My work in Potsdam

Being one of COMINSUD’s volunteers since October 2016, I am currently serving a volunteer year in Potsdam, Germany under the Weltwärts programme through Bread for the World, a German based organization.

Della in her office in Potsdam

Della in her office in Potsdam

I live and work in Potsdam which is about 27 kilometres from Berlin, Germany’s capital city. I work with ‘Stiftung für Engagement und Bildung’ which is a non profit making organisation founded in 2009. Over the years they have carried out projects involving African partners.

I started my work with this organization on the 4th of September 2017 which will last until August 2018.

Interestingly enough, I am assisting the project staff in one of the ongoing projects ‘Fair Smartphones’ which is aimed at implementing 10 workshops mainly with pupils between 14-15 years old on the topic ‘Living with Smartphones’.

In these workshops, the production, final sale and disposal of smartphones along side related environmental consequences are talked about. The aim is to discuss approaches to how their own actions as young people can help improve the situations on a regional and global scale.

There are other ongoing projects covering other topics like the refugee crisis with the target group of mostly young people aged between 12 & 25 years old. Every staff is encouraged to work on new project ideas which are developed into project proposals used to seek funding for execution as previously done with older and ongoing projects.

The language barrier and some differences in the working style are some of the challenges I am coping with. Also in the upcoming months as my German gets better, I will be involved in more project outdoor activities which I will love to share with you as they unfold.

With 9-10 more months to go, I am positive and looking forward to more challenging and exciting experiences together with my colleagues here at ‘Stiftung für Engagement und Bildung’. This is a one in a lifetime experience.

Written by Bii-Mai Della Kuma (26 years old)

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All animals are equal, but …

… some are more equal than the others.” 15 Children listen anxiously to Akumbu Jones, an artist from “La Liberté Arts Group” Bamenda. He is telling them part of the “Animal Farm” story from George Orwell.

“Weak or strong, clever or simple, we are all brothers.”

Mr Akumbu is the leader of our latest initiative “Theater for Children”.

Cameroon provides very little opportunities for children to be creative, use their imagination and be allowed to try things and make errors without the fear to be punished. Most schools including nursery schools provide only a very formal learning program, mostly focusing on reading, writing, repeating. All this goes along with high competition/ranking systems inside the classes, strict hierarchy, humiliation, exams after every year and still – although officially banned – corporal punishment.

Many Children have difficulties to express themselves, their opinions/feelings or to discuss their points of view. But all this are skills that the next generation needs to work towards change in the society, towards good governance and democracy. With our initiative we want to contribute to build up these skills. And for sure, the children should have a lot of fun in a relaxed atmosphere!

Enough fun for everybody!

Parents appreciate the program very much. “My daughter was so happy after the theater; she was singing new songs and dancing the whole evening.” – one mother stated.

Another parent said: “My son explained to me the new game ‘Mami Njanga’, I was surprised how exited he was about this little thing.”

Stay with us – we will keep you informed about the next exiting news from the theater group.

written by Maja Mueller

COMINSUD welcomes her staff after one year fellowship program.

On Friday 23rd of September 2016, current Staff and Volunteers of COMINSUD organised a social event to welcome home her staff-Ngobesing Neh,who spent the last year from July 2015 to August 2016 as a volunteer under the weltwärts fellowship program organised by the Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). During this year,she was based at the head office of Brot-fur-die-Welt protestant development service located in Berlin-Germany.

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Prior to the social event The Coordinator on Behalf of the staff expressed delight and satisfaction to welcome Linda Back to the organisation.He used the opportunity to encourage interns and volunteers to make the most of the platform which COMINSUD as a human development center offers to young people to explore their full potential.

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In her own words,Linda expressed delight to be back and thankfulness for opportunities which she has had to improve her potential.

“I feel delighted to be back to an amazing team,who wouldn’t be?.Of course it was interesting to be away for one year experiencing another culture and society but also it feels good coming back to a results oriented, focused team of young professionals who are passionate about their work and do it well. Working at brot-fur-die-welt protestant development service equipped me with incredible knowledge and tools and exposed me to the next level of development service.I hope to continue to share,learn,grow and above all to serve the communities with even more passion.

 

Please introduce yourself!

COMINSUD exists in Cameroon since 20 years now. During this time a lot of people have worked for us and we have received many many applications from graduates and experienced persons applying for a job or an internship.
Unfortunately most often the applications do not give a good answer to the main question of the potential employer:

Why shall we hire you, what makes you unique and how can you be a great asset for us?

