of the program can be rewarded with additional equipment based on availability.
To learn more about CFDP and to get involved please visit http://www.cameroonfdp.com/contribute/