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Gambia: YJAG, Gambia College Press Hold First Inter-Press Convergence
December 5, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

The Young Journalists’ Association of The Gambia (YJAG) in collaboration with the Gambia College Press Club (GCPC) has on Saturday 30th November 2019, organized a day-long inter-press convergence for press clubs in the greater Banjul area.

The convergence was held at Babylon Basic Cycle School in Lamin where over 50 participants underwent training on news writing and presenting, media law and ethics, reporting on children’s issues and the role of media in a democracy.

The participating schools included Gambia Senior Secondary School, Mayork Upper and Senior Secondary School, Mahad Senior Secondary School, Sheikh Mass Kah Senior Secondary School, Babylon Basic Cycle School, Brusubi Upper and Senior Secondary School, Alieu Badara Senior Secondary School, and the Gambia College press club.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Kebba Jeffang, the president of YJAG, said the convergence is part of his executive agenda for 2019 and hoped that at the end of the training, it would serve it desired purpose.

Jeffang said he is always impressed with what he sees whenever school press clubs invite him, adding that the training was “just a boost” to the already efforts the press clubs are doing in their respective schools.

“We bring you together to discuss issues that are very pertinent and can also build your capacities. It can also create networking among ourselves,” he added.

He discussed the importance of press clubs in schools indicating that it eases the burden of career selection.

“This has always been a problem for many students. It makes sure that those who are motivated to become a journalist would have an opportunity to know the basics in news gathering, presenting and interviewing. By the time they move to the newsrooms, the foundation is already there,” he said.

Sanna Jobarteh, the vice principal of Babylon Upper and Senior Secondary School who hosted the convergence, said the participants career choice on journalism is a monumental display of patriotism. 

“…What they (organizers) are telling you (participants) is get a career before leaving school. This is the truth, get a job before leaving high school,” he said.

He urged the participants to grab the opportunity accorded to them.

“I wish I was in your shoes, I would become an active member of the organization, get a job in high school and when I finish, I just get my BSc and life goes on,” he added.

Babucarr F Jammeh, the president of Gambia College Press Club, said they partnered with YJAG because they shared the same action plan in staging a press convergence.

He said the convergence was scheduled to take place a month ago but due to circumstances, it was rescheduled. It was first planned to be a three-day residential program.

Jammeh further said the training is aimed at promoting journalism at the grass-root for the participating students to have a passion for the profession.

“I am urging all of you when you go back to share the knowledge gained,” he said.

Famara Fofana, communication specialist of ChildFund-The Gambia, took the participants through the definition of the child, child protection issues, among others.

Other resource persons include YJAG president Kebba Jeffang, Muhammeh S Bah, assistant editor Foroyaa newspaper; Yankuba Jallow, senior reporter Foroyaa newspaper and Mustapha Ceesay, president of Media Academy for Journalism and Communication student union (MAJaC) and also the news producer at Choice FM.

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President Barrow Applauds Progress in New Democracy, Welcomes New Parties
December 4, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Barrow

 President Barrow has extended congratulations to the new political parties that are gracing the county’s political landscape. He said it is a testament to the dividends of democracy that came through efforts and sacrifices made in the run-up to December 2016.

 “The sacrifices and efforts we made to bring democracy to this country are today being enjoyed by all. It is grounded on such development for everyone to enjoy its dividends,” he told a meeting in Bondali on the 2nd December, which coincided with the victory celebration of his election into office.

 Reassuring that the dark days of political oppression is long gone, the President pledged that his government will continue to open up and expand the political space to accommodate political plurality and diversity. He recounted the challenges associated with being an opposition party under the 22-year dictatorship describing it as a risky business.

 President Barrow also congratulated the party leader of the opposition APRC party, Honourable Fabakary Tombong Jatta for coming out to welcome him upon arrival from the provincial tour over the weekend.

“It shows our politics is maturing… we may belong to different groups but we should be able to conduct our politics with maturity”, President Barrow said, adding that The Gambia belongs to us all irrespective of political affiliations.

