Human Development Resource Centre (HDRC)

 Research --- Service --- Consultancy

Street Address:

Lafon Building, Third Floor

Ngen JunctionNkwen

Bamenda – NW Region


Tel: +237 7765-8831


Director: A. Bame Nsamenang, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Psychology & Counselling
Postal Address:
P.O. Box 270 Bamenda
NW Region, Cameroon
Tel: +237 7725-4133



Link to new website



The HDRC is an equal opportunity facility registered in 1995 in Cameroon for research and service on lifespan human development, with special focus on the next generations – children and youth. Today’s young people, who constitute over 60% of the population in much of Africa, are tomorrow’s citizens, leaders and competitors in a turbulent globalized world of cyberspaces, ICTs and more. They are Africa’s fragile bridge into an uncertain future, who require support.

The HDRC blends knowledge and skills from triangulation of the methodologies of the social, behavioral, health and educative sciences into understanding and intervening Africa’s theory of the universe, human embedding in African contexts, and the participative processes of Africa’s timeless traditions and current realities.

Conspicuous in sub-Saharan Africa by its virtual scarcity are centres of excellence in human resources development. Our long-term goal is to evolve the HDRC into a Centre of Excellence for Human Services Psychology to add value to Africa’s huge but underutilized human resources. Our efforts are to understand and enhance the strengths and positive elements of Africa’s rich heritages; with particular focus of research and service on the life courses of youngsters and the strategies they deploy to navigate their difficult life circumstances.

A Strategic Statement

HDRC is not a grant-awarding institution; it is a grant-seeking facility. Aware of their considerable but underused talents and skills, the founders of the HDRC initiated the laborious process of institutional building with start-off contributions from their meager resources, ready to compete for research/project grants and to seek donor charities and donations from the generous spirit of the donor and development communities.

Mission Statement

The mission of the HDRC is to generate evidence-based data on which to mount advocacy and interventions to advance the well-being and social competencies of Africa’s youngsters in their families, schools, communities, peer cultures, etc. and to add value to Africa’s social capital. The vision is to bolster the innate human ability to learn and become competent and responsible in the mastery of life circumstances and effective management of such developmental transitions as family formation, labor market entry and effectiveness, and the challenges and schisms of competitive market forces, social mobility, ICTs, and local versus global factors.


The HDRC seeks to:

  • Understand and enhance child and youth development in a hybrid Africa.
  • Offer assistance and guidance to orphaned and indigent schoolchildren.
  • Generate contextually and culturally apt knowledge and products for Africa’s / Cameroon’s needs in a globalized world, with keen attention to re-education and innovative technologies in agrarian and vocational productivity.
  • Provide leadership and mentorship in psychology and allied fields.
  • Advocate, network, and compete for institutional and societal development funding and knowledge dissemination.
  • Develop and mature the HDRC into an African Centre of Excellence in Human Services Psychology.

Pilot Intervention Sites

Kitiwum in the Kumbo Central Council and Nkwen in Bamenda Three Council in northwest Cameroon are HDRC’s pilot sites. They represent, respectively, rural and urban communities, with discernible dichotomies that reflect the core features of rural and urban settings in sub-Saharan Africa/Cameroon.

Networking and Partnering

The HDRC seeks and has established productive, collaborative networks at local, national, and international levels for partnership in capacity building and institutional and societal development. A Board of Directors and an International Advisory Board sustain the HDRC

HDRC Program Areas

I. Orphaned and Indigent Schoolchildren Assistance and Guidance

We are aware that USD 50.00 can pay the school fees and provide basic school needs to a child for one academic year. We are equally aware of the significant percentage of children who cannot obtain basic education because they languish in poverty or are orphaned and no one is available or ready to support their primary education. This program seeks to identify such children, establish their needs and offer supportive assistance and guidance to them.

II. Enhancing Positive Human Development (EPHD)

  The program focus is on positive human development but with special attention on three components, namely, early childhood development, youth development, and health psychology.

Early Childhood Development Component (ECD): As a significant entry point for progress with education, economic and social development, early childhood care and education (ECCE) is increasingly being recognized as an important strategy to achieve poverty reduction goals. Families, communities and nations differ in capacity and commitment to it, but usually to the detriment of children and women in general and the girl child and her mother in particular. The goal of this program is to undertake research to illumine the provision of services to give “a good start in life involving nurturing, care and a safe environment” (African Ministers of Education, 2005) to children 0-8 years through evidence-based interventions with children, their families and other ECCE stakeholders in Africa/Cameroon. The bulk of ECCE caregivers and practitioners in Cameroon are untrained, while parents are confused about which values to follow in caregiving and guidance of their children. The HDRC partners with Dr. Marc Bornstein at the U.S. NICHD [] on mother-infant interaction studies, with Professor Alan Pence at the Early Childhood Development Virtual University [] on ECCE services, and Professor Kofi Marfo at the Center for Research on Children’s Development & Learning (CRCDL) of the University of South Florida ( Africa-centric research.

