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 contes
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.
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
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:
- Buea School for the Deaf- Buea
- Treasure Centre (school for children with Mental disabilities) Mendankwe- Bamenda
- Morning Star School ( Students with hearing and speech impairments) – Bamenda
- 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.
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 email@example.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!
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.
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 aid‘ https://www.amazon.com/Murdering-Poverty-How-fix-aid-ebook/dp/B019NJAIZA (2016, Sanaga Press)
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
Head on over to Better Breed Cameroon’s YouTube page to watch videos from this phenomenal event!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
29 March 2016
A joint brainchild of Better Breed Cameroon in conjunction with Cameroonian institutions of learning and starting with the University of Buea, the event, which aims to smooth the transition between school and the world of work, is a first of its kind.
“Our aim is facilitate students’ transition from school to work by offering professional and practical career orientation from employers, career counsellors and young professionals,”
explained Better Breed Founder, Monique Kwachou. Due to take place on
Friday 1stApril 2016, the Cameroon (Campus) Career Day will present students and recent graduates with the opportunity to interact with employers, career counsellors and young professionals.Cameroon Career Day will also showcase the work of young entrepreneurs.
“Students and recent graduates who have created startups need a space where they present their ideas and products to potential customers and investors. It is very important that these future leaders make the right connections,” said Kwachou.
MTN remains at the forefront of championing forward thinking projects that benefit Cameroonian youth through Entrepreneur-focused programmes like the MTN Innovation Challenge which saw 3 Cameroonian innovators winning 1 million CFA each towards the development of their applications and MTN’s Y’ello Care annual employee volunteer programme won by MTN Cameroon staff. The programme invests in community projects, as recognition of the outstanding and selfless work of its employees.
This year, MTN Cameroon employees received 100,000 dollars which constructed eight classrooms and a dormitory at two schools for visually impaired learners. The team also constructed and equipped three libraries in centres for the disabled. These activities are estimated to have impacted more than 4500 beneficiaries. MTN Cameroon employees also raised more than $18 000 towards the project activities.
“The strength of every winning organisation is its employees, and that is our strength at MTN Cameroon.Winning the 21 Days trophy is a truly humbling experience, and proof of the selflessness and Can-Do spirit of our staff who tirelessly commit to better the livelihood of communities every year,” MTN Cameroon CEO, Philisiwe Sibiya said.
The Cameroon Career Day event has generated a buzz on social media, and attracted interest from various Cameroonian businesses and professionals at home and in the diaspora including US based speaker, author and educator, Dr Nicoline Ambe of Nicoline Ambe International.
Student entrepreneurs who attend this event will be automatically entered into Project GOLA – a competition launched by Kinnaka’s Blog- and two enterprising students stand a chance to win 500 USD each. In addition, other types of funding, mentoring and business tools will be available for the most forward-thinking young people. with beauty treat tickets provided courtesy of at Buea’s luxurious Belle & Glam salon and spa.
Interested student-entrepreneurs are required to email an expression of interest to Better Breed Cameroon at firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Thursday 31st March 2016. Mails must contain the following information:
the name(s) of business owner(s)
the company name
a mission statement of said enterprise
achievements thus far and
NOTE TO EDITORS
Better Breed Cameroon is an apolitical, non-profit youth focused organisation which aims to develop responsible citizens and leaders.
For sponsorship, media enquiries and images:
Register at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/campus-career-day-tickets-24194325880?aff=es2
Event hashtag: #CameroonCareerDay
On the 11th of February Better Breed Cameroon awarded the winners of the 2016 Sama Randy Youth Write Essay Competition. The following essay by Awanto Magaret- an undergraduate student majoring in History at the University of Dschang (pictured within) won the 2nd Prize of 75.000 FCFA
Let’s know what you think of this prize winning essay!