 In Foni, Honourable Hamat Bah, the tourism and culture minister spoke of the great qualities of President Barrow, highlighting respects for the dignity of all without regard to tribe, religion or sectionalism as one of his distinguishing traits.

 “He sought Presidency for three months and succeeded when I tried for two decades without success,” he said of President Barrow.

Minister Bah asked the people of Foni to rally behind the President and be a part of the development wagon.

 “It will only ease your aspiration to bring development to your communities. He urged the audience at Kampassa to work with the Barrow government to realize their development aspirations.

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Canada, Gambia and Netherlands to form tripartite group on Rohinyga case filed at the International Court of Justice
December 4, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

By Bakary Ceesay

The Gambia filed a lawsuit at The Hague demanding accountability on the systematic violations of the rights of minority Rohinyga Muslims by the Government of Myanmar.

Following The Gambia’s filing of the Rohingya case at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Canada, Gambia and Netherlands have agreed to form a tripartite joint working group to pursue the case.  

The Honourable Minister of Foreign Minister, Dr. Mamadou Tangara, who returned from Jeddah where he attended the 50th anniversary of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, reported that The Gambia was highly praised by OIC member countries for its acceptance to pursue the case on behalf of the OIC.

While in Jeddah, Dr. Tangara held discussions with many of his counterparts all of whom renewed their countries’ steadfastness and support for The Gambia with a view to ensuring accountability for the potential crimes against the Rohinyga population.  

The Honourable Bob Rae, Canada’s Special Envoy to Myanmar, raised the need for accountability and Canada’s unflinching support to The Gambia in ensuring justice for the victims. The Indonesian Economic Affairs Minister, Mr. Darmin Nasution, also expressed his country’s support for Gambia’s bid to bring accountability for the Rohinyga minority.  

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Prince Faisal Bin Farhan Al Saud, assured Dr. Tangara that Saudi Arabia will continue working with The Gambia Government to pursue the case to its logical conclusion. Prince Faisal also revealed his country’s plan to open an Embassy in Banjul in the near future.  

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After Arsenal, Rwanda enters in partnership with French club PSG to advertise its tourism
December 4, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Maniraguha Ferdinand

Rwanda entered in partnership with Paris Saint Germain, a french football club
Rwanda entered in partnership with Paris Saint Germain, a french football club

Rwanda has announced that it is entering in partnership with a French club, Paris Saint Germain Football Club to  attract more tourists coming in Rwanda  around the world.

This partnership comes a year after Rwanda signed another partnership with British football club, Arsenal in which Visit Rwanda brand was highlighted on Arsenal jersey, and Rwanda tourism being shown on Arsenal stadium and on its online platforms.

Through Rwanda Development Board (RDB), Rwanda announced that this partnership with   Paris Saint-Germain Football Club will attract more French investors.

“Today Rwanda and PSG announce a unique and innovative partnership inviting the world to be part of the country’s inspiring transformation. The partnership will convey Rwanda’s openness to welcome business partnerships from France and across the world and share the country’s many opportunities for investment” the announcement reads on Twitter.

“For three seasons, the  Paris Saint-Germain Football Club   community and the world will have a unique opportunity to experience Rwanda’s breath-taking beauty, creative culture, innovative environment, and modern and distinctive” it adds.

Rwanda’s partnership with Arsenal brought controversy, with Netherlands members of Parliament asking their government to stop aiding Rwanda, emphasizing that they can’t accept that people’s money be used to advertise with a football club.

Money Rwanda pays Arsenal has not been disclosed, however  in June this year, Rwanda Development Board told journalists that so far Rwanda has benefitted  more than USD 38 million from that partnership.

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ARIPO hosts sub-regional IP conference on geographical indicators in Zimbabwe
December 4, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

A two-day subregional IP conference on geographical indicators has opened today at the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) headquarters in Harare, Zimbabwe.

