Press Release: Sama Randy Youth Write Contest 2017

Our Year in Review- 2016

As we come to the close of 2016, Better Breed Cameroon’s team takes stock of the past year. 2016 was a ground breaking year in many ways. Our association finally received its legal registration number in the early months of this year. We experienced a growth in members, successfully met our target of holding a youth development project for every quarter of the year including our inaugural Campus Career Day and kept you al updated and informed via monthly blogposts!

This month’s post will share highlights of the year’s activities as well as tidbits of what you have to look forward to from BBCam team.

Sama Randy Youth Write Essay Contest- 2016

This was the first project of the year launched with in December 2015 with the deadline for submission of essays set for 31st January 2016. The 2016 edition challenged respondents to answer the topic question: Can we entrepreneur our way out to a better Cameroon? Why and Why not?  We received a record high with thirty-six (36) entries which the three member jury whittled down to the best three (3) candidates. The winners were awarded prizes as follows:

With winners awarded in Buea and Bamenda. Read more here

1st prize (100,000FCFA) – Thursie Abanjoh

2nd prize (75,000FCFA) – Awanto Margaret

3rd prize (50,000FCFA) – Mbah Angwah Furt

Read more about the Youth Essay competition HERE. Also note that we are currently receiving submissions for the 2017 edition of this contessama-randy-youth-writebetter-breed-cameroon-1

 

 

Campus Career Day

In partnership with the University of Buea, and with the partial sponsorship of MTN Cameroon, Better Breed Cameroon realized its 2nd project of the year on 1st April 2016. As per the press release was communicated on 23rd February, the event was held to provide university students with an opportunity to receive pragmatic guidance on career prospects from young professional, potential employers and institution of further learning. Despite being an inaugural edition, the Campus Career Day had great organizational and participant turnout. Over 500 students were directly impacted by the event. The following opportunities arose in relation to this event:

 ACCA announced a reduction of course fees for University of Buea students.

 Bonie Fon of Bonaventures & Co pledged a million francs CFA to set up an investment club for the students of the University of Buea.

 Belle & Glam offered two gift vouchers to the top two student entrepreneurs.

 The United Bank for Africa, British High Commission and other panelist announced internship opportunities and shared contacts of professionals which students could use to find out more on questions they asked.

 Dr. Joyce Ashuntantang pledged to mentor three female students randomly selected from the registry as of June 2016 which she did.  See a report on her mentoring experience HERE: empower-me-program-with-dr-joyce-ashuntantang.

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Web Empowerment Workshop

The first Web Empowerment Workshop ever held by Better Breed Cameroon was organized in Buea targeting students of institutions of higher learning in December 2015.  The 2016 edition took place in Bamenda on 23rd July 2016. The project was launched on June 23rd and the deadline for show of interest was 20th July. 16 applications were received and 10 persons attended the event. It was an interactive workshop with participants receiving help creating LinkedIn Profiles, being introduced to blogging as a means of self- expression and marketing etc.

Better Breed Cameroon teamed up with young entrepreneurs like Cedric of Blogvisa.com, Etienne Ndagah of AfroTechnology and as always Churchill Mambe Nanje of Njorku.com

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Better Hope Bursaries

As is tradition the last project of the year is the Better Hope Bursary launched towards the beginning of a new academic year. The bursary this year targeted schools that cater to students with disabilities. The following schools were suggested:

  1. Buea School for the Deaf- Buea
  2. Treasure Centre (school for children with Mental disabilities) Mendankwe- Bamenda
  3. Morning Star School ( Students with hearing and speech impairments) – Bamenda
  4. Ephata ( School for Children with hearing disabilities) – Kumba

Unfortunately due to the inability of our members to raise sufficient funds the association could visit only one school- Buea School for the Deaf. It was agreed that we will provide food/provisions to the schools we choose in order that it benefits the whole school and not just a single individual, particular considering that awarding bursaries based on academic excellence would be difficult given students’ disabilities.

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What to look forward to in 2015?