Can Cameroonians Entrepreneur their way a brighter future? Why or why not
Essay by AWANTO MAGARET
“No jobs” has long been the cry of a large number of the Cameroonian population particularly the youths and the graduates. It bears with it the hope that the Cameroonian government should create more jobs for her jobless citizens but it is inconceivable that the government could respond to the job need of every of its citizen especially as Cameroon is a mixed economy which entertains both the public and private sectors. The question here is, what are
Cameroonians themselves doing? What about entrepreneurship? Entrepreneurship is from the French the ‘entreprendre’ meaning to undertake, pursue opportunities to fulfill needs and wants through innovation, this may include an established organization ( Ndedi, 2012) One is said to be an entrepreneur when he assembles the other factors of production such as land, labor and capital to start a production process which involve risks. Its about time Cameroonians adopted United States president Barack Obama’s slogan of Yes, We Can! I think that through
entrepreneurship, Cameroonians can be able to achieve higher levels of national income, innovation, new businesses, development, employment and also less dependency ratio all summing up to a brighter future
Entrepreneurship leads to innovation and social change through entrepreneurship Cameroonians can create with new products, modified brands of goods and services and new techniques. This means more income for the entrepreneur or the worker. This indirectly supports freedom by reducing dependency and obsolete systems and technologies .thus, the overall result is an Improvement in the quality of life plus greater morale and economic freedom. For example the young dynamic social entrepreneur and Cameroonian Alain Nteff, founder of Gifted Mom an e-content platform for pregnant women in undeveloped areas to help them have safer pregnancies and combat the lack of access to good medical facilities and knowledge which has been leading to high mother and infant deaths in Cameroon. This project has led to 200 medical students being trained, 1200 pregnant women Impacted resulting in a 20% increase in anti natal attendance for pregnant women in 15 communities. It is clear that through entrepreneur ship, Cameroonians can have brighter futures like Alain Nteff did for some communities , not only lives were saved but hope too was given to populations of a brighter future for them and their babies.
In addition, entrepreneurship would increase the national income of the Cameroon. Entrepreneurs literally generate new wealth. existing businesses may remain confined to the scope of existing markets and may hit the glass ceiling in terms of income, new and improved offerings, products or technologies from entrepreneurs enable new markets to be developed and new wealth to be created. Furthermore, the cascading effect of increased employment and higher
earnings contribute to better national income in the form of higher tax revenue and higher government spending, which leads to nation building if the budget is well managed. For example, imagine an increase in the national income of Cameroon leads to the construction of a road and some schools. We all know the famous slogan, which says when a road passes, development follows. The construction of that road will go a long way to better that area through increased communication, circulation and business ventures, probably inviting the area to be habituated
steaming economic activities in the area. The school would lead to increase in the level of literacy and probably keep the children off the streets consequently, making the lives of Cameroonians better by encouraging education, enhancing their happiness, giving them hope and obviously leading them to a brighter future.
Moreover, entrepreneurs create new businesses. Path breaking offers by entrepreneurs in the form of new goods and services results in new occupations, which can produce cascading effects in the economy through the stimulation of related businesses or sectors that support the new venture to add to further development. The creation of new businesses by Cameroonians will lead to higher efficiency because the entrepreneur has a goal and many at times the goal of the entrepreneur is to excel in his venture and make profit. Cameroon is endowed with abundant natural resources and Cameroonians have the liberty of choosing any domain they wish to entrepreneur from. Some options are agriculture, arts, entertainment, information communication technologies. Agriculture for instance is dominant in Cameroon and the youths are increasingly joining the sector. Let us use the case of the Ndawara highland tea estate which is the biggest privately owned tea estate In the world and certainly in whole of Africa. Owned by the Cameroonian Baba Ahmadou Danpullo. This estate is good example of the power of entrepreneur ship. It employs over a thousand Cameroonians and has given the population something to live on , reduced the dependency ratio, Increased the living standards of its workers and their families, reduced crime wave; reduced hunger and increased the chances of education of the children thus leading to a brighter future.
Some argue that Cameroonians cannot entrepreneur their way to a brighter because entrepreneurs are not encouraged by the government. More so, exorbitant taxes are levied on entrepreneurs and this discourages other Cameroonians who aspire to be entrepreneurs. They also not the stressful and time-consuming process they go through when trying to get approval for their enterprise, plus the administrative bottlenecks and constrains. True, it is not easy to get past the all these process to get your business started. However, measures have been taken by this same government to reduce administrative bottlenecks by making it possible to register an enterprise at the regional level without necessarily going to the capital Yaoundé. In addition, the government encourages entrepreneurial ventures especially in the domain of agriculture and also boosts new ideas and innovations with the role of the non governmental organizations, philanthropic associations, religious associations and the ministry of small and medium –sized enterprise, not to mention the funds provided by and to these associations and groups.
Others claim using science that Cameroons cannot entrepreneur their way to a brighter future because they have limited knowledge about entrepreneurship and do not have the skills needed to make the achieving entrepreneurs. Such people totally reject the idea of entrepreneurship as headway
and advocate for technology and science.