 The Sub-Regional IP Conference on Geographical Indication is jointly organized by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) to coincide with the Master’s in Intellectual Property (MIP), which takes place at the ARIPO Headquarters in December each year.  Since 2014, the objective of these IP conferences has been to provide a platform for MIP students and participants from ARIPO Member States to be exposed to emerging issues in Intellectual Property and existing opportunities in the strategic use of the IP system.  The 2019 IP Conference will take place under the theme “Geographical Indications in Africa: Territorial Development, Economic Integration and International Trade”

Geographical Indications (GIs) are used to identify products as originating in the territory of a country, region or locality where a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of the products is essentially attributable to that geographical origin.  Similar to trade names and trademarks, GIs are designed to enable consumers to distinguish between products, but more importantly, they enable producers to protect the reputation of those products developed around specific characteristics and often over many years and thanks to great effort.  In addition, GIs are considered as a mean to strengthen the potential of products’ places of origin to attract investors, consumers and tourists as well as to guarantee them local quality products and services specifically linked to local resources.

  It is reported that the Member States of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) are replete with traditional agricultural and craft products whose quality and origin can be usefully promoted through GIs and other collective quality schemes, thereby contributing to the development of local and rural communities.  In a bid to support such efforts, in 2017, the African Union adopted the Continental Strategy for the Development of Geographical Indications in Africa.  ARIPO is a key actor of its implementation.

The sub-Regional IP Conference is meant to be part of that continental and regional process.  It is intended to be an important step to raise the awareness of policymakers responsible for GIs and students of the need to be empowered with national, regional and international instruments to protect and promote origin products, but also to consider the development and effective implementation of national and regional projects and policies on GIs.

The overall aim of the 2019 IP Conference is to provide a platform for the participants to understand the importance of the strategic use of GIs for socio-economic development and wealth creation in Africa, while deepening their understanding of the IP rights available to protect brands for origin products (geographical indications and trademarks) as well as the exceptions and limitations to that protection (in particular generic terms and prior trademarks).

The specific objectives of the sub-Regional IP Conference are to obtain updated information on current systems of protection of GIs in Africa at national, regional and continental levels, to learn about recent developments in the field of GIs at WIPO and at the international level, to discuss with international experts specific experience and issues related to the development and implementation of GIs with a focus on key factors for a successful GIs and their effects on local development; the role of producers’ associations and the establishment of control and certification schemes bring together institutional representatives from ARIPO and its member States who are responsible for GI protection in their countries or are interested in instituting such procedures, as well as students from ARIPO member States interesting in studying more about the development and implementation of GI schemes in Africa,to serve as a place to share and build knowledge on the issues, benefits and challenges related to the recognition, protection and promotion of GIs.

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Sierra Leone : Human rights lawyer urges disable friendly University
December 4, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma

Rashid Dumbuya

Renowned Human Rights Lawyer and Expert Rashid Dumbuya Esq. has urged the Universities in Sierra Leone to create a disabled friendly environment for Persons living With Disability in the country.

Lawyer Dumbuya , who is the Executive Director of Christian Legal Centre popularly known as LEGAL LINK made the above statement yesterday at the Africell-American Corner during the celebration of the International Day of Persons with Disability in Sierra Leone in collaboration with the National Disabled Women’s Forum.

“We are building  colleges , we do not think about disables . The same toilet that even poses challenge for able bodied persons is the same the disabled used which is even much more challenging  for them. We are building universities and we do not think about ramps; places where disables can just move their wheel chairs ,’’he said , adding that even the classrooms are not sensitive to  Persons with Disability.

He added that there is no brailing system, including recording and special needs for classrooms  in the universities across the country, except for  the University of Makeni which carters for the disables.

 “We are calling on the University of Sierra Leone, Milton Margai college, College of Medicine , Njala University , Eastern Polytechnic to emulate the University of Makeni that has created special needs for disables, Lawyer Rashid said.

Lawyer Rashid  went further to appeal to all universities across the country to ensure that Persons living with disabilities have equitable access in educational facilities.

“So today we are asking the question how accessible our  universities or tertiary institutions in Sierra Leone for disabled persons pursuing courses in those  colleges.  Only one University in Sierra Leone has a department  for special disable needs that is UNIMAK . So, I’m calling on all universities and tertiary institutions in this country to emulate UNIMAK . Have a special needs department that will make education accessible for persons with disabilities in the country . That’s the call of the UN ,’’ the Legal Link boss urged.

