Tenacious, Ambitious, and Committed
I was inspired-and am still inspired-about the potential for local young people to contribute to a global initiative like the IUCN. When I found out about the CEC I immediately saw it as an enabling environment that would allow me to add my voice to the engagement of young people in biodiversity conservation work, and achieve new goals through effective communication and education.
Communication of, and education about, environmental issues is key to ensuring that conservation programs are effective and include a high level of citizen participation. In order to better communicate issues surrounding conservation, the CEC can increase the impact of its initiatives if it develops approaches and methodologies that engage young people from a early age so that, once empowered and skilled, they can raise awareness inside their families. Children are very open to opportunities to discover and learn. As soon as the CEC develops spaces and programs for young people to learn about conservation and engage in conservation issues, their communications will empower a generation of citizens. Additionally, new audiences will become more aware of the importance of conservation through their children. Let’s give children an important role — we will be positively surprised by the results!
I’m a young professional and environmental activist from Cameroon. I was trained as a Youth and Action Instructor by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Civic Education of Cameroon. In 2006, I started volunteering for several youth groups in Cameroon and later discovered that I really needed to engage in development issues; my focus was on issues relating to sustainable development and related fields, such as conservation and climate change. In 2008, I co-founded a youth-led NGO in Cameroon called Vital Actions for Sustainable Development (AVD); one year later, I entered the World Bank essay competition on climate change and became one of the global winners. The idea I submitted to the competition centred around the potential for public transportation (taxis, motor-bikes, buses, trains, airplanes, etc.) to raise awareness about climate change and educate people to become active eco-citizens. The fact that the World Bank competition jury appreciated the idea lead me to believe in my ability to develop strong ideas and contribute to sustainable development in my country — and even beyond. That is how I started my journey as an environmental educator. Two years after I was elected to a leadership role in a coalition of youth NGOs at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). In this role, my mandate is to effectively engage young people and their organizations in climate change policy at the United Nations level.
I consider myself a development professional. I hold over five years of relevant work experience on education, global youth work, sustainable development, climate change, intercultural and inter-religious dialogue, social and community development, peace-building, and human rights, as well as youth empowerment and development. I have been working directly with governments, communities, young people, women and citizens to design, implement, monitor and evaluate projects and programs on the above areas in Cameroon, Africa and other regions of the world.
At the moment I am primarily working as the Coordinator of Vital Actions for Sustainable Development (AVD), which is a youth-led NGO I co-founded in 2008 in Cameroon. With this NGO, my colleagues and I develop and implement projects and programs that educate children, young people and other citizens on environmental issues, climate change and sustainable development. For example, one of our recent initiatives, ’Young People and Clean Energy, is a nation-wide project aimed at educating young people and other citizens about sustainable energy. It incorporates creative arts in order to raise awareness about the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All, celebrated in 2012 under the auspices of the United Nations.
I am also the Coordinator of the Commonwealth Youth Climate Change Network. In this position, I work with the Youth Affairs Division of the Commonwealth Secretariat to bring youth participation in climate change issues into the mainstream across the Commonwealth. Through this role, I am involved in the recently launched global campaign called #Yes2YouthGoal. This is an online project that advocates for a stand-alone goal on youth empowerment and development as a part of the Post-2015 Development Agenda goals that are currently being designed by the UN. I also serve as Head of Youth Programs of the International Association for the Advancement of Innovative Approaches to Global Challenges (IAAI), and am actively involved with the African Youth Initiative on Climate Change (AYICC) as it’s Network and Partnership Officer.
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