Aside from our four main projects here is what you can expect from us in 2017

  • We’re buying our own WordPress site new website! We plan to provide our readers and aspiring Better Breeders with more content, regularly updated opportunities for Cameroonians (scholarships, conferences, trainings, calls for submissions etc. which Cameroonians are eligible for), resources for being more informed/conscious citizens and spotlighting ordinary young heroes and heroines who exemplify the Better Breed creed to ‘Be the change you want to see’.
  • We’re launching operation 1000 members! Better Breed Cameroon aspires to remain self-funded by its members, keeping to its vision of Cameroonians saving themselves and illustrating the power of African youth philanthropy. By making a call for more members we hope build a large enough network to sustain our activities without any foreign support. Email us for more information at betterbreed@gmail.com
  • More teaming up with other social development ventures
  • More content on our Youtube Channel! In the meantime, checkout what’s there already and subscribe!

 

Thanks for believing in our vision of a Better Breed and a Better Cameroon!

Press Release: Sama Randy Youth Write Contest 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                     16-11-16

2017 SAMA RANDY YOUTH WRITE CONTEST

 

Better Breed Cameroon a youth-led, youth-focused philanthropic initiative is relaunching its annual youth essay competition against 2017. Taking previous feedback into consideration, the association has decided to launch the contest earlier to give contestants two months to work on a prize winning essay.

This annual essay competition named in memory of pioneer Better Breed member Sama Randy challenges undergraduate students of all higher institutions in Cameroon to ponder and write on socio-economic and political issues trending in the country in a bid to encourage critical consciousness in young people. This edition’s question reads:

‘In Your Opinion, What Is The Greatest Threat To Peace And Security In Cameroon? How Can It Be Averted?’

Thus inviting respondents to forward original ideas and solutions to addressing what is now a pressing issue faced by our nation.

As always, the competition requires essay responses to be a minimum of 1000 words (roughly two pages) and a maximum of 1500 words in English. All submissions should be made by emailed attachments to the association’s email address: betterbreed@gmail.com. The subject of the email should read: ‘Sama Randy Youth Write Contest Submission 2017’ and the email body needs to outline the name, contact number, age, degree program and higher institution to which the respondent belongs.

This year’s competitors stand to win one of three prizes; 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prize of 100.000, 75.000 and 50.000 francs respectively.  The submissions will be graded based on content and presentation of arguments, spelling, grammar and compliance with rules of submission.

The deadline for submission has been set for the 11th of January 2017. Winners will be contacted in the first week of February 2017 and awarded on 11th February 2017- the National Youth Day.For more information on the essay contest, please contact Better Breed Cameroon using their email address: betterbreed@gmail.com or send them a message on their Facebook page Better Breed Cameroon.

To the University Student, as You Begin another Academic Year

October is back to school month for university students in Cameroon. Better Breed Cameroon, though a youth development association targeting young people in all institutions has university students as primary target for most of its projects. So we thought why not give our regular target population a message to start the year off right?
One of the sub-themes of this year’s Forum of Students in Cameroonian Universities (FETUC) held at the University of Dschang was, ‘Student Contribution in the Emergence of Cameroon’. Now if you’ve been listening to teachers, the media, and your parents etc. you would know by now that our nation has a ‘vision’ and supposedly a plan to emerge by the year 2035. This means in less than two decades, we’re supposed to be a budding developed country and of course you as young people, as products of higher education are to assist in the achievement of this.How though?
Let’s be honest, no young person was on board when the year 2035 was selected and none of those who sat at the table to choose that year will be alive/active at that time. So how did they decide on that year? What will determine that we are emerging, what indicators are we to look for come 2035 to decide we’ve achieved our ‘emergence’. What’s the plan/road-map to this emergence? Do the young people who will be leaders at that time know the original plan? Should the people who began this pass away or become inactive, does the plan and any progress made freeze? And if young people are not engaged in planning for a year when they would be the ones in charge, how can they positively contribute to this development? Well one way is by developing themselves and their locales.

While we find ourselves in the context where young people are limited in avenues of national leadership and legal mediums through which they may make their voices heard, these limits and barriers are broken down if and when they equip themselves and cameroonact with what is available to them. As you being yet another academic year we hope you keep in mind that YOU are the change and this development we all speak of is not some abstract end point of the whole country, but rather development is each of us reaching some level of fulfillment of personal purpose and civic duty. Thus consider developing yourself and acting with what you have available to make a difference towards the whole. How can you do this as a university student?