The LEGAL LINK  boss said the law is very clear that disables should be entitle to barrier free environment, adding that Sierra Leone is a signatory to the International Convention on the Rights of Person’s with Disability which put the country under obligation to honour it.

“That’s the reason why disables are not employed in the country because the buildings aren’t disabled friendly  how much more bringing you on board. The challenges are many. I will not be able to name them all here , we know of shelter,  transportation ,  and water . All these things are affecting you. It is not just enough to get the laws, we should implement them,” he said.

Nenneh Kargbo Interim Secretary General, National Disabled Women’s Forum (NADWOF), stated that disables are been challenged in all facets of the society.

“Come to think about government building ,  neither the new ones nor the old that are accessible for women with disability . If you go to the hospital , the hospital that are government owned which disabled should access free medical care, but they are discriminated,’’ she said, adding that it is a real challenged for them and even with banks and other public buildings.

She said the theme for this year’s celebration is ‘accessible’, but that to what extent they were having access to facilities across the country, ranging from transportation to schools among others, thus noting that even the 2011 Disability Act discriminates them as disabled women.

“How many of us have gone far in terms of access to education?  what have we acquired in terms of skills generally . so many of us are in the streets begging . Women with disability have soared in number  in the streets more than their counterparts . It is a challenge . How are prepared are we for the future,’’ she  said,

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Sierra Leone : Deputy Internal Affairs Minister says Threat on the healthy growth of the girl Child is a threat to national Security
December 4, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma

Sierra Leone’s Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs , Lahai Lawrence Leema

Sierra Leone’s Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs , Lahai Lawrence Leema has said that threat to the healthy growth of the girl child is a threat to national security adding that threat to the empowerment of the girl child is a threat to the national security and well-being of the state.

Lahai Lawrence Leema made this statement on Sunday whilst delivering a  statement as Guest of Honour at the Moonteen Raising Awareness and Campaign on Gender based  violence organised by Moonteen in collaboration with Strong women Strong Girls (SWSG) at the Senate Room , Faculty Building , Njala University , Southern Sierra Leone.

“Let me emphasize this, there are laws that are guiding the abuse of women whether sexually , physically, emotionally , psychologically and know that the laws will be executed strongly,’’ he said.

He said that when it comes to enforcing law , him together with his boss the Internal Affairs Minister they will not compromise with anybody who has committed sexual Gender based Violence adding that the laws are clear, and that they will be fully implemented.

“ Talking about Gender Based Violence,  for me I see violence from three ambits , it can be physical, verbal and psychological. Physical violence, by physically battering  a woman’ s body and physical  looks. For instance, by physically damaging the looks of a woman that is not giving her confidence or motivation to stand in front of people which eventually demoralises a woman and this disempower her,’’ Leema added.

The deputy Internal Affairs Minister added,  that verbal violence  is another abuse on women stating that verbal violence involves telling a woman certain words that are  not called for in public which by extension most times affects them emotionally which makes them not been confidence to stand in front of the public.

“ These are the very reasons why it is not good to use  these categories of violence against women because when you educate women , in a very healthy atmosphere and allow her to grow in that kind of environment they will have confidence to do things and confidence to promote the growth of society .And  When you empower women, you have empowered society,’’ Minister Leema lamented.

Founder and Director Moonteen , Mrs. Makalay Saidiatu Sonda in her statement said that last Month was the start of the 16 days of activism which starts from November 25th – December 10th  adding that as Sunday was December 1st Moonteen in collaboration with Strong Women Strong Girls Sierra Leone (SWSG) decided to raise awareness and Campaign on Gender Based violence by bringing girls from  different  schools , including parents and guardians, the university authorities at Njala university and its environs.

‘’The 16 days of activism is a United Nations date set aside that those days Nov 25th December 10th to serve as a platform where International Leaders , national leaders, civil society , women’s organisation to use it as platform to advocate for women’s’ right and to advocate for state and other communities nation -wide for them to make policies to fight things that are affecting women especially Gender based violence,’’ she said.

