Sustainable Student Projects in Cameroon Ecovillage

Help McGill SymBioSyn students apply their sustainability projects and research in Bafut, Cameroon, with the partnership of the Global Ecovillage Network.

1. Provide field study and internship opportunities for McGill students to apply their research and projects in a real-world, sustainable, and international context.
2. Foster a mentality of experiential learning, sustainability and innovative collaboration among McGill students through life-changing, professional field experience.
3. Offer students the opportunity to work hand in hand with indigenous communities, uniting to fight climate change using Ecovillage community methods.

McGill SymBioSyn is a coalition of McGill students collaborating with indigenous communities to create student research projects in Ecovillages, the world’s pioneering hubs of sustainability. Ecovillages are socially, culturally, economically and ecologically sustainable communities that are consciously designed through local participatory processes and ecological practices.

SymBioSyn provides students the opportunity to foster a mentality of deep community sustainability, coupled with practical problem-solving outcomes. The students initiate innovative projects meant to contribute to the design and development of the Ecovillage, as well as attract international visibility.

This year’s program plans to oversee 8 multidisciplinary projects in the Bafut Ecovillage in Cameroon. Among them, we will:

  • enable our civil engineer to design a water tank to store potable water for the Ecovillage, and realize this design with the rest of the McGill SymBioSyn team;
  • enable our bio-resource engineer to build a Biogas Anaerobic Digestion system to produce green energy while recycling organic waste;
  • pilot a social entrepreneurship initiative from the Desautels Faculty of Management to create and distribute maize waste briquettes as sustainable cooking fuel; and
  • allow McGill students to tackle the political governance aspect of Ecovillages and how it may benefit or hinder indigenous communities in Canada.

Contributions will go towards subsidizing accommodations for participating students and will allow them to purchase the necessary materials for these projects. Additionally, some funds will go towards workshops on leadership, systems-thinking and sustainability living. Detailed below is a division of funds amongst the major projects:

Project                                          Cost ($)                          Description

Concrete Water Tank                    3 500                             Building concrete water tank for local Bafut residents
Biogas Research                           1 000                             Creating electricity from methane gas in waste
Leadership Workshops                    500                             Conducting workshops on leadership and sustainability
Sustainable Briquette Business    1 000                             Building prototype that creates charcoal made of maize waste using solar power

Living expenses                              700                              Partial funding of living expenses in Cameroon
Trial briquettes                                200                             Creating 100 trial briquettes for different stove shapes
Administrative fees                         100                             Administrative fees for visas and other paperwork

Help us make McGill the pioneer university to champion partnerships with Ecovillages, as we address climate change through real-world problem solving and collaborative action!


Meet the Project Team: 
Connor Spencer
  • German Studies major, Islamic Studies minor, Arts History minor - SSMU VP External
  • In charge of Sponsorship in SymBioSyn
  • She grew up in farms with cows - her favourite animals!
Sonia Buma
  • International Development Studies major, Management minor
  • SymBioSyn’s Cameroon liaison and marketing head
  • She was born very close to the Bafut Ecovillage!
Yves Abanda
  • Physics major, Math and Earth System Science minor
  • SymBioSyn’s Project Coordinator
  • He jumped from cosmology to ecovillages
Sarah Pellerin
  • Political Science major, International Development, German, and Arts History minor
  • Ambassador for SymBioSyn’s participant, Lumbrick
Judith Li
  • International Management major, Political Science minor
  • Ambassador for SymBioSyn’s participant, Lumbrick (contact for Seeds of Change)
  • She loves airports and riding on planes
Candice Laurière
  • Bachelor of Arts, Anthropology major
  • SymBioSyn’s logistic coordinator  
  • She has been taking African dance lessons for more than 10 years - and her teacher is Cameroonian!