One of seven children, IBMer Fred-Eric left Cameroon in his teens, under a scholarship to study biomedical engineering, a rare opportunity in a nation where access to education is highly restricted. His career path led to IBM in Germany, where he now serves as a business partner client relationship manager in Business Analytics.
Throughout his adult life, Fred-Eric returned regularly to the sub-Saharan African nation that is still home to his mother, three sisters and a brother. And in 2004, he gathered with friends at his home to discuss how to impact rural development in Cameroon and other regions of Africa.
The team began by founding the nonprofit agency ident.africa with an initial focus on the children of Boboyo, ancestral home of Fred-Eric’s late father. Two years ago, Fred-Eric and his team used IBM’s On Demand Community solution for Web design to create a pair of professional quality Web sites to promote ident.africa and raise funds: www.identafrica.org and www.kick4boboyo.com.
Since that time, Fred-Eric has accomplished many goals. “We’ve developed a team of people ready to manage projects with roles and responsibilities and time frames for project delivery in place,” he said. By 2006, the nonprofit had provided school materials including books, pens and manuals to more than 350 Boboyo students.
That number doubled over the next year, as the group began working with and financially supporting teachers in 19 classrooms. In 2008 – 2009, ident.africa paid the salaries ($50 a month) of 21 teachers.