Thursday, August 30, 2012

Three Challenging, Engaging & Empowering initiatives in one month.

I don't know were I found the time and energy, during my first year in Cameroon, to blog as often as I used to ( at least five times a month), on everything and nothing, on my thoughts, reflections and experiences on the ground... Today, 3 years down the line, I get so caught up with activities upon activities that I forget to engrave my thoughts/feedback in my virtual memory!  


This month of August 2012, though,  I initiated and participated in three challenging, enriching and edifying activities that I need to share with you all. 

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1. The first ten days of August Harambe Cameroon and SMEToolkit Cameroon organized Two one-day Seminars (one in Yaounde (Aug. 08) , and one in Douala (Aug.10)) on :

"How to start up a small and medium sized enterprise in Cameroon?"


A 2 minutes video overview of the entrepreneurship training sessions: 

With close to 150 entrepreneurs and project-bearers present in both cities, we trained, informed and stimulated the participants to be more entrepreneurial in Cameroon.

The partnership between Harambe Cameroon team and SME Toolkit Cameroon has been the best of many partnerships I've established in the past two years. It had nothing to do with "Having sight but no vision." We worked in a very collaborative and trustful way. Each party respecting his/her engagements and taking 50% each of responsibilities, liabilities, and rewards. After my 2 years experience with many bitter-taste collaborations, this one was quite refreshing!


In addition, my Harambe team mates, the Harambe-Ambassadors , who have embarked on this social entrepreneurship journey with me, with no pay, no salary, simply believing in our values and mission; were present and active in both cities, and they gave so much of themselves to deliver on 2 successful training seminars.

I was really really proud and happy of each single one of their efforts (as I explained in the video below) 

In this video, I explain the raison d'etre of these seminars and training sessions. 


I was equally honored to have the JournalduCameroon.com -  highly read and renown online newspaper - dedicate an interview on my observations on the need to capitalize on Cameroon's SMEs and entrepreneurs to boost the nation's socio-economic development.  

Find on the Harambe Cameroon website a comprehensive report of the Entrepreneurship days we organized, on "How to start up a business in Cameroon?"

Given the success and positive evaluations of this first edition, by entrepreneurs and SMEs in Cameroon, SMEToolKit-Cameroon and Harambe Cameroon decided to re-edit these Entrepreneurship days in December 2012 - On Friday, the 28th (in Douala) at the Chamber of Commerce. The themes this time will be on Investment in Cameroon, Diaspora Engagement, and Optimizing the performances of one's enterprise. We will connect members of the Diaspora with local Cameroonian entrepreneurs, and we will highlight invest opportunities in various sectors on the ground. 

For more information about this upcoming SMEs/Business seminar, stay tuned on our facebook page. 

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2. In mid-August (from the 15th to the 21st of August) I joined a peer organization (Melting Pot Development) on a humanitarian socio-tourism trip, in 8 towns, cities, and villages of Cameroon; to make donations to orphanages and health centers, while discovering our country. 

After the trip, I shared this note with my friends on the Facebook photo album I created: 

"As a fervent proponent of teaching people how to fish vs giving them fish, I always had a radical view on charity, until I embarked on this Humanitarian Road Trip which transformed my perspective of "giving back" to the community. In one sentence, teaching people how to fish does not exclude giving them fish! They need the food to survive, while you are helping them build their capacities.

That said, If we could take just 5 days out of 365 days of our lives each year, to do something altruistic larger than ourselves, not only will we empower others (with food, donations, clothes; but also with practical workshops, tools to generate revenue, strategic social entrepreneurship planning) and in the process of doing so, revitalize and empower ourselves! Because, as Barack Obama once said, it's only when you hitch your wagon for something larger than yourself that you realize your full potential!"


It was an amayzing and uplifting human adventure with the kids at all the orphanages we visited. Take a look at the pictures of our 5 days road trip.


An international /Pan African channel (VoxAfrica.com)  followed parts of our activities, and featured (among other things) a 5 minutes reportage of our humanitarian trip.
Video

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3. The third initiative I participated in, End-of-August ( August 27th, 2012) was the Young African Leaders' Symposium a the US Embassy of Yaounde. A sequel to the first symposium organized by President Barack Obama in D.C. in 2010


The main goal of this symposium was to provide "an opportunity for young Cameroonians who participated in previous YAL and other programs to share their stories with counterparts and highlights the sustained U.S. engagement in developing a sustainable dialogue among youth organizations in Cameroon." 


