Republic of Cameroon, southern region, department of Mvila, about thirty kilometers from the city of Ebolowa and 125 kilometers from Yaoundé. Welcome to Mengong, a district that includes 49 villages with a total of 20,000 souls living mainly from agriculture and trade. Mengong has four health centers and about forty-eight schools for a total of nearly 10,000 learners. But above all, Mengong is the cradle and the laboratory of The Belinga Foundation which has been operating there for nearly five years. It is within the framework of this activity aimed at catalyzing development and built around five main axes, namely, arts, culture, health, education and sustainable development that the first edition of the 2022 Bia so Mengong Festival” is held
From the 16th to the 30th, on the occasion of the Bia So Mengong festival conceived and realized by The Belinga Foundation, were gathered in the urban center of Mengong, craftsmen, artists, athletes, entrepreneurs and media men coming from the four corners of the district and even from the republic. 15 days to showcase and promote the talents and local know-how. With the program of exhibitions, openings and concerts, sports activities, a total cumulative attendance estimated at 45,000 festival-goers for a total budget of about 30,000,000 CFA francs.
For the field of arts it is not less than 30 artists who have exposed works ranging from basketry, to sculpture, painting. A total of ten works will have been retained for the private collection of the foundation
Nearly fifty artist-musicians for a set of 15 concerts with in clotûre evening two big name of the local show, John DUCHANT and Richard AMOUGOU and as always the beautiful part made to the local musicians who did not fail to take advantage of this occasion to sell themselves to the world. On the other hand it is to note the special invitation addressed to the pygmies, indigenous people of the forest to whom it was allowed to expose its art and its way of life in the optics to support a healthy chohabitation between the first inhabitants of the forest and their neighbors arrived later. The beautiful part will also have been made with the reconnection with our habits and customs which tend to disappear aggressed that they are by the globalization. It is with great pleasure that we saw the craze around the contest of food and heritage dances, proof that most of us just want to rediscover our culture.
And health in all this? Forgotten? Not at all! Among the exhibitors, a place of choice was reserved for the Bantu pharmacopoeia. One could rediscover the virtues of the medicinal plants of the region through the important panel of healers and naturopaths present.
Two soccer tournaments (male and female) and a mini marathon, for a total of nearly 500 athletes, for total premiums amounting to more than 10 000 000 CFA francs, a little like culture and arts we can say that sport, factor par excellence of integration and catalyst of the idea of healthy competition, was the king of this first edition of the Festival Bia so Mengong.
It was with great pleasure that the whole valiant team of The Belinga Foundation watched several farmers and breeders engaged by the Foundation at the beginning of the year, chickens from Mekamevom, fish products from mekamemvom, but also self-financed projects such as rice from Melane or bags made of recycled products from Mengong. A palpable proof that there is material and that it is enough to give a push to make take off a true circular economy.
If a festival is first of all a cultural and artistic event, it is also and especially an economic moment. The Bia So Mengong festival, in line with the vision of multiplier effect, will have succeeded in giving a boost to the small economy of Mengong during a period usually qualified as “dead season” in this locality where the economic activity is driven by cocoa. Apart from direct investments in local service providers (logistics, construction of hanagars and the podium) or the per diems granted to all exhibitors for their nutrition, the accentuation of economic flows due to the gathering of a large population. Let’s remember that the Festival will have been a total attendance of more than 45 000 people (3000 people/day on average) that had to be fed and transported. And most of the merchants of Mengong will have recognized it the festival will have given a big boost to their activity.
For the second edition scheduled for July 2023, The Belinga Foundation intends to do better with new attractions but also an improvement of existing ones.