By Boris Esono Nwenfor
20 young leaders from the ten (10) regions of the country have begun a 3-day immersion training aimed at impacting in them leadership skills in policy and public service. The opening ceremony took place on October 26, 2020, at the ST Muna Foundation in Yaounde.
The Emerging Leaders Programme 2020, which is in its second year, is organized by the Nkafu Policy Institute of the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation, in collaboration with the National Empowerment for Democracy.
“Today’s leaders are not always tomorrow’s winners but today’s winners are always tomorrow’s leaders,” Fri Asanga, Chief Operating Officer of the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation told the Emerging Leaders 2020 cohorts.
The organization of this training is in line with the objective of the Leadership and Democracy project which are to train youth leaders in policy and public service. The Emerging Leaders’ programme in policy and public service is a unique leadership and career accelerator program for Cameroonians below the age of 35-years.
Speaking on qualities of a good Leadership Ms Anne Pelagie Yotchou Tzudjom, CEFAP Coordinator said the qualities a good should have are that “the leader should be a humble person, vision, the capacity to guide people and be able to communicate effectively with the team.”
Communication is very important for every leader as without that one cannot consider him/herself as a good leader according to Ms Anne Pelagie. She added that those who fail to have these inert qualities cannot call themselves leaders as they are not.
Che Lena Neh, Team Lead of the Emerging Leaders Programme said: “…This programme saw the need for Cameroonian youths to be enlightened and educated on aspects of Leadership and Democracy. We have gathered 20 highly motivated youths from all over Cameroon, two from each region. They will be giving skills on aspects of leadership and democracy. It is an immersive programme where speakers will come from Cameroon and the USA.”
During day one of the training programme, the young leaders were trained on the effectiveness of leadership in a democratic society, leadership and peacebuilding, public speaking and leadership, the role of a leader in the public policy process and prominent figures of political leadership in Africa.
The training programme continues on October 27 with the closing ceremony on October 28. During the closing ceremony, the 20 emerging leaders will be schooled on the weaknesses of leadership and challenges of democracy. They are expected to present the project they have been working on during the training.
Mbiydzenyuy Ferdinant Sonyuy, one of the emerging Leaders 2020 cohort told PAV: “I was very happy seeing this type of programme happening in Cameroon and giving the context that the country is facing I realize that it does not matter which sector you are working in, you have to understand that you have a role to play in making things better.”
“Coming from a health sector perspective, I applied for the programme because I believe I will have the possibility to sit under people who are renowned and who understand issues which I can learn from them. We need leadership to be able to solve some the kinds of problems in our communities,” Ferdinant Sonyuy said.
Others are breaking the boundaries, showing the world that women are also leaders in their own right and break the stigmatization that has been placed on women being leaders of holding leadership positions. “In my region, women are not considered and their place is seen as in the kitchen. I had to take the bold step to say if my community thinks that I cannot make it in life, I have to make it by going for the Emerging Leaders’ programme,” Aoussinsa Tizi Pierrette, Assistant Coordinator of the World Dynamic of Young People in the Far North region said.
She added: “I expect to learn the qualities of a good leader, how can I emerge in my community (that is in the Far North Region and the North Region where ii come from). Many in my region think that the place of the woman is in the kitchen and this has affected the participation of women in holding a leadership position.”
The Emerging Leaders were divided into four groups of five individuals each after day one of the training. They are expected to organize events displaying their leadership skills learned in the course of the training in their respective regions.
The Emerging Leaders will be incorporated with the Governance and Democracy Initiative of the Nkafu Policy Institute for a yet to be specified period. They shall focus amongst other things on carrying out research, writing short articles, and crafting short policy-oriented videos that can be published on various media platforms.