1- Raise your level of consciousness. It is your civic duty to know -irrespective of what you’re studying- the structure of your government, our policies, our laws, our leaders. Do not rely on heresy, watch the news, read and think critically about what is presented to you. Raising your level of consciousness will ensure you act more upright, become more able to recognize abuse of rights and take legal action. You need to know what is wrong to be able to fix it and you need to be conscious to be able to use what little opportunity you may be offered to voice your thoughts effectively. We’ll surely emerge quicker if the majority o the population loses its ignorance and bias. We encourage you to read Bernard Fonlon’s The Genuine Intellectual a timeless work decrying the need for universities to produce.
2- As a student you can equally develop yourself and your community by volunteering. If you haven’t noticed by now, Better Breed Cameroon is a big advocate for volunteering. By volunteering you will be garnering pragmatic skills to enable you back up your academic journey in the university. Your volunteer experience need not be in some office of prestige, you can volunteer on the ground in numerous ways helping to develop your local community in the process. Same volunteering experience would undoubtedly equip you towards increased employability upon graduation. By developing yourself in this way therefore you have helped not only the area where/people to whom you have offered free services to, but you would have equally addressed on of the countries pertinent problems- unemployment- ensuring you are more ready for the job market.
3- Yet another way students can develop themselves and contribute towards vision 2035 is by using alternative mediums now available with information technology. While students may face restrictions in terms of opportunities to develop themselves in a field of choice, voice their opinion on government policies, and having their views considered and needs met, the internet and modern tech apps provide a wide array of resources for self-development, a catalog of opportunities available to young people internationally and an endless source of information ready to be tapped. Students of this generation are more fortunate than any other for their access to the internet and applications ready to be used for self-development and a medium for them to develop their own. For instance, sex education being inadequate and lacking comprehensiveness in Cameroon, a young sexual health advocate Mallah Tabot designed an app called Ndolo 360 which young people can use to have straight-forward, necessary information about all things sex related. Innovative creations made accessible with use of the information technology such as this app offer young Cameroonians what the nation at the moment does not. This app offers young people much need knowledge enabling them make informed sexual choices and there are a bevy of other such resources existing online and as cell applications. How are you using what available to you today to grow and contribute to your country’s growth?

We shall end here for now, suffice it to say your time as a student should be used with purpose. The theme of FETUC 2016 outlined above got it right when they highlighted the role of students in achieving the countries current vision. Though our young people were not involved in the conception of this vision initially and have yet to be truly involved in the planning, you all have it in you (and have the duty) to ready yourselves to act for national development and a Better Cameroon tomorrow.
This academic year, we challenge you to be the #BetterBreed

5 Mistakes You’re Making this Scholarship Season

Once again it is scholarship season and opportunities to further your studies are being advertised (if you’re paying attention) on all mediums. Between now and February (2017) annual state and corporate scholarships such as the Chevening Scholarship, Mastercard Foundation scholarships, Fulbright, various Commonwealth Scholarships, Gates-Cambridge Scholarship, Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships, DAAD scholarships and more will be launched for those eager to attain degrees from some of the first world’s leading institutions. Or perhaps you are interested in studying in your own country? Look up the Cameroon Women’s Scholarship .

Either way, if you are one of those considering applying for a scholarship this season, consider this a message of encouragement informing you that there are no magic tricks to winning that scholarship. In fact any magic you may need has been highlighted HERE.

However while there are no tricks to the goal, there are some mistakes to avoid. This post outlines five (5) common mistakes which Cameroonian applicants often make. We hope you avoid them!

