Wednesday, May 20, the Iam15 Ambassadors would join millions of youth across the country to celebrates the 43rd edition of Cameroon's National Day. This ceremony usually brings and gathers millions of young people, children, youth-led organisations, individuals, students and youth leaders across the country including rural communities to commemorate the creation of unitary country in 1972.
In the lead up to May 20th, Women for a Change Cameroon visited two schools across the southwest region, to discuss with the campaign ‘Iam15’ ambassadors for the citizen action/2015 program on the post2015 development agenda. Over 45 students attended the events.
Key issued discussed were; the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the responsibilities of the government and young Cameroonians to attain them.
Asked about their message to the government, the students were clear: they want to remind government officials that the date to adopt the SDGs is fast approaching. Therefore, the need to act fast and ambitious.
Some of Iam15 Ambassadors however had specific inquiries, though no limited to: “Women must hold top / strategic positions in government offices in order to develop the country”, stated a student from Summerset Bilingual College, while her colleague insisted “to preserve the forest and fight climate change”. Ayamba Schnyder, from Mudeka’s Government Bilingual High School, asked for “a combat to bribery and corruption”.
Youths Speaking for Youth
The Students also addressed a message to their fellow young Cameroonians. “The youth should contribute to the action 2015 to better the future, by spreading the objectives to those who are not aware”, said one. Many emphasized the importance of education: “We need to study hard to become leaders of tomorrow”, summarized a student from Mudeka; “ young people have a major role to play in developing Cameroon. Let’s take responsibility for it.”
In addition, Wfac further asked the students what they would tell the minister of youth affairs in Cameroon if given the opportunity to speak with him. “I would tell him about difficulties that youths are facing, like poverty which arises from lack of education” said a student in one of the colleges, HIBMAT - Buea. Employment opportunities were a concern that several youths would stress. Enang Joseph Nathaniel, from Mudeka’s Action 2015 Club, suggested: “I would ask the minister to use the Internet to engage with young people across the country.”
Finally, students reflected on the role that young people could play to make Cameroon an emerging country by 2035. The diversity of ideas was matched only by their enthusiasm. “Fight poverty in all of its forms, combat climate change, fight gender inequalities and improve agricultural practices”, suggested one, while another added that “youths should carry out developmental projects in the communities.”
This piece an excerpt from Women for a Change, Cameroon (Wfac) Voice Africa's Future documentary series. Compiled by Michel -Roy, McGill Law Student volunteering at Wfac