She said they at Moonteen as an organisation  they  decided to mark the 16 days of activism because their role is to push forward the issues of the girl child in the country adding that Gender Based Violence is affecting women especially the girl child and thus the need for the awareness raising and Campaign on SGBV to educate our community inhabitants.

“ The 16 days activism  is not enough . In fact, every day , violence against women and girl child happened in our communities . we should be voicing issues of SGBV’s every day . But again the 16 days of activism  is a good step  because these days you will see that organisations that where talking about SGBV’s will start talking about it , people , policy makers , leaders will start talking about it and see the need to talk about it through what civil society activists are saying,’’ Mrs. Sonda explained.

 Giving her Key note address SWSG member, Mariama Kendemeh said that SGBV affects women and the girl child adding that it affects their future and thus the needed for a continuous sensitization on this issue of SGBV’s to school pupils.

She said Rape which is also part of the violence against girls happens every day in their communities and societies and therefore advised the girls not to lured by men with small money thus asking them to report to their mothers when ever a man gives them money which they normally used to lure girls into their  trappings.’

Madam Kendemeh urged girls , parents and the guardians not to keep quite on any issues of SGBV’s and to report to the police stations whenever they are abused by men .

Director Institute of Food Technology and Consumer Studies Njala University Dr. Tamba Steven Sondai  , on his part said society cannot fight against SGBV until that society know the causes of it then that society or nation cannot fight it.

“There are so many causes but I’m going to deal with just two : When we talked about Gender based violence , culturally it is  enshrined in it , traditionally , religiously whatever way. One of the root causes of Gender based violence is poverty.  With poverty we cannot solve GBV in the country,’’he said.

He added that the society and communities should teach their kids on how they go about life , about SGBV and how they can avoid it thus the need for education which will help them reach their goals.

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Credit platform Migo raises $20 Million Series B
December 4, 2019 | 0 Comments

Valor Leads Round as Fintech Startup Expands to Brazil

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF. (December 3, 2019) — Migo (formerly Mines.io), a startup reinventing the way people access and use credit in emerging markets, has completed a Series B equity round of $20 million led by Valor Capital Group, a Brazil-focused venture capital firm. Existing investors, The Rise Fund (managed by TPG Growth) and Velocity Capital, also joined the funding round. This financing will support talent acquisition and Migo’s launch into the Brazilian market, as well as its continued growth in Nigeria.

Migo is a cloud-based platform that enables companies to offer credit to their customers, augmenting traditional bank and payment card infrastructure. Companies like banks, telecommunications operators and merchants integrate Migo in their apps and Migo underwrites customers to provide them with a digital account and credit line. The customers can use this credit line to make purchases from a merchant or withdraw cash without the need for point-of-sale hardware or plastic cards. Migo serves underbanked customers who are not typically covered by credit bureaus, having underwritten more than seven million of these customers to date. An estimated 90 million adults in Nigeria and 100 million adults in Brazil have no access to credit, and this is a massive area of untapped growth for emerging market banking ecosystems.

“Our mission is to drive commerce around the world by injecting liquidity into the last-mile retail sector,” explains Migo CEO, Ekechi Nwokah. “We believe the best way to achieve this goal is to build digital infrastructure to empower local enterprises that already serve millions of consumers and small businesses.” 

Migo offers a simple API so its partners can offer co-branded credit services in their own apps and websites, increasing customer engagement and serving customer segments they were not previously able to serve. Migo is particularly attractive for merchants and payment gateways since it can grow merchant revenue due to increased customer purchasing power and transaction completion rate.

As part of the financing, Antoine Colaco from Valor Capital has joined the Migo Board of Directors. “Migo combines world-class technology with a deep understanding of the needs of consumers and small businesses in emerging markets. We are excited to partner with them in Brazil and beyond,” Colaco said.