5- Not Planning

So your friend shared a link advertising a scholarship and you heard one of your other friends had won that same scholarship a few years back. Must be easy right? So you just apply? Wrong. One of the biggest mistakes you may make during scholarship season is not planning. Most people who win scholarships do so after preparation. They have studied the scholarship, read all the terms and conditions, looked up past winners, researched the degree programs and schools, what is required, what characteristics past scholars shared etc. You rarely get a scholarship by chance; given the long procedure and the in-depth application process, it requires purpose.scholarships

 

 

 

4- Looking for the Easy Way Out

Yet another mistake you may be making is cutting corners. Some applicants complain about having to write one thousand (1000) word motivational statements or fill out eleven (11) page application forms. Quite frankly, if a thousand words and eleven pages are too much for you, you shouldn’t be applying for a scholarship in the first place. Any university degree program that scholarship would cover shall entail coursewor
k of at least 2,500 words regularly. Other applicants attempt to copy/plagiarize the personal statements of past winners or have others fill out the bulk of their applications. By cutting corners in filling out your application form you set yourself up for failure at the interview level. Passion cannot be faked, and your personal statement (which essentially presents your passion for furthering your studies and need for a scholarship to achieve this) is defended at your interview. Eventually it will be known if the words written were yours or not. There is no easy way, you either want this or not.

3- Falling for a scheme

You may have seen adverts by agencies offering to get admission and scholarships for you in universities abroad, even assuring you of assistance in getting a visa? A lot of such offers are schemes. Any agency requiring that you PAY to get a Scholarship is suspect. You shouldn’t have to pay an agent to gain admission into a school. The institution or scholarship body will most likely have a direct admission process which you can handle yourself, just go to the school’s website. It’s been proven time and time again that middle men are often schemers.

2- Putting the Cart before the Horse

One of the most common errors witnessed during scholarship season is the error of applying for a scholarship before applying for admission into the desired degree program. This can be considered putting the cart before the horse. Scholarships exist to provide financial assistance to students or potential students. Hence you must establish yourself as a student or a potential student first. Admission into an eligible school is principal to getting a scholarship, it should be put first. With an admission, you can prove you need financial assistance to cover costs associated with the program, without admission what do you deserve financial assistance for?

1- Not Applying

The ultimate mistake you may be making this scholarship season however is not applying. You may be missing out on the chance of a lifetime by procrastinating till last minute, or thinking you need to ‘know someone’ and making a thousand and one excuses for why you won’t get it if you apply.

If you are still on the fence about applying, in the memorable words of Franklin D. Roosevelt: You have nothing to fear but fear itself.

Go for it, and perhaps next year this could be you 🙂

All 18 Cameroonian Chevening scholarship awardees of 2016 ready to take off!

CHOMECAM: Steadily Climbing The Ranks Of CEO With No Job In Sight*

It was a bright sunny morning in Buea. In fact the sun was so bright that it melted away the clouds and Mount Fako was clearly visible in all its majestic splendor. This day was special. Excitement filled the air as we all stood clad in our solemn academic robes, ready to mount the podium and collect that piece of paper which would pave the way for us into an anticipated bright future like the weather that day.

And so we stood, excited to be leaving the campus after four years of a rigors double majors program. It was time for us to go out there and scout around, ready and ever so eager to put all the knowledge acquired those four years to push ourselves, families and country forward. Dreams of jobs practically materializing on platters of gold passed through our minds. After all, we are graduates and the corporate world had better get ready to hire and assimilate us.

Dreams!! Everyone has them I think so we all freshly graduated novices into the job market just had to dream big. And so, we excitedly looked forward to the award ceremony so we could be able to launch our ship and set sail into the waters of the job market.
Reality check! At least in my case! With all those dreams and passion to work, the years steadily began to add. At first I was not very worried. I still had youth to my advantage. One year, two years, three years despite writing applications to every possible place I could think of, the doors were permanently closed. It was as if someone locked all the doors to the job market where I was concerned and threw away the keys.

Four years and no jobs forthcoming. The tensions began. What would I do? There was no pressure from my family thankfully, but how long was I supposed to stay with family? What was the need of going to school all these years to come back to the family? I dropped applications and thought of what I could do to keep myself busy. I searched for schools abroad but everywhere was a dead end. I decided to try ENAM and my hands at apprenticing… tailoring, hair dressing but had to abandon half way. I now decided to put my culinary skills to work and started baking cakes to sell. That too was abandoned after some months. I just felt it wasn’t worth it having just at most two regular customers despite doing all I could to notify people.

