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: email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org or send them a message on their Facebook page Better Breed Cameroon.
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 act 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
It’s that time of year again. After roughly three months of long holidays with kids home from school, parents are anxious both positively (Yay! They’ll be out of my hair now) and negatively (Weh! How will I make it to payday after this rentree scolaire) as the kids return to school.
Given that very few Cameroonian students of primary/ secondary/ high-school age are going to be reading post, we’re targeting parents like you. What are you are you doing during this back to school period apart from shouting at the kids to put their things in order and going out of your mind as you tally the cost of uniforms, books, fees and other needs for your child? Have you sat them down for a back to school message to talk to them one on one, prepare them mentally, spiritually and emotionally for the year ahead? If not we advise you to.
Start the year by sitting your child down and giving the first lesson. The parent is always the first teacher, the one who sets the foundation for everything else the child goes out to learn. We’ve put together some points you may want to include in your message; we hope these direct you as you seek to influence your child positively for the year ahead.
1. Know the purpose
Does your child know why he or she is going to school? When asked, most of them would respond “to get an education”, “because that is what we are supposed to do” or another of such correct yet unsatisfactory answers. The reason we do things often determines how well we do them. The child may not have had much of a choice in being enrolled in nursery school, or even primary, but if that child is older (particularly in that I-hate-school stage) it would be wise to let your child know how going to school plays in their own plans for their life. And not just to fulfill parental obligation.
2. Begin as you mean to continue
You may have done this already, but if not, it is wise to tell your children that school does not begin with the first sequence/tests but rather with the first lessons. And explain again the pressure they put on themselves by accumulating work till last-minute – forget the fact that as adults we may need this lessons ourselves, tell them anyways.
3. Learning is fun, don’t let anyone fool you otherwise
Our educational system is flawed all over world. You see we are more concerned with the score the child has than whether they actually mastered the topic, or whether they can use that knowledge practically, if at all the knowledge is useful. But we know that real learning isn’t just about memorization and grades. Real learning is fun. It is the joy we felt at discovering the how day and night came about or the impressive awe in finding out about the water cycle. If done right, education and learning is more fun than any Playstation can offer. Convince your child of this, help them go to school with the mindset that will help them learn and not just memorize or “cram”. Help them save a bit of their curiosity and ingenuity
4. School is more than a place for education, it is one of the bloodiest social battlefields
As adults we’ve passed this stage so we sometimes forget that there is often a lot more than lessons taking place in the classroom. Yes children learn something every day in school, but not always related to academics.
“What is the most important thing one learns in school?
Self-esteem, support, and friendship.”
– Terry Tempest Williams
To add to the above quote, children also learn lessons on failure, betrayal, independence and interdependence etc. So as you counsel them on their academics don’t forget to talk to them about interrelation with other students, the social part of school definitely affects the academic performance of the student. And pretending the relationships don’t matter or don’t exist doesn’t make the problem go away.
5. Failing doesn’t make you a failure
No parent wants to see their child fail. And in truth no child wants to fail (some just don’t want to work to want to pass). However it is necessary to let children know that if they do fail, it is not the end of the world, it does not mean, they cannot pass and it definitely doesn’t mean they are stupid. Remind them early that failing is a part of the learning process much like falling was when they first tried to walk. Many parents put demands for “first place” on their children and avoid the topic of failure until it comes. By broaching the topic of failure you are not encouraging failure, you are encouraging self acceptance. Ask them to try their best and remember that everyone’s best is not the same.
All in all as your child goes into school ensure that you are sending them not only with enough provisions, or with their fees fully paid, they should also be leaving home with enough drive, ambition, courage, kindness, hope and self-esteem to weather what will surely come.
“Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing worth knowing can be taught.”
– Oscar Wilde