Nfinyo T. Mabu, youth leader of whom I blogged about in my earliest posts, also 2004 Leadership IVLP  delivered a vibrant and compelling Key note  address to the 40 youth leaders present. (Excerpt) : 

"...I am especially pleased to present this address amongst this special group of Cameroon’s Youth Leaders, who have not only distinguished themselves in their various leadership duties, but have also had sustained commitment to help change lives and build a Cameroon that is indeed a ‘land of promise; land of glory’ as refrained in our National Anthem. How promising and glorious shall our land be if there is inadequate servant leadership that focuses on the growth and welfare of its people?


If we are here today, it is because we have distinguished ourselves as youth leaders who can have visions and actively shape the future of our communities. We are still a distance away from the age when we shall dream dreams, and when the grey of age comes for us to dream, it should be about the legacies we have left for future generations.

The only place to start is where we are. We have to start with what we have, and not with what we don’t have. It is often said opportunity is always where you are and never where you were. To get anywhere, you must launch out from somewhere. So here and now is the time for young Cameroonian and African leaders..."





Later on, Churchill Mambe shared with us his achievement at creating an efficient online job-search engine, Njorku,
 ranked by Forbes Africa as one of the 20 Africa start-ups of the year. 







Jacqueline Kamsu, CEO of BeadSpace, shared her story as a struggling single mother who had no dolars to startup a business, but after participating in a skill building seminar in 2011, started producing jewelry with recycled paper (like the earrings she is wearing in the picture - source) , which she has transformed into a money making business. This initiative has opened many doors of opportunities through Women Empowerment and skill building seminars in the U.S , and a heavy investor from the U.K, as well as a dynamic team of employees & trainees in Cameroon. Read more.


The Symposium ended with most of us exchanging with each other and building partnerships for future projects, initiatives and businesses. 


I actually agreed on a collaboration proposed by Romeo Ngaba, leader of an organization called A Better Cameroon, with whom we would launch an anti-corruption video-media campaign in January. In brief, ABC (through its founder, Junior Mekinda, with whom I worked on a project , in 2010, to help sickle cell patients ) has created a Cameroonian young Super Hero whose mission is to fight against corruption and remind citizens of civic actions. It's a project I'm quite excited about because it will revolutionize the way we perceive, interpret and cope with corruption and uncivil acts in our society... stay tuned!  



That's about that for my August month of challenging, engaging and empowering community development and social impact activities. 

The initiatives in the upcoming months are quite exciting!

Here's what I'll be up to (a pre-excuse for my un-blogging/temporary blog-silence during those periods. lol )

- In September :  I'm launching a for-profit with 5 partners ( L'Esquis du Palais) . Yup, I have to live what we preach to the youths/ students we engage at our info-sessions to start businesses to solve local problems. 

- In October: USA-bound - My gurl Salmah Rizvih is getting married, AND I have to visit Business schools and take the GMAT (wish me luck :) ). 

- In November (Bday month!!!)  I return to Cameroon to work on Super Camer (Anti Corruption Campaign) and to  launch my 2nd for-profit venture (with 2 partners and a dozen of  associates) Solutionneurs Consulting (which to be honest I have been doing informally for the past 2 months, cuz I still needed to rally enough capital to start it up as a Limited Liability Company (LLC)) 

- In December: Harambe Cameroon (non for profit) is organizing the 2nd edition of our Entrepreneurship Days, in collaboration with SMEToolkit Cameroon. 

Those are the major initiatives I can think about now. I will try to blog more about each one of those, when the ripe time comes. 

Until then, 

Keep Loving, Keep Giving, Keep Blessing! 


2 comments:

  1. GREAT!

    Congratulations!

    You are an exceptional entrepreneurial leader!

    Bert Phillips

    Bermultinational Limited
    Africa United States Partnership Fund

    ReplyDelete
  2. Waouh!

    this is really encouraging,I now have a greater
    to go back home(Cameroon) after my studies.

    thank you
    and please do keep it up

    ReplyDelete

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