Five years and I have made it to assistant CEO of Chomecam. There was just no way I could continue like this. With schools abroad refusing my applications and applying for a Masters Program in UB which list never materialized, I went back to school after five years of rigorous job hunting this time to PAID-WA Buea where I read Development Studies and Human Resources Management.
After one year of rigorous studies, I again entered the job market. I was hopeful that I would pick one easy this time after all; I just finished a top professional program. Well, my health had other plans so for one and the half years; I had to suspend any attempts at job hunting as I had a hospital marathon to run.

At this stage, I have steadily climbed the rank of sub inspector of Chomecam. I mean what else could I say? The years were piling up and I was still moving ‘up and down’ with files looking for work both offline and online. Maybe my approach was wrong but one thing remained for sure, the jobs were not coming.

Ten years and I am still in Chomecam. I am finally the CEO of Chomecam! That is how I spent ten years of my life job hunting. During these years, I felt frustrated especially with all the road blocks I encountered. And the fact that I was now getting older was not helping matters. I could have folded my hands and blamed the powers that be for my plight. I could have equally blamed my family for not using whatever positions they have to get me a job all these years after all; it is the policy of man know man which holds sway in the job market in Cameroon. I could have also blamed that uncle or aunt in the village who had decided to tie my progress with witchcraft. I could have even blamed God for refusing to answer my prayers.

In all these years, even with the frustrations I felt, I didn’t grow bitter. Despite the many road blocks, I didn’t give up fighting. And after every good cry, I picked myself up and tried to figure out what to do. What talents and skills do I have? This is where my writing came in handy. I have always loved writing so just to while away the time while hoping for some doors in the job market to open, I got an exercise book and pen and just started scribbling away and before I realized it, I had a first person narrative of my life as best as I could remember during those turbulent years before me. A good friend helped me edit and found a publisher and that is how I got my first book published and unbeknownst to my friend, it was the perfect boost I needed that trying moment to keep facing life.

BBCam Chomecam

Youth unemployment is a nightmare that has plagued many ambitious and brilliant youths into the pits of depression and frustration. The ten years I spent looking for a job didn’t by any chance enrich me financially. Yet, it taught me patience, perseverance and empathy. It helped me discover a unique talent that is proving very helpful today and opening doors for me. It also taught me that in the battle for survival, we should get out there and get our hands dirty and stop blaming the people around us. Reach inside and discover strengths we couldn’t know we possess if we had everything delivered to us in a gold platter. Unemployment is not going away anytime soon but we can do better than wallow if we are ready to rediscover ourselves and take bold calculated risks.

 

*This testimony is brought to you by Ms. Arrey Echi a passionate Better Breed Cameroon member

Career options, heartbreaks and hopes for youth

I once read a book that said there was a time in England when young people could count all their career options on the fingers of one hand. Clergy. Soldier. Marine. Lawyer. Doctor. Five. That was it. I don’t remember the title of that book. Blame it on me trying to forget the travails of being a youth at the time. But the writer had spotted the five. The only other option was the dole.

I can’t help but wonder what anyone would write for Cameroonian youth today. Not some patriarchal lecture on what the youth should put their time to. Just the plain truth. The truth as it is, no salt, no sugar, no fancy colours. What options are there for the Cameroonian youth?  Let me take a dry try.

Concours. Bush. Triple masters. Army. Use-your-head.  There are other contenders, especially ‘church entrepreneurship’. But let’s hold our peace on these five.

A lot of Cameroonian jargon in there. Let us decode.THE SQUARE.png

Concours: French word for competitive entrance exam into the civil service. The majority of English speaking Cameroonians know civil service recruitment by no name other than ‘concours’. Cameroon’s government is by far the biggest employer in the country. Recruitment into the civil service gives you a ‘matricule’, a sort of insurance that you have a job and a regular salary for the foreseeable future. Youths naturally seek this safety net. It doesn’t matter to young people if they have dreams that should be fed elsewhere. The trophy of a matricule is a gold standard.