Some say the only way forward is through good leadership. These claims are all true however, entrepreneurs in Cameroon no longer have limited knowledge thanks to workshops and seminars organized by philanthropic groups, non governmental organizations and some ministries. Furthermore, Entrepreneurship has been introduced as an obligatory course in all higher institutions for all students in every faculty. More so how can science and technology take us to our desired future if we do not entrepreneur in them? Like young Alain Nteff did, he combined technology, science and entrepreneurship to start his association. In addition every Cameroonian is a leader, why look up to others to deliver your future to you when you yourself can, what we need is a population of good leaders and not
just a good leader.
Entrepreneurship is as vital as blood to the sustainability of the human body. It would not only provide more jobs for Cameroonians but hard-work and purpose would be encouraged. The creation of new businesses would mean more income for some families, lesser rates of dependency and reduction in the gap between the rich and the poor. Thus, entrepreneurship with all certainty would definitely lead Cameroonians to a brighter.
Upon receipt of her award, Margaret was interviewed and had this to say:
We’re pleased to announce that this year’s Sama Randy Youth Write Competition has come and gone successfully.
This year we received over thirty submissions from universities all over the country and even received an entry in French! The judges did an awesome job in using the limited time to narrow down our top three winners.
As proof that this year’s campaign had a vast outreach, each winner hails from a school in a different Cameroonian region!
Our 1st Prize of 100.000 FCFA has been awarded to
Ubangoh Thursie Abanjoh
An 18 year old undergraduate Management student of the Catholic University of Cameroon, Bamenda in the Northwest Region
Last but certainly not least, the 3rd Prize of 50.000 FCFA is to be awarded to Mbah Angwah Furt aged 19 and currently enrolled for a B.Sc in Petroleum Engineering at the International Institute of Petroleum Studies (IIPS) of Saint Monica University Buea in the Southwest Region!
Congratulations to them all.
Congratulations to those who tried as well. The effort was commendable and the competition stiff!
We also say a very big ‘Thank you’ to Big Steps (a fellow youth-led, youth empowerment initiative focusing on issues of health) which partnered with us by increasing the award money for this year’s competition.
Awards were handed to the winners on 11th February, Cameroon’s Youth Day after a celebratory lunch by our coordinator Monique Kwachou, our newest active member Melissa Longla, and Ashoka Changemaker scholar Gabila Franklin
Within this week we shall post the award winning essays with some note on their importance and judges comments as to why they won. Stay tuned!!!
When Better Breed Cameroon was being set up two years ago this week, it was a dream. A fragment of a dream, held together with equal measures of hope and the readiness to be disappointed. But two years later our disappointments are yet to outweigh our capacity to hope. And that is what keeps us going.
This year has been a good one for Better Breed. So we decided to put together a timeline of our activities to display how far we have come, and to encourage those who believe along with us that we are the change we need. Only starting as individuals can truly change our nation for the better… Join the movement
Our New year began on an ambitious note with the YouResolve Mentoring Project: We thought about all the resolutions one make at the beginning of the year and how it would work out much better if only we had we had mentors guiding us along or inspiring us as the led the way. We all need examples and some help even if its just someone who can listen and believe in our dreams. Thus this first edition of Better Breeds mentoring project sought to match youth with older achievers in their related fields who could mentor or just help them network.
The project definitely had some glitches some mentors were just too busy to commit 100% and some mentees couldn’t take the networking opportunity hands on. But post evaluation we know what went wrong and how to address it for the next edition.
In May Better Breed was represented by Monique Kwachou and Brian Tamungang at the local consultations of the implementations of the post-2015 development agenda
The coordinator joined the British High Commission in saying it was #TimetoAct against sexual and gender based violence in conflict
In July Better Breed Cameroon will be partnered with TanabE for the TanabE’s Annual Summer Camp (TASC). TASC; a two day symposium held with the primary objective of changing the youth participant’s approach to education. The camp held at Tongou Hotel at Etoa Meki, Yaounde. Monique Kwachou of Better Breed spoke on making the most out of the average educational experience and thinking outside of the box. Over 60 participants attended and received first copies of the What Next? Newsletter.