Migo enables some of the largest retail enterprises in Africa—from mobile operators like 9mobile and MTN to payment companies Interswitch and Flutterwave to banks like Bank of Industry and Fidelity Bank.  Migo is now expanding to Brazil and partnering with some of the largest retail enterprises in Latin America. “The typical Silicon Valley approach of move-fast-and-break-things doesn’t work well in emerging markets. To create durable solutions, it is important to combine the audacity of cutting-edge technology with humility to the nuances of local markets” says VP of Growth, Adia Sowho.

Migo started out as a research project on high-performance artificial intelligence led by Migo Chief Scientist, Kunle Olukotun, a professor of computer engineering at Stanford University. This project came to life after a chance meeting between Olukotun and Nwokah, a computer scientist working on big data projects at Amazon Web Services. Following their meeting, the pair teamed up to direct the technology toward solving credit in emerging markets. This big data approach is one of the company’s key advantages, as it aggregates massive amounts of data across all of its partners to improve population coverage and credit decisions over time.

About Migo

Migo is a cloud-based platform that enables companies to offer credit to their customers, augmenting traditional bank and payment card infrastructure. Companies like banks, telecommunications operators and merchants integrate Migo in their apps and Migo underwrites customers to provide them with a digital account and credit line. The customers can use this credit line to make purchases from a merchant or withdraw cash without the need for point-of-sale hardware or plastic cards. Migo is headquartered in San Francisco, California.


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SuperEagles Defender, William Ekong Leads Charge Against Neglected Tropical Diseases That Affect Over 120 Million Nigerians
December 4, 2019 | 0 Comments

.the Super Eagles defender is campaigning in partnership with the END Fund and Common Goal

LAGOS, Nigeria, December, 3rd, 2019 -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Nigeria national team defender William Ekong has started a campaign to draw attention to neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) that affect more than 120 million Nigerians. In partnership with the END Fund and Common Goal, William appears in a public service announcement where he calls on affected Nigerians to seek free treatment.
Neglected tropical diseases are a group of parasitic and bacterial infectious diseases that affect more than 1.7 billion of the world’s most impoverished people, including 1 billion children. They include intestinal worms, schistosomiasis (bilharzia), river blindness, trachoma, and lymphatic filariasis.

Translated in pidgin, the public service announcement sheds light on how NTDs affect all aspects of life. Thus, calling upon Nigerians to take advantage of the ongoing mass administration of medication (MAM) efforts being led by community health workers all throughout the country.

Please visit your local health center for more information on how to get treatment in your local government area in Nigeria.

*AMA

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Cameroon: STEM Prize Finalists trained on Project writing, Project Management Skills
December 4, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Agathe Djomeghu Director of Programs at D&L
Agathe Djomeghu Director of Programs at D&L

(Yaounde, Cameroon) Finalists for the 2019 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Prize have in a two-day workshop trained on project writing by the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation. The aim is to educate the participants on how to get their project implemented which will attract funding.

Vera Kum, Economist and Research Fellow at the Nkafu Policy Institute, and one of the trainers edified participants on writing a research proposal, project visibility, communicating a project, marketing a project, and the importance of networking. 

To her, the finalists of the STEM Prize were trained so that when the funds are made available to them they can be able to make use of it, “to come up with more powerful proposals than what they submitted us. It will make their projects more visible, and attractive to many donors.

She added that. “Like the project on plastic bottles, it requires about FCFA 6.7 million, but the foundation is not giving them up to that, so the training on project visibility will help to boost them, so they can apply for many more funding, and be able to better implement that project.”

With respect to the evaluation of the projects submitted, Vera Kum said that, “One thing the evaluators do is to look at the content and the impact that project has for the community and beyond. There were about five evaluators who were charged with the evaluation of each project anonymously.”

During the training, the finalists were drilled on how to become an entrepreneur, and giving tips for survival in an entrepreneurial world. They were equally taught on how to translate their education into opportunities with a visit to the Technical Department of the national media, CRTV.

At the end, participants were awarded certificates for participating in 2019 edition of the STEM competition.

To Loni Tande Miriam, “The training on project writing which was giving to us was very helpful because I learned a lot of things which I did not even know. Like when writing a project you have to include your future goals, and with respect to being a finalist I need to go back am improved with the money we won during the competition.” “My team, and I are surely going to invest it in a business so, it can generate more income to realize our project.”