Bush: Bush is short for bushfaller. In Cameroonian lingo, a bushfaller is someone who travels abroad, usually to Europe, America or some other foreign land to work. The word arose from the trend of young people flocking out of the country in the nineties as the country’s economy reached for the abyss and its politics bordered on chaos with riots and ghost towns as building blocks for democracy. Bush is where people go and labour on their farms. So the word quickly took a new meaning. Economic migrant was too cliché and didn’t capture the full meaning. The English language actually has no better word for it. You go to your bush to labour hard. And so Cameroonian youth hijack their parents’ laborious savings, plunging many into debt, to travel abroad or more succinctly fall bush. To hustle in a McDonald’s, to hide from wolf-ish immigration officials or to be abused by hedonist lords in Qatar’s home jails. But many do manage to wiggle their way into a life of opportunity, constant water supply and electricity that doesn’t blink.

Triple masters: I don’t know how this one made its way in my head as a career option. Blame it on experience, intuition and/or intellect. Don’t know which one of them won. But there’s a growing class of young Cameroonians rich with academic epaulets. Many are on their third master degree in a university in the country. There are few jobs. They don’t want to be idle. So they don’t mind the circular loop of handling less than bothered lecturers, taking exams they’re not sure where it leads to but taking the trouble all the same. At least it keeps them out of trouble, while waiting for their future to finally come even if that might mean at forty or worse.

Army: The country is at war. Waging a war against a new type of enemy called ‘terrorist’ for which no conflict strategist has the complete answer demands human resources. Those whose hearts still pump hard for the fatherland, whose knees won’t surrender at the sight of the first body parts butchered by an extremist’s assault can march on. The nation’s soul beckons for its freedom fighters. But there’s little time. Army recruitments have to happen in your very first few years of adulthood.

Use-your-head: Economic crisis. Youth hopelessness. Youth disenfranchisement. A gerontocracy which pats its back after appointing a 48-year-old director as a sign it is involving the youth. An increase in life expectancy leading to old leaders clinging on to power and money, not forgetting the pecks of an extra teenage girlfriend here and there. Elderly people using fraud to trim their ages and stay in jobs. A fearful social security system failing to look after those who retire. Broken morals. Mix all these in a broth. Add the advent of the internet and smart communications meaning the youth hold a technical advantage over the others. What do you get? Use-your-head. This sad career option produces the country’s scammers, fraudsters, who have managed to put the country on the world map of internet crime alongside Nigeria, Ghana, Britain and the USA among others.

England had a sixth option: the dole a.k.a job-seekers’ allowance. Cameroon cannot afford such heaven. But all hope is not lost. A sixth finger is sprouting up, a salvific growth. The young men and women rising up in social enterprise, in tech innovation, in civil society, in activism, in crying out for a new dawn, in plugging the country’s nerve endings into a world Cameroon can tap from and show its sparkling star. They win global prizes despite being ignored at home. The Nazarene predicted that in one of his sermons.

Their hearts beat for Cameroon and theirs is a holy cause for the protection of innocence, a cry for the youth to be allowed to breath and a rallying call for all the country’s souls, green and brown, to stand up and be counted.

 

Arrey Elvis Ntui is author of ‘Murdering Poverty – How to fix aidhttps://www.amazon.com/Murdering-Poverty-How-fix-aid-ebook/dp/B019NJAIZA  (2016, Sanaga Press)

 

5 Things to Know about June 16th – International Day of the African Child

Did you know today was the international Day of the African Child? If so, great! A lot of Cameroonians however are unaware, given the plethora of International Days, some undoubtedly get more recognition than others. Moreover given the popular media image of the African Child as a skeletal beggar with outstretched hands, people don’t like to hear of ‘yet another day’ to bring to media attention all our problems.

But that’s not what this day is about. With this post Better Breed Cameroon hopes to set the record straight. Here are 5 facts worth knowing when it comes to celebrating June 16th.

