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Empowering Communities

Develope a Community Herbarium

Njinikom, Cameroon show on map

Develop a herbarium containing all the medicinal plants commonly used in the local community of Oku and create a database for their identification

Oku is a rich biodiversity hotspot. It is home to the remaining patch of the last surviving montane forests of West Africa known as the Kilum Mountain forest and an important Lake and Plantlife Sanctuary (Lake Oku and the Kilum-Ijim Plantlife Sanctuary-KIPLS). The growing population and other development initiatives are mounting lots of pressure on the environmental resources. In order to develop tourism infrastructure in Oku there has been the development of infrastructure around Lake Oku and the KIPLS. These include a staircase down the Lake and series of guest houses within the KIPLS. There has been a resultant degradation of the surrounding environment. Human activities are causing gradual disappearance of some rare plants for the forest and the sanctuary.

Our volunteer program will engage the volunteers through a rare plants conservation action. This will be realized through the development of a community herbarium, a sort of botanical garden containing all the rare plants in the community. The project will also involve the development of an online and offline database to conserve and share information about the plants. Such information include their local and scientific names, natural habitat and altitude where they grow, the biophysical conditions of growth, the pharmacological potentials,. their local uses and all relevant information for conservation and research.

The daily activities of the volunteer will include educative and planning meetings  with community members, field research  with community members especially traditional medicine practitioners to identify key plants, seeds collection in the wild, environmental education in schools and the community radio, plant nursery development, nursery management, and environmental restoration,  and subsequent development of a garden of rare medicinal plants, plant photography and database development using photographs. 

Free-time activities

Volunteers will have a rich experience made up of Biodiversity with hiking and trekking up the second highest peak in West Africa. They will the richest Montane forest in West Africa. Another experience is an encounter with the most fascinating and mythological Lake in West Africa as well as an experience of the healing powers of plants in a community so tied to their culture and traditional healing practice. You will have a taste of the certified geographical indication product Oku White Honey.In summary, you will meet Mount Oku (Kilum Mountain), Kilum Mountain Forest, Lake Oku, Oku Cultural Festivals etc
These activities will help improve your social integration in the community. It will also help you discover the touristic potentials of the community.


Program Requirements

In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s) or if your are accompanied by your parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level) and French (basic level)
Education Requirements
Conservation Biology or Botany at University level
Required Documents
Letter of Motivation and CV
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
Database development, online content development, agriculture, Taxonomy, Environmental Restoration
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 08:00 - 15:00

Suitable for


Included Services

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Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by Empowering Communities.

Before your journey

Profound consulting and ongoing support (free)
Empowering Communities (your host organization) provides consulting and is keen to answer all your questions. Once you reserved your spot, you will receive the contact details of your volunteer project.
Online preparation course (optional, from $49)
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On-site services

Services by Empowering Communities

The fees include transportation from airport city to project base, lodging at base, three square meals, support to the specific project and registration formalities with the local officials for tourism and culture. It does not include transportation, lodging out of project base, health insurance, and other personal expenses.When your flight arrives our staff will meet you either in Baggage Claim or outside Customs and take you to the where you will spend the night depending on the time.

Airport Pickup at Douala Airport

When your flight arrives in Douala or Yaounde Airport, you will have to show your yellow fever certificate and get your passport stamped before collecting your luggage. Our staff will meet you either in Baggage Claim or outside Customs and take you to the where you will spend the night if it becomes necessary. Depending on when your flight arrives, you could go out for dinner and learn more about SOPISDEW and Cameroon. Travel to project site involves a 10 hours journey.


Volunteer house is in a secure area 15 minute walk from the center of the township of Oku. The facilities contain 2 bedrooms, 1 bathrooms, a kitchen and living area. There is electricity and running water, but not hot water, though hot water can be provided. Oku occasionally suffers from power cuts. Power supply may interrupt but we provide another alternative such as solar lamps. You can chose to live on your own or with neighbors as we equally have facilities for families.

Guest Family Bedroom (Single) Bedroom (Double) Youth Hostel
Food & Beverages

breakfast, lunch and supper, soft drinks, vegetarian food, organic food

Internet Access
Limited access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Douala Airport (DLA) in Douala. We assist you to find cheap flights to Cameroon.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Cameroon provides security and is a plus to have.
If you are intending to volunteer in Cameroon you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Cameroon.
Costs (Prices in USD)
4 weeks (min. stay)
5 weeks
6 weeks
7 weeks
9 weeks
11 weeks
24 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees

You can volunteer at the project site in Njinikom/Cameroon between 4 weeks and 24 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Empowering Communities will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Crowdfunding Service
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Cameroon.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with Empowering Communities during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.
  Africa Middle Africa Cameroon  Njinikom, Elak-Oku
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