If a candidate is invited to an interview, most often s/he is not prepared with convincing answers to simple questions e.g. Why do you want to work for us? or Where do you want to be in your career in five years? None of the applicants had a strategically prepared introduction of him/herself.

Therefore we decided to offer a workshop on how to do the written application and how to prepare for a job interview.

On the first day, motivation letter and CV writing was the focus. Documents from the participants were analysed and improved on. But to know that one can also influence (or even pre-write) a recommendation letter given by a former employer was new to the participants.

The second day covered the preparation of the interview. With practical examples and a role play participants were made aware of Dos and Don’ts in the interview. Also questions from the employer were analyzed, because if one wants to give a convincing answer s/he must understand the “worry” behind each question.

Before the workshop 65 % of the participants stated that they have only few skills on how to write an application, while after the WS 94 % believed that they have most / all of the skills.
Before the training on job interviews, 90 % of the participants said, that they have only few skills on how to prepare for and go through an interview. After the training all the participant believed that they have most / all of the skills.

This is a promising result, and we hope to repeat this or similar workshops soon. If you or your group are/is interested in a training, please contact us through email: cominsud_ngo at yahoo.com

Stay with us to be informed.

COMINSUD at the Employment and Career Discovery Week

The National Employment Fund invited young workers, graduates and volunteers to the Employment and Career Discovery Week from 8th to 10th of February 2016. Enterprises and Job opportunities were presented, representatives from enterprises and organizations talked about the changing requirements on applicants and desired skills and qualifications.

COMINSUD was invited to introduce its application procedure and present a general overview about good quality application documents. We also used the opportunity to talk about our own experience with job seekers and the failures and traps that can happen during the application process.

The young people had many questions after our presentation:

“What answer can I give if I am asked to explain the reason for leaving the previous job?” or “What shall I do, if the work description does not fit the work I am actually doing?”

Some answers were given by other participants  and Mr. Fon Nsoh (COMINSUD) could also enlighten people about the perspective and needs of an employer.

Fon Nsoh: "In your cv - be very clear and honest: use only words that have the same meaning for the writer and the reader."

Fon Nsoh: “In your cv – be very clear and honest: use only words that have the same meaning for the writer and the reader.”

Youth day discussion panel

“Youth citizenship and the fight against insecurity for the Advent of an Emerging Cameroon” is the theme for the celebration of the 50thedition of the National Youth Day (11th of February) in Cameroon.

In view of this years celebration, COMINSUD commemorated this day through a panel discussion with youths. 32 youths (students from higher institutions, university graduates, employees and job seekers) identified the forms of insecurity which they face with job, social, health, political, economic, and environmental insecurities.

Brian Shuazieh (COMINSUD) empowers youth with his experience as a youth

Brian Shuazieh (COMINSUD) empowers youth with his experience as a youth

Brainstorming group proposing some measures to curb insecurity

Brainstorming group proposing some measures to curb insecurity

The participants exchanged ideas on how to fight the various forms of insecurity to first attain self sustainability and promote the emergence of the nation. With a strong determination for a change, these youths took pledges to create impact in their communities by taking actions and not talking only. They made pledges of being good future leaders by going entrepreneurial to create more jobs, attain self sustainability and enable the country to emerge.

Group picture at the end of the day

Group picture at the end of the day

Youth and Enterprise Development Workshop

In view of rising youth unemployment and the increasing lack of labour demand, promoting youth entrepreneurship can be a valuable additional strategy to create jobs and improve livelihoods and economic independence of young people.

Therefor COMINSUD organized a 2-days workshop (25./26.02.15) to:

  • Strengthen youths’ capacity in entrepreneurial initiatives
  • Encourage self-reliance through self-employment initiatives
  • Enable youths to gain knowledge on support programs for enterprise development offered by some key government services

After the information from the various delegations the participants presented their own business ideas. All of them were quite interesting and inspiring e.g.

  • creating a multipurpose girls empowerment center
  • opening a fast food business serving natural juice, tea, coffee and less fatty sandwiches
  • selling locally made slippers and employ at least 2 more youths
  • provide authentic and scientifically effective standardized herbal products

We look forward to start future activities with these ambitious people!

15-02-25

We thank our financial supporters of the workshop: Ntarinkon Cooperative Credit Union Limited (NTACCUL), Bamenda I council.

We thank also for the technical assistance the Regional Delegations of Youth affairs and civic education NWR,  Youth employment and vocational training NWR, Small and medium enterprises, social economy and handicrafts NWR as well as the National Employment Fund (NEF) and the  Regional Delegation of trade NWR.