  1. The date- June 16 was chosen as the International Day of the African Child to commemorate the young heroes and heroines, students who were massacred in Soweto, South Africa, in 1976 for protesting against education injustice and inequality in the apartheid regime.
  2. This International Day is one of the few which have been designated by the African Union. While most International Days are designated by the UN or one of it’s bodies, June 16th, which is celebrated as South Africa’s Youth Day was made an International Day by the African Union as of 1991 by the African Union and every year events are organised to promote children’s rights.
  3. This year’s theme is Conflict and Crisis in Africa: Protecting all Children’s Rights”.
  4. We might call her ‘Mother Africa’ but with over 200 million youth aged between 15 and 24, Africa is the continent of the child and has the youngest population in the world.
  5. The day of the African Child is not meant to entice international pity at the woes of African’s children. Yes we do have problems that need to be faced, needs that need satisfying, policies that need modifying. But today, when you think of the African child, celebrate our strength, perseverance and success against the odds.

Today is the day to let the world know that while we have a long way to go, we are not to be pitied. Africa’s youth is revolutionary (just ask Burkina Faso’s Compaore). Today is the day to celebrate those impassioned youth who took to the streets in 1976 for what was right  with nothing but their courage. And then you ought to celebrate the young people today who are making a difference in their communities, making a name for themselves at home and abroad, who are re-writing the media’s script to say “I am the African Child, and I am simply amazing”.

DAC16

Better Breed Spotlight: Project Ignition

Hello folks!

We’re ending the month of May by beginning a lovely series which will be a regular on the blog. While this site generally accounts for the activities Better Breed Cameroon, we also have the objective of promoting people or initiatives which exemplify our hope for more and better youth development. So every once in a while we’ll take our own works off the stage to shine the spotlight on other associations, other efforts and particularly other young people admirably contributing towards a vision in line with ours: creating a Better Breed of Cameroonian citizens and leaders. The first recipient of our humble spotlight is the amazing Project Ignition.

 

What you need to know about Project Ignition

By Carlson Nkwain

Project Ignition is a movement aimed at promoting academic excellence by empowering students against examination anxiety, stress and fear.

In our society the status of young lives are greatly determined by academic performance, and in turn academic performance and intelligence are gauged by  the frequent examinations. Hence examinations have  ability to make or break you- forming the basis of the self judgement, aspirations etc. and often arouse fear  and anxiety in young people.

Most students under perform not because they are lazy or lack intelligence, but because they are victims of examination anxiety. As a result of poor academic performance, there is an increase in school dropout rate as well as suicidal thoughts and other desperate actions.

Conscious of the societal impact of academic performance and keen on promoting industrious individuals, the Project Ignition Team under the sponsorship of Dr. SEA™ organized empowerment sessions in five secondary schools in and around Bamenda. This was to enable the students of the examination classes of these institutions have a better understanding and overcome examination anxiety with other challenges. The ultimate aim was to aid the students achieve the best possible results, hence the slogan I Can, I Will, I Must Succeed #Unstoppable which was inscribed on the t-shirts and banner.

The empowerment sessions lasted from the 16th-18th of May 2016 and they took place on the campuses of Acha Baptist College, Belo; Comprehensive High School, Bambui; St Frederick’s Comprehensive College, Mankon; Baptist High School, Mankon and Nacho Comprehensive College, Atuakom.

The sessions comprised of talks and focused groups. The talks were from the team speakers and were centered on; management of fear and anxiety, overcoming past failures, dealing with distractions and time management and prioritization. The focus groups were to tackle the personal challenges of the students at a more personal level. Each student was presented with a Project Ignition Examination Creed to ignite them by boosting their self-confidence maintaining high spirits as they strive to achieve the best possible results. At the end of the 3 day working session, more than 500 examination students were ignited by the Project Ignition team.

 

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Project Ignition is inspired by  the personal experience of Nkwain Carlson, the coordinator of the project. Five years ago, he while a candidate at the GCE Adavance Levels, he literally gave up after writing the first paper because of a crippling fear of failure. The team is made of Momo Betrand, Nkwain Gwana and Njong Jessica who all used their personal experiences to aid the students. This was the very first edition of Project Ignition and given their remarkable impact it will definitely not be the last. It is hoped that by addressing fear and anxiety issues, the team will promote academic excellence as well as students mental and emotional health, thus contributing to the personal development of young people.

This endeavor is the epitome of young people identifying a problem (out of their personal experience) and setting out to address this problem. THIS IS THE BETTER BREED! We’re proud of what these young people are doing to encourage and inspire other young Cameroonians.

