By Abinaidah Chaseba
Most African youths are hunting for scholarships and a number of organizations have come on board with scholarship opportunities to help send vulnerable Africans to school. However, problems impeding Africa’s education are not limited to poverty or lack of funds.
Armed conflict has continued to victimize Africa’s education and cripple efforts towards improving its standards. The most prolonged conflict is the Anglophone Crisis in Cameroon which has led to the internal displacement of people among which are students, teachers, school staff and education sector administrators - a major security threat to schoolchildren.
Kader Njoya is a 24-year-old Cameroonian peace advocate who is working towards improving the living conditions of the affected Anglophone communities. He hopes to do this through initiatives aimed at ensuring access to quality education and offering vocational training for Internally Displaced People (IDPs).
Kader is founder and president of a youth organization called Center for Community Empowerment and Development (CCED). His organization is supporting the Cameroonian government’s efforts of establishing inclusive peace dialogue with all parties in the two affected Anglophone regions. Working in partnership with Youth Advocate for Peace and Community Empowerment Cameroon (YAPCEC), Kader hopes to bring hope and change to the people in the affected regions.
“We are working with a youth organization in South-West Cameroon called YAPCEC to spread the message of peace all over the country by training peace ambassadors at an international youth fair themed " Sustainable Development Goal: Challenge and Role of Youth Organisations in the Resolution of Social Crisis in Africa and in the World ",” Kader said.
He added that the organizations are organizing back to school programs for IDPs residing in the Western region of Cameroon and are planning a two month long vocational training program for IDPs in order to help them fight poverty and take care of themselves.
Kader said, “It breaks my heart to see the suffering of refugees and internally displaced persons in Cameroon. That is why my organization will embark on a project to distribute food and non-food items to IDPs in West Cameroon,” he said, “I strongly believe that there should be very strong cooperation between all the countries in the world, that is why one of the objectives of my organisation is to raise awareness on the efforts being made by the United Nations and its agencies.”
Kader grew up in a small village in West Cameroon with his brothers, under the care of a single mother. After high school, he went to Asia to further his education. Early this year (2019), Kader earned his first degree in Computer Science. He says while in Asia, he discovered ways to help his community back in Cameroon. Seeing the social crisis in Africa, particularly in Cameroon; the lack of education and the poor living conditions of people in villages and communities around him are what motivated and inspired him to come up with an organization for young leaders wishing to help their communities.
Kader recently organized a peace conference which took place on 21st September 2019, International Day of Peace (“Journee Internationale De La Paix” in French) . In attendance were religious and traditional leaders who were invited to talk about issues of peace and climate change. Also in attendance were participants from different high schools in Foumban City, Cameroon. Besides contributing to discussions, students were engaged in a competition draw on climate change and the best five were awarded.
When asked about the relationship between peace and climate change, Kader said that climate is manifesting by the increase in natural disasters, which are displacing people three times more than conflict.
“We cannot be at peace when the air we breathe is being polluted,” Kader commented.
Kader mentioned that the biggest challenge his organization is currently facing is funding for projects. However, in 10 years time, he wishes to see his organization bearing an international Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) status, with great impact on Cameroon and the entire African continent.
Not only does armed conflict destroy the hopes of children, but it also leads to the death and displacement of both students and teachers and the destruction of school infrastructure and property. Kader Njoya encourages youth to take action towards educating young people to be financially independent and to be civic advocates and humanitarians because there is a lot of room for development in Africa. He said he will continue training peace ambassadors in the country who will work as focal points in their communities.
“Every citizen of Cameroon should consider himself or herself as an agent of peace, spread the message of peace around him or her and create an environment where people can live peacefully,” he encouraged, “Start small and grow, invest yourself in volunteerism and you will contribute to the building of our nation and the world.”