Cameroonian founds Africa's first 'development university'

Andre Talla is a formidable man. He gets things done.

Seven years ago, he left Cameroon for the US Center for World Mission in Pasadena, California. He was determined to learn all he could about International Development.

Back in Cameroon, Talla had been a church planter. There are 85 active congregations that are product of his passion and skills.

But he was running into places where seemingly it was impossible for a church to develop naturally. This was in rural villages where people lived in extreme poverty. They had no money. They would never be able to support a pastor-or even keep church doors open.

The answer, Talla felt, was in development. He was particularly hearing about the successes of microfinance programmes, but he needed to learn more, so he could teach the church planters.

Working with his mentor at William Carey University, Dr. Dale Kietzman, an elder statesman of world missions, who has been the US Director of Wycliffe Bible Translators, founder of Latin American Indian Ministries, and a founding board member of ASSIST, Talla developed a set of courses that seemed right for use in Cameroon. But now the Bible Institute he held annually in his church would have to be registered with the government, because he would be teaching secular subjects.

The government was happy to give permission. But they thought he should go even bigger, maybe a university specialising in International Development.

Talla took on the challenge. He named the school Dale Kietzman University, or DKU, located in Douala, Cameroon. It has grown rapidly, taking in a new class of 100 or more each year, students who have access to a full complement of undergraduate and graduate courses in community development, business administration, and theology.

But there is a problem: DKU's President, Andre Talla, is still in Pasadena finishing up his dissertation for a PhD. He has developed the university office there, spending a lot of his time on the phone back to Douala.

The folk in Cameroon want him to appear regularly on television and radio back home. He is known country-wide for his preaching. But to do that, he needs access to a video recording studio. He is searching for a church that has the equipment that would allow him to do the recordings.

Talla also asks for volunteers. He has several already, and all work in the office in Pasadena is done by volunteers. If you know of someone, please call 1-626-486-9188, or send a message to info@dkuniversity.org. The university website can be found at www.dkuniversity.org.

This invitation also applies to university-level teachers and administrators who would volunteer to spend from two weeks to two years, giving to Africa the gift of their skills and knowledge to speed the work of God on that continent.

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