Contact them via

Nkwain Carlson

+237674390116

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University of Buea’s Inaugural Career Day

April 1st 2016 will forever be remembered by many as they experienced their first ever career day in the University of Buea. As early as 7am, representatives from various companies began to arrive to set up their respective stands on the career fair grounds around Amphi 750 of the university. Better Breed Cameroon members and volunteers were there to assist them while polishing up final organizational details. By 8.30am, while there was a lot off buzz at the fair, curious students and invited guests and speakers began to fill academic hall after stopping by the registration desk. 10.00am signaled the commencement of the ceremony, opened and managed by the very able MC – Kathleen Ndongmo. The founder and Coordinator of Better Breed Cameroon, Monique Kwachou welcomed participants and explained the raison d’etre of the Career Day, encouraging them to make the most of it. This ushered in the first phase of panel presentations beginning with Mr. Roland Kwemain, Chairman of Go Ahead Africa, who encouraged young people to believe in themselves and be patient. Next came Mambe Churchill of Njorku who encouraged students to use online educational platforms like Coursera, Udacity, and Skademy to gain extra skills not taught in class, these skills differentiate and attract jobs. A fine mixture of speakers including Dr Ashu Agbor of Gifted Mom, and of course the MTN Cameroon team, thrilled the audience with career and job expectations and readiness. Then it was time for coffee break, during which time students trooped to the numerous stands at the career fair, familiarizing themselves with Cameroonian success stories like Njorku, Teach Connect, Ovamba, Gifted Mom, and to multinationals like ACCA, Ecobank, UBA and MTN.

The second phase kicked off with a new panel of representatives from corporate institutions like British American Tobacco, British High Commission, UBA, Ecobank, ACCA and Ovamba. These corporate high fliers took a personal perspective to explain how they landed in their current jobs, inspiring the audience to realize that career success is possible. They explained vividly what it takes to get and maintain a great job in their institutions and of course anywhere else.

The 3rd panel was filled with entrepreneurs who had started their own companies and were somewhat living the Cameroonian dream. These included the likes of Budi Norbert of Diamond Visions and Afrique Digital, Adeline Sede of FabAfrique, Christian Ngan of Madlyn Cazalis, Yefon Mainsah of IRepCamer, and a host of others. These strong men and women shared their personal entrepreneurship journeys of how they founded and grew their companies, in a bid to give the young audience insight into what it takes to start and grow a viable business. Their words were very inspiring, one could take home adages like:

  • “I’ve run a blog for 7yrs. I did not study journalism, I studied Engineering yet my blog is read worldwide.” Yefon Mainsah, IRepCamer.
  • “Stop living your life as though it were an accident.” Budi Norbert
  • “Start thinking at this moment about what you will do if you don’t get a job when you graduate.” Adeline Sede K, FabAfrique.
  • “”You have to be YOU. No one can beat you at BEING YOU” Christian Ngan, Madlyn Cazalis.
  • “You go with the rules, you go against the rules, but DON’T BREAK THE LAW.” Dr. Ashu Agbor, Gifted Mom.

In addition to these, various opportunities were presented throughout the forum; the British High Commission presented the Chevening and Cameroon Women Scholarships, Ovamba presented funding opportunities for entrepreneurs, and Mr. Bonie Fon of Bonaventures presented plans to launch an investment club in the University of Buea with a pledge of 1 million Francs for capitalizing student entrepreneurs. The 3rd panel was the last for the day and by 3pm, the young audience was released to yet another surprise: mock interviews and CV scrutiny, critiques and adjustments provided by Better Breed Cameroon free of charge.

The invited guests were treated to lunch from whence they took their leave.

The first edition of the Cameroon Career Day was a remarkable success despite numerous challenges. Better Breed Cameroon sincerely thanks all individuals and organizations that made Career Day a huge success, and looks forward to a bigger and better one next year. We hope to see you there!

by Brian Tamungang for Better Breed Cameroon

P.S

Head on over to Better Breed Cameroon’s YouTube page to watch videos from this phenomenal event!

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