With the GCE examinations over, Better Breed began officially distributing the What Next? Newsletter with an outreach led by Brian Tamungang
What Next? Newsletter attempts to serve as a guide to youth who just completed high-school and are on the brink of life-changing decisions such as what to study and where as well as what career to pursue to best fulfill them
On September 3rd Better Breed launched the pioneer Better Hope Bursary.
Call for applications went out, submissions were sent in and the first set to be granted this humble award were: Takor Sharon Mbiaya & Nkesi Kevin Kongnyu of the University of Buea. The recipients had their school fees, registration and dues paid under the direction of Mrs. Marilyn Mbua, the financial officer of Better Breed.
Better Breed launched the Better Minds Book Drive towards the end of October. We are still collecting books to donate to schools in 2015. Please don’t hesitate to contact us.
On Worlds AIDS Day (December 1st) Better Breed member Fri Delphine represented at an awareness campaign at Polytechnic Bambui where she engaged youth with an original sketch written to cater for the purposes of the day.
On the 3rd of December; International Day of Persons with Disabilities
Better Breed members; Nina Forgwe, Diane Manka, and Ms. Arrey Echi targeted the school for the deaf in Yaounde (ESEDA). Their opinions on the day left a lot to be desired. In typical Cameroonian fashion, Ms. Echi stated, the day was being celebrated elsewhere with fanfare and for show. They were unable to meet with the director because he was at the event with speeches and refreshments while the workers of the school had not been paid for months on end and the students conditions were far from celebration worthy.
Well… That’s a run-down of what 2014 had in store for us. It is not grand but it shows that little by little we can make a difference.
Be conscious, join the movement… Be the #BetterBreed
Guess what I forgot to add; this blog!
Better Breed Journal is another baby born this year. Enjoy!
A few months back the coordinator of Better Breed Cameroon was awarded a Chevening Scholarship to study in the UK for a Masters degree in Education, Gender and International Development at the Institute of Education, University of London. Since then she has been receiving a lot of inquires as to how she got it. The way most of the queries are posed has been disturbing. A lot of those who asked were more interested with traveling out of the country than with the programs or they felt it was something which had a five step formula to achieving. Most did not know exactly what they wanted to study and had not settled on a country, much less a school. Then there were those who asked the “Who did you know?” question.
In a bid to clarify what some think of as “the magic of getting a scholarship” this blogpost seeks to outline what those who hope to be awarded a scholarship need to take into consideration.
First off, know what you want. Like they say, if you don’t know where you are going. You won’t know when you arrive there. A lot of people are rejected for scholarships and visas because they are applying for what is already existing in Cameroon. While we would all agree that (sadly) a degree from out of the country is valued more, one has to know if what we are looking for is here already to sufficiently explain why they would want to travel abroad for the same thing. When you tell someone you need a scholarship you need to be able to explain why. That explanation only make sense if, for instance, you know: what you want to study, why you are interested in studying it, where you want to study it and how studying it could possibly impact you. The answers to this question will mostly make up the content of your motivational letter or supporting statement. Knowing exactly what you want is truly important as it proves your credibility and genuine need. You can’t be genuinely in need of something you don’t know much about. When someone asks you what you plan to do with the degree you want a scholarship to study for and you hesitate and stutter thinking up an answer it shows you are uncertain and not serious.
Next, change your mindset. You don’t need to get a scholarship, you need to DESERVE a scholarship. Stop thinking of it as a gift which someone just decided to give you or a lottery which you win if you have the lucky numbers. Scholarships are mostly granted on merit, look yourself over and ask yourself what makes you merit it? How well have you done in school, how active have you been out of school, how can you prove you have the potential to do greater if given the scholarship? Each scholarship has its own criteria. To deserve it you need to fulfill the majority of the criteria which makes you eligible and more. You need to fulfill all doubts that you not only need the financial support, but that what you would be receiving- the knowledge and experience- with that financial support is vital to your doing more than you have done already. You have to have done something already, they are meeting you half way. To deserve it you need to prove your ability to make optimum use of it if given.
Know what you are applying for. Scholarships are not one size fits all. This relates to criteria mentioned above. The fact that your friend got a particular scholarship doesn’t mean the same one is for you. Research the scholarship, look up past winners and note that different scholarships target or prefer certain groups. There are scholarships targeted at women, at workers, at potential leaders, at minority groups, at people in a particular field of study etc. Look for a scholarship which targets you and for which you would be a shoe in.