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Nkafu Policy Institute trains Peace Advocates on Peaceful Resolution of Conflicts in Cameroon
December 4, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Mbeng Primus - Individuals should advocate peace
Mbeng Primus – Individuals should advocate peace

(Buea, Cameroon) Since 2016, with the emergence of the current armed conflicts in the South West and North West Regions, the image of the country as an avenue of peace, among many troubled countries and Cameroonians as “tolerant and peace-loving people” has changed for the worst.

In joining voices and to move the talk for the need for a peaceful resolution to the current violent conflicts in two English-speaking regions of the country, and across the national territory, the Nkafu Policy Institute of the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation has December 3, 2019, at Hotel Mermoz in Buea, South West Region of Cameroon trained peace advocates on the peaceful resolution of conflicts in the country.

The training is inline with a recently instituted project titled “promoting lasting peace in Cameroon.” Within this project, the Nkafu policy institute is hosting two leadership and capacity-building workshop for peace advocates.

To Emile Sundjo, Lecturer at the Department of International Relations and conflict resolution at the University of Buea noted that peace means embracing people  for who they are and not trying to change them. “Peace is not the absence of war, but it means social cohesion,” He said.

“The peace advocates should become a positive change to their communities. We should welcome diversity, differences and accept people’s differences, and if we do that the conflicts in our country will be reduced. We can reduce conflicts with tolerance, but we cannot completely eradicate it.” “…We should learn to share resources in the country. We need to be tolerant and share resources in the country.”

Mbeng Primus, Lecturer at the Department of International Relations and Conflict Resolution, Founder of Young Initiative for Peace Building, and Conflict Resolution speaking on practical conflict prevention, management, resolution, transformation and settlement indicated that the government cannot solve the present problem in the Anglophone region without first identifying the root causes of the problem. “The government must recognize there are two cultures in Cameroon (Anglophones, and Francophones)” He said.

To him, reconciliation cannot be mentioned without a ceasefire, and normalization. The last stage of every conflict is reconciliation. However, the government has skipped all the stages and just landed on the last stage which involves reconciliation.

He added that the denial factor exists at the moment that is why the present crisis is yet to be resolved. “You must face the problems to resolve the present crisis,” he noted. “Conflicts doesn’t come from the blues. There are early warnings which are involved. The government has failed to recognize the problem that’s why we are where we are.”

“Peace makes us to accept diversity. We must embrace diversity and tolerance,” He noted. “Once we start saying one culture is bigger than the other, we start getting to diversity issues. Hate speech should equally not be part our peace advocates’work.”

Participants pose at the end of the peace seminar

Speaking to PAV, Mbeng Primus  indicated that conflict prevention is the best way for sustainable peace. “If we want to sustain peace in our country, we must first prevent conflict. There is no need resolving a crisis when you can prevent it — that is stopping the conflict from occurring is better than providing solution to the conflict.”

“The advocates must go back to the communities and be the changes that they want the country to be. We are leaving in a very difficult moment, and it is only a peace advocate that can savor this situation that we are.”

“We have as a responsibility to go back to our various communities, and try to seek for means to preach the most desired peace that we expect in this country,” Tarhyang Tabe, participant and Publisher of The Advocate Newspaper noted while adding that we have to see where we have not been able to effect change and see how we can be able to do the new things we have learned. “Now it is a matter of approach. Our approach may be different, but the result is the same — the solving of the crisis in Cameroon.”

During the training, two major modules were x-rayed which included the theoretical and conceptual underpinnings of peace, conflicts, and violence/war, and practical conflict prevention, management, resolution and transformation.

The training brought together individuals from diverse backgrounds, civil society organizations, peace and development experts interested in contributing to peaceful and sustainable solutions to the current destructive conflict in the Anglophone Regions, and Cameroon at large.

According to a communiqué, the foundation believes that this diverse groups of advocates (some 50) will be able to bridge Cameroon’s tribal, cultural, political, and linguistic divides and promote peace in their communities.

