Baka Community Creates a Mobile Pre-School in Cameroon’s Forests

By Anika Rice, Explorer Programs

To an outsider, the forest of Southeastern Cameroon appears silent and still, but to the native Baka, it is teeming with smells, sights, and sounds of flora and fauna. The Baka can navigate overgrown forest trails effortlessly, imitate animal calls precisely, and smell an unseen gorilla from yards away. Their understanding of the plants, animals, and waters has been developed and passed down from generation to generation.

However, the lack of pre-primary education means that many children enter primary school without the foundational skills they need to learn basic letter sounds, numbers, and shapes. With support from National Geographic’s Genographic Legacy Fund, a coalition of Baka communities developed a mobile preschool that brings early language education to the forest.

Organizing Around Education

The Baka have continually adapted to environmental changes and outside influences by adjusting their hunting and gathering techniques and engaging in trade. The rise of mining, logging, and poaching, however, has pushed the Baka into day labor on neighboring farms, making them leave their ancestral traditions behind. Illiteracy prevents Baka communities from understanding and defending their rights. To build foundational literacy skills and cultural pride in young children, the community coalition started the Chasing Two —> Read More Here


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