2013 Voices of our Future Applicants: WEEK 2 ASSIGNMENT.
2013 Voices of our Future Applicants: WEEK 2 ASSIGNMENT.
To begin my story, I was born in a polygamous home, mother being the first wife and bearing 10 siblings. While this machine still produced, my late father went into bigamy. Soon we all witnessed our family harmony being permanently threatened with all the intrigues. I was 17 years old when my mother died.
However, I was opportune to pursue my education up to university level. I have a very strong religious background too. My education and background, particularly, influenced my thinking. Soon my dream was to become a teacher or journalist in life. I wanted to inform, communicate, teach and impact on people’s personal behavior and attitude, for a better future.
In 1995, I started realizing my dreams, as I got admission into the National School of Administration and Magistracy (ENAM) Yaounde, where I successfully and brilliantly after 02 years, acquired a post-graduate diploma in Administration in Social Work.
While in ENAM, I met the man I so very much love. We are raising our daughter together. But it has always been a challenge, nurturing and surviving as a single parent.
From childhood, I have never enjoyed true love and affection. My dream has always been to empower myself and other women victims of violence, so greatly, as to be unstoppable.
I have received training both at the national and international levels. In 2001 and 2011, respectively, acquired certificates on: - ‘Data Collection and Analysis – Conceiving and Evaluating Local Projects’ offered by the organization, ‘Association Interdisciplinaire en Developpement, Environnement et Population’ (AIDEP), Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium; - ‘Vocational Development Programme for Women’, offered by the International Women and Family Foundation (IWFF) in partnership with the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, Seoul, South-Korea. More so, between 2004 – 2005, received training on ; ‘Sexuality Education for Children and Youths’ offered by the International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC) in partnership with a national NGO, ‘Association de Lutte contre les Violences faites aux Femmes’ (ALVF) Yaounde, Cameroon.
Like any competent leader, I am very aware of my strengths and shortcomings. In a nutshell, I can say that I have a strong moral compass, strong sense of humour, self-confidence and lead by example. My strongest weakness is that I hurt myself with ‘worries’.
Notwithstanding, my strengths have always given me recognition in the society. As such, besides my regular employment in the Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and the Family in Cameroon, I do a lot of voluntary work in local Councils, Civil Society Organisations and Religious communities, offering my expertise in conception, execution and evaluation of local projects, doing community work, counseling and participating in decision-making processes.
On the other hand, with the birth of the Internet, I started searching, and I’m getting even more involved with many groups, so as to keep myself informed about happenings in other places and equip myself for greater input. This gives me greater job satisfaction, knowing that I am contributing towards positive change.
Throughout my career, I have nursed this strong feeling that to reach optimum goal, I must work for an International Organisation. So far, I have had the opportunity to do 02 UN interviews, in 2009 by e-mail and 2011 by telephone, but was not retained. I say to myself, keep trying.
In this quest to achieve something more fulfilling, I discovered World Pulse. The journey has been a long one:
First, I am an external member of the organization, ‘Reseau Genre en Action’, since September 2011. I receive monthly electronic mails from this group and others such as, Funds for NGOs – Grants and Resources for Sustainability, the Association for Women in Development (AWID), from which I read articles and opportunities published by other organizations.
Second, since 2011, I exchange information with the organization, RUTGERS, on Violence against Women. The first time I ever read about World Pulse was on one of their training kits sent to me by post to help me better prepare the November 25th – December 10th 2011 campaign.
Third, my kid sister, Susanna Dione, employed in Elections Cameroon (ELECAM), forwarded a mail she received from ‘fundsforngos.org’ advertising the ‘Voices of our Future 2013 Applicants Group’. She motivated me to apply.
Yes, I see the power of Digital Media and Women’s Empowerment! Most interestingly, I see World Pulse certainly connects all these organizations I have just mentioned. World Pulse widens our small spaces. World Pulse, to me, blends women’s beautiful, creative courageous and innovative minds and voices to create a new world. That is my vision!
This medium, I believe, connects me to the world. As such, with the help of my new friends, I hope to realize my dreams. Following this training, I will be able to create an online community with other women leaders in my country and magnify our women’s own voices; open my own classroom and train to equip potential women leaders with the necessary tools to become true vocal agents of change.
For a start, I will package women’s stories in their own words, and forward to the World Pulse online community, for greater impact.
In our context, the experience has been that women have not always participated freely in decision-making processes right from the traditional settings. That is the game in a patriarchal setting like ours; and the man keeps sounding superior over the woman. Following my work experience, in some communities, the woman , in any forum, expresses her view point through a man; generally, she is there to make the crowd, do the singing and dancing, and hand clapping. Women’s representation in decision-making bodies is very small (I posted a paper on that already). Through World Pulse, we will train more women to fight for women’s cause.
My promise, henceforth, is to use Web 2.0 applications to break the silence and reduce the gap, through concrete actions. This sounds revolutionary, but if my women must enjoy their rights and duties in a world that is pain free, then we must come together, think, act and speak with one voice. This demands courage!
Sincerely, it is the first time I am putting out my personal story to the world. As I write, I feel even stronger hearing my conscience at work. I know I will discover more as I continue to explore.
Thank you, World Pulse team, for this big transformation. Today, I am a citizen journalist, a dream come true. I realize I am speaking louder. The journey, indeed, is long and rough – just hold my hand as I tread on.
Marah Mbine Ngole Epie.