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Cameroon: Faculty of Mines and Oil Industries, Maroua Wins 2019 STEM Prize Competition
December 4, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Winners of STEM Prize 2019
Winners of STEM Prize 2019

(Yaounde, Cameroon) The 2019 edition of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) competition organized by the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation has been won by the Faculty of Mines and Oil Industries, Maroua.

Kapche Christian, Mekoulou Ondigui, Andela Jessica and Dissake Olivier with a project on Production of diesel fuel paraffinic from neem oil was crowned winners during the award ceremony November 30, 2019, at the Muna Foundation in Yaounde.

“We are so happy that we won the STEM prize as all our efforts have been rewarded. We had a fix objective to transform our economy, especially that of the extreme North. Cameroonians should not give up — when you have projects just continue to work on it,” Mekoulou Odigui Daniel explained.

They equally went home with a cash prize of FCFA 1. 5M, with the second place going home with FCFA 1M, and the third with FCFA 75, 000. FCFA 500, 000 each was awarded to the fourth and fifth positions.

Second position was won by L’institut Universitaire de Technologie Fotso Victor (IUT-FV), third position occupied by Institut des Sciences Économiques et des Technique Appliquées (ISET), University of Buea came in the fourth place while the University of Yaounde 1 came in the fifth place.

To Odette Kibu, Health Policy Analyst, and Coordinator of the STEM Prize, “What we expected from the team is that they should implement their projects that they proposed to the foundation. We are expecting them to use the funds giving them to implement their projects, so they can see how to positively impact their communities,” She said while adding that, “Every three months, we will be following them up to see how far they have implemented the project because we don’t want to give money, and not to follow them up.”

To her, the foundation received 63, applications this year as compared to 48 last year. “In addition, 93 girls entered the competition compared to 82 last year. Applications were received from eight regions of the country, but we are hoping that next year’s edition will feature applications from all the ten regions of the country.”

“We have already working on the project we presented (HAS 2.0). We were just looking for how we can get funds for the project to continue but giving the outcome, we are going to look for funds elsewhere as we were trained on how to attract funds for our projects,” noted Durell Dogmo, team member UB.

Various teams equally did a brief demonstration of their projects to the watching of those in attendance. Some projects include, the Home Automation Systems (HAS) proposed by those from University of Buea, LANDPAD – a tablet with a set of applications to digitalize agricultural plantations and optimize production from students at the University of Yaounde 1, Plastic waste bottles turned building blocks to construct eco-friendly residential houses by 2020 in Foumbot, by students from Institut des Sciences Économiques et des Technique Appliquées (ISET).

Fosi Jasmine from Institut des Sciences Économiques et des Technique Appliquées (ISET), was giving an individual award for being the youngest participant at this year’s event at 13-years-old, while Wadjom Eunice was equally honored for being the most dynamic person during the training. 

Previous Winners

Students from Quality international who had a project on “Hemo Android mobile application” won first position for the 2018 STEM competition, and equally went home with a cash prize of FCFA 1.5 million.

Students from Government Bilingual Grammar School Kumbo won the second prize with a project title, “Fighting Deforestation by substituting wood with mini biogas plants in restaurants by 2019 in Kumbo, North West Region of Cameroon.” The students went home with 1 million FCFA to help them in achieving their project.

ICT University came in third position winning FCFA 7, 50,000. They had a project called “Mediquick: Mobile application to ease access to healthcare information.”

Extreme North bags first prize at 2019 STEM
Extreme North bags first prize at 2019 STEM

The STEM Prize Competition was established to encourage young Cameroonians, especially girls and young women to pursue careers in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. From many applications received in this year’s edition, five (5) teams of  motivated young men and women  aged between 13 to 21 have been selected as Finalists.  These young Cameroonians are working on innovative projects to improve the living conditions in their communities and the entire country.

“Our goal here is simple: Unleash the potential of our people to be able to tackle many challenges to economic prosperity by creating wealth for themselves and the community. History has taught us that this can only be done through science, technology and innovation.” Dr. Denis Foretia, CO-CHAIR, Foretia Foundation

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