Vocational training for underprivileged women

The association “Compter sur demain” aimed to enable more underprivileged young women from the capital Douala to become financially independent, by expanding the professional sewing school run by the local association Hand in Hand. The project planned to increase the availability of vocational training courses for young women, many of whom were excluded from the professional world. It also aimed to support the young women who wished to start their own business, and to extend the scope of teaching to basic education (e.g. literacy and arithmetic), health and hygiene, optimising their chances of success.

The sewing school in Douala was entirely reconstructed instead of adding a new floor as originally planned. The new, two-storey, 346m2 building was completed and inaugurated in December 2014. Electric sewing machines and in-service training was provided for the teachers in order to improve the quality of training. Basic education classes were successfully integrated into the vocational training course, as was education in hygiene and sanitation. New internal rules and organisational procedures were implemented and made the school more efficient. Girls in their third and final year of the training course were offered apprenticeships within the school’s workshop, manufacturing work clothes/overalls, preparing them for working life. Upon receiving their diplomas, the girls were each given a sewing machine as an endowment, enabling them to set up their own small businesses.

The French association Compter sur demain supports projects designed for girls, recognising that education is key to development. In this project, Compter sur demain is working together with the local association Hand in Hand, created in 1988 to help orphans and children in need in Douala and its surrounding area. The training centre is in the same grounds as the orphanage run by Hand in Hand.





October 2013 - December 2014


Douala / Cameroon

With whom

Compter sur demain




24 million ( 2017)

Per Capita Income
USD 1'370/year (2017)

Poverty rate *
37% (2014)

Literacy rate
71% (2016)

Human Development Index
151st out of 189 countries (2018)

Cameroon’s geographic diversity is favourable to economic and agricultural activity, with farming providing a source of livelihood to 70% of the population. Cameroon has achieved universal primary education and 62% of school-aged children attend secondary school. Lack of infrastructure and an unfavourable business climate have hindered a sustainable reduction in poverty, although rates have dropped from 40% (2007) to 37% (2016). Health expenditure has greatly improved, increasing from 0.9% (2006) to 5.1% (2016) of GDP being spent on public health. However, infant health and nutrition have worsened since 1990, especially in the north of the country. 32% of children under the age of five are malnourished.

Sources: World Food Program, UNICEF, World Bank, 2016 Human Development Report, Human Development Indices and Indicators (2018 Statistical Update)

*The percentage of the population living below the national poverty line.