Start NOW. Deserving a scholarship does not begin when you find out about it, it begins way before that. The magic of winning the scholarship of your dreams is being ready for it before the opportunity arises. What are you doing now, or what have you been doing that qualifies you? Potential scholars are expected to prove they performed well in school, distinguished themselves with extracurricular activities, held leadership roles in and out of school. Every little deed counts ultimately when you have to build a resume or write a supporting statement demonstrating your merit of the scholarship. So if you want a scholarship in future? Start volunteering today, start participating in extracurricular activities, develop a skill a hobby, fraternize with others in your field, READ widely! Why? Because you will be asked in an interview for that scholarship “Who is your role model in this field?” “What have been the latest innovations in this field” You will need to have people refer you, both from academics and from a professional experience. And if you have been unemployed and never volunteered, you won’t be able to get a good reference. You will need to know how to write, how to speak convincingly when you will be asked “How did your passion for this field of study develop?” And if you had not run away from that class delegate position you may have developed orator skills. Most of us are short sighted. We don’t see that what we do today or not do has long lasting impact. If you want someone to pay millions to support you in future, you have to become the sort of person that would appeal to them. You can’t become anything in just a day. So start now!
Be original. There is no one else like you. You have gone through unique experiences, have developed your own voices and have favored words in your vocabulary. When you attempt to copy a past winners motivational letter, or use multi-syllabic words which you can barely define properly you sound fake and risk being called out for plagiarism. Supporting statement templates online are not to be copied!!!! Use them to inspire you not to dictate you.
Be self-driven. In most things which involve your progress you are going to have to do it all yourself. Even if you have help, you are going to have to find that help, and maintain the relationship with the helper on your own. No one is going to be on your neck saying “deadline is coming up” Or give you tips as to editing your essay. If you are used to being told what to do and how, this is where you will fail. You have to think for yourself, take the initiative to go the extra mile beyond what is asked by the scholarship board sometimes.
Finally, be informed! A lot of people ask, who connected you? Who told you of this opportunity? Those questions sounds a bit stupid in this age of technology. The opportunities are literally flying all over the web. If you care to look you will find. The problem is you haven’t made it your priority you have liked Nollywood Stars page, Wiz Khaliffa’s Facebook page, you follow E! Online fervently but cannot imagine that similar pages exist for career development, job opportunities for fellowships and scholarships and conferences. And still, it is not enough to be informed of the scholarships themselves; you need to be informed on the school you aim to study at. You need to be able to back why that particular school in that particular country interests you. And saying “Because my aunty lives in America in that state” will not do. The truth is those who go after scholarships just because they feel they need to continue school or leave the country hardly ever get it. The determination needed to endure the process of applications, interviewing, testing and waiting (which could be up to a year or more) can only be found in those who know what they want and really have invested themselves in achieving their dreams.
To conclude, here are a few websites which offer regular information on scholarships for Africans in general. Subscribe to them all and get updates to your email on opportunities you can apply to.
Like their Facebook pages and while you are at it, like Better Breed Cameroon on Facebook as well. We select the opportunities which Cameroonians in particular are eligible for and share on the page. This scholarship season, be informed, very informed.
Better Breed Cameroon is over a year old now with several minor youth projects to its repertoire. But in the beginning, all there was to it was a young lady with a dream, a mentor who pushed her and a cash award which made the dream all the more possible.
Have you ever thought about problems, vices and ills prevalent in our society? From AIDS to strikes, from corruption to unemployment… whatever the social issue, Cameroonians tend to blame it on those in power. They are corrupt, they embezzle, they give the jobs to relatives and friends, bypassing those who are qualified, they are bias in favor of certain tribes etc. It is always “they” and never “we”.
Better Breed was founded on the premise that this blaming/grumbling cycle will get us nowhere. And fighting those in power is useless if we don’t have better people to replace them with.
We need a new kind of Cameroonian. One who is not willing to give bribes to the police along the road, one who knows how many ministries there are in the country, one who isn’t after the “American Dream” but is willing to fantasize about something uniquely Cameroonian and make it a reality.
We need a new breed. And so we’re going to rear just that. It is much easier to build a whole child than to fix a broken adult. So we are solving the problem from the roots. We are all about investing in the development and empowerment of the young people.
Give them the knowledge they need to stand up for what is right, help them fulfill themselves here so they need not seek it elsewhere. Encourage them to dream, empower them with the ability and confidence to pursue those dreams.
Join the movement. This is the beginning of a new breed. Better Breed Cameroon