Youth Development Component (YDC): The purpose of this program is to understand and generate local knowledge, products and services for children and youth, with the objective of improving the rich heritage and local knowledge and practices related thereto. Reproductive and spiritual health is a key concern of this program. The goal is to equip children and youth with knowledge and life skills to understand and cope with their sexuality/spirituality and to visualize and gain from the challenges of adulthood, work life and citizenship. The HDRC is a partner on research on spiritual development during adolescence with the Search Institute of Minneapolis in the U.S. (See:

Health Psychology Component (HPC): Human health is context-bound. It entails an experienced reality and considerable cultural and power differentials between client and practitioner. Most national health systems in Africa have adopted the models of global health to the apparent neglect of “the people’s medicine” (ethnomedicine). Inherent conflict exists in both the biomedical (modern) and ethnomedical (traditional) systems of health care. This program seeks to understand this tension, with the objective of strengthening the psychology (the human factor) of health care systems through capacity building and promotion of constructive dialogue and respectful inter-system learning. The focus is on endemic childhood diseases (HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, diarrhea, etc.), and adolescent reproductive health.

III: Workforce Preparation and Productivity Enhancement (WPPE)

Most African youngsters, especially Cameroonians, are at heightened risk because they are idle. Hundreds of thousands of young people are unemployed and many are on the street or in more risky spaces; their formal education did not prepare them as job creators nor exploiter of their rich natural environments. Thus, aware of the poor work ethic and entrepreneurial deficiencies in the general population and young people in particular, the HDRC has designed this program to re-orient youth into responsible and productive values for effective and productive entry or re-insertion into the workforce through knowledge and skills training in assorted vocational fields – ICTs, dressmaking, home décor and domestic appliances, craftwork, carpentry, etc. – in partnership with local apprenticeship facilities and agencies. Considering the poor and declining work habits in the public and private sectors in Africa in general and Cameroon in particular as well as the lack of the ability for self-employment and productive work life, the program also intends to mount Vocational Training to  ‘re-educate’ and re-insert both employers and employees and the jobless into productive values and practical skills of Project Making and Management and Human Services Psychology that underlie customer satisfaction, successful entrepreneurship, and profitable investment.


Training is community-oriented and focuses on the clientele, product consumers, vulnerable children/youth, fragile families/communities and the civil society at large. Its aim is to envision projects and services that can rekindle and bolster positive work ethic, customer satisfaction, agricultural production, psychological sense of community, and the family-community frontline responses through income generating activities (IGA) and other solidarity/coping strategies. It seeks to support and strengthen family, community, and civil society initiatives in participative self-improvement and community change processes. The training extends to innovative lay/peer counselling. The aim of the lay and peer counsellor training track is to creatively equip civil society, especially young people with simplified counselling knowledge, people-oriented sensitivity, life skills and techniques to prepare and dispense service projects for peasant farmers, psychosocial and spiritual support to the needy, especially the stigma and discrimination suffered by the disabled, the elderly, and HIV/AIDS infected and affected persons.

IV. Education Development and Travel Advisement (EDTA)

The program is designed to understudy, track and advocate the relevance or irrelevance of educational provisions and career development. It seeks to discover, generate or create ‘new’ knowledge/products that address problems in practice in Africa’s education in the context of agrarian livelihoods. This involves understanding knowledge that may be universal but that is relevant and usefully applicable in local contexts as well as the tensions between the pedagogies of the school and the participative pedagogies of education in African family traditions. The six components of this initiative include: (i) upgrading the capacity and relevance of educational institutions, (ii) time management and cost-effective learning strategies, (iii) educational advisement and guidance for effective academic performance and suitable career maturity and vocational entry, (iv) individual / group counselling, (v) development and publication of Africa-Sensitive textbooks and tools, based on African Book Orientation Statement, and (vi) educational counselling and travel guidance and advisement.

Major Project Profiles

Since 2009: Teacher Education Textbooks and Tools Development Initiative for Africa. The first volume has been sponsored by a Jacobs Foundation grant to produce an edited volume entitled: African Educational Theories and Practices: A Generative Teacher Education Textbook. The project year is July 2009-June 2010.


Textbook orientation statement

Minutes of authors’ meeting, Aug. 7-8, 2009


1998-2008: Longitudinal Study of Infant Development and Nso Mother-Infant Interaction: Physical interactions are important to the development, health, and well-being of children, but levels and types of these interactions differ cross-culturally. This project was a collaborative cross-cultural study of mother-infant interaction with the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Bethesda, Maryland, U.S. and involved videotaping first-born babies at home in interaction with their Nso mothers at age 5 months and 20 months. The findings of this study have been presented at conferences.


2003-2006: Adolescent Development and Participation Program: The HDRC was the focal point for this UNICEF Cameroon program for the North West Region. It was a youth program designed to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS through peer education and life skills. An example of a training workshop follows.


1993-Date: Lay Counsellor Training Program (LCTP). The LCTP developed in response to specific needs of a faith-based organization (FBO), the Catholic Diocese of Kumbo, whose Family Life Office (FLO) recorded an alarming number of HIV/AIDS cases in the Christian community (Lukong, 1994) and began to develop an outreach program in 1993 with a clear mission to educate the community and empower it to support and care for victims of the lethal disease. Early attempts met with difficulty because church personnel lacked the knowledge to develop an AIDS care curriculum so they consulted and sought partnership with a psychologist, the director of the HDRC. Together, the FLO and the HDRC initiated the faith-based LCTP. The HDRC assisted with the elaboration of the program curriculum and participated in the Kumbo Diocesan program from 1993-2006 and the Bamenda Arch-Diocesan program from 1997 until date. It began as an education and counsellor training program for the Catholic community, particularly those individuals living with HIV/AIDS and their families.

The initial target population was the Catholic HIV/AIDS community but we learned two important lessons from the outset. First, focusing on Catholics only was not only seen as restrictive because Catholic Christians had non-Catholics are family members and friends. Second, naming the program HIV/AIDS counsellor training would have hyped the HIV/AIDS stigma and would have discouraged many people identifying with it. In consideration thereof, we designated it LCTP for terminal disease counselling. There are no religious barriers to trainee selection into the program.

The LCTP is an ongoing partnership program run by the Catholic Diocese of Kumbo and the Arch-Diocese of Bamenda for all interested youth and adults of any religion wherein staff of the HDRC are resource partners. It trains civil society members from all walks of life selected from religious congregations, villages, and health institutions as lay counsellors for terminally ill persons, with special focus on psychosocial support to and home care of persons affected by HVI/AIDS.

1994-1996: Risk perception of AIDS/STD's, unintended pregnancy, and prevention behaviors among adolescent students in northwest Cameroon. This was an inaugural project for the HDRC. It was Young Investigator Grant by the Johann Jacobs Foundation, Zurich, Switzerland to the Founder/Director. The obtained a huge dataset on Cameroonian youth attitudes to HIV/AIDS and perceived risks to unintended pregnancy and STDs. The most surprising finding was that youth were ignorant about several aspects of their reproductive health and their parents did not perceive their parents as helpful. This dataset has served as baseline knowledge for many of the Centre’s program and services, particularly the Lay Counsellor Training Program in which it partners with the Catholic Dioceses of Kumbo (1993-2006) and Bamenda (1997 and ongoing).

HDRC Experts

Prof. A. Bame Nsamenang, Prof. Therese M. Tchombe, Dr. Martyn Sama, Mr. Emmanuel Fomba, Mrs. Gladys Ngoran, Mrs. Pascaline J. Fai, Mrs. Mairama Ngeh, Mrs. Florence Yuyen, Ms. Eunice Adzemye, Ms. Rose Ndonka, Ms. Sheri Nsamenang, Messieurs Kevin Njodzeka, Cornelius Wirsungnin, Prof. George Brannen, Wiiba Carolyn Brannen, and Mr. Jeanmarie Suuynyuy.

HDRC International Advisory Board

Profs.: Thérèse Tchombe (Cameroon), Pierre R. Dasen (Switzerland), George Brannen (U.S.), Alan Pence (Canada), Kofi Marfo (Ghana/U.S.), Anne Petersen (U.S.), Charles Super (U.S.), Sara Harkness (U.S.), Michael Lamb (U.K.), Rainer Silbereisen (Germany), Marc Bornstein (U.S.), Patrice Engle (U.S.), and Gustav Jahoda (Scotland).