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Getting an NGO Legalized in Cameroon: Sample Constitution and Executive List!

[You can have your LOGO here]                                                                                 [You can have your address here]

CONSTITUTION OF (NAME OF ORGANIZATION)

 THE PREAMBLE

(NAME OF ORGANIZATION)is an organization that has as its mission to empower women and girls in all spheres of their lives.

  1. We the People of (NAME OF ORGANIZATION)– Cameroon owe to this constitution our humble respect declaring that as members without any distinction of race, sex, colour, religion possess inalienable equal and secret rights.
  2. All members shall have equal rights and obligations.
  3. The Chairperson/Founder of the association shall ensure protection and preservation of all members’ rights and shall ensure the rights of every member to a fair judgment or hearing before any lawful act
  4. It shall however remain established that all activities of this association and the working shall be in accordance to the constitution and as such it shall remain the legislative and judicial arm of the organization.
  5. The privacy of the organization shall however remain inviolate. No interference shall be allowed except by virtue of decision emanating from the founder of the organization.
  6. We therefore call on all the members to pledge their loyalty and respect to this arm. This shall be the only document to control all the affairs of the association both internally and externally.

PART I

NAME, MOTTO, SLOGAN, OBJECTIVES, AND ACTIVITIES

Article 1: Name

The name of the organization shall be (NAME OF ORGANIZATION).

Article 2: Motto

(Put your motto here)

Article 3: Slogan

(Slogan here)

Article 4(a): Objectives    

     (Below are sample objectives – you can adapt yours to your needs)                                    

  • To promote a self-supporting, self-government and self-propagating organization that is committed to help mankind especially vulnerable, needy women and young girls.
  • To raise awareness on women’s rights
  • To encourage girl child education
  • To encourage skills training for women
  • Fight against poverty

Article 4(b): Activities

(NAME OF ORGANIZATION) shall launch and carry out its activities in accordance to its objectives in the following departments as a women and girls empowerment association.

          (Below are sample activities– you can adapt yours to your needs)

  1. Women’s rights advocacy
  2. Economic empowerment for women and girls
  3. Social empowerment for women and girls
  4. Communication and public relation
  5. Data base and information
  6. Web content development

PART II

GENERAL PROVISIONS AND MEMBERSHIP

Article 5: General provision and mission statement

(For example – adapt yours to your needs)

(NAME OF ORGANIZATION) an empowerment association that sets out to empower women and girls through social and economic empowerment programs.

We exist to guarantee financial independence for women as they look forward to what the future holds. If developed and properly tapped, every woman can exercise great potentials. The headquarters shall be in Bamenda and other branches shall be created when the need arise in Cameroon and beyond.

(NAME OF ORGANIZATION) is looking towards rescuing as many women and girls as possible from poverty into the halls of financial independence and fame.

 

Article 6: Membership

  1. Membership is open to Cameroonians and foreigners irrespective of race, colour, religion, nationality or language, who have the heart to promote women’s empowerment. All members should not be less than 18years of age
  2. Membership is gained upon a non-refundable registration fee
  3. Every member shall pay an annual subscription due by January of each year
  4. There shall be a quarterly, semester and annual general meetings to evaluate and deliberate and plan for the smooth and successful running of the organization
  5. Members shall be liable to attend meetings, presentations and or reports per the approved period by the General Assembly
  6. Meetings shall be chaired by the President/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) who is the head of the administrative unit, he can however delegate power to any other member of the Executive bench to perform his function
  7. The top executive board members shall meet once a month on every first Saturday of the month to deliberate and evaluate all the affairs of the organization
  8. Members of the executive board are members who share in the vision and objectives of the association and shall serve for a period of three years renewable thrice.

 

Article7(a): Loss of membership

  1. If any member willfully resign
  2. If anybody becomes mentally incapacitated
  3. If any member involve in tarnishing the image, dignity and interest of the organization
  4. Failing to pay the annual subscription of a new year
  5. If any member becomes inactive towards the development of the organization for up to one year
  6. If any member misappropriate the organization’s money
  7. If any member becomes absent in three (3) consecutive meetings of the general assembly. If any member violates the rules and regulations of the organization, or disregard the rules of the organization, involve in tarnishing the reputation, image and anti-organizational activities, or involve in anti-activities related to organizational constitution.

 

Article 7(b): Regaining membership

Membership can be regained through an apology, re-application, and payment of debts and signing of undertakings with the organization through the President/Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

 

PART III

ORGANIZATION AND FUNCTIONS OF TOP BRAND EXECUTIVE AND OTHERS

Article 8: Executive board members

 The following members shall consist of the top brand of the organization (Board members)

  1. Founder (Chief Executive Officer (CEO))
  2. Secretary General
  3. Treasurer
  4. Programs Officer
  5. Adviser

Article 8(a): Chief Executive Officer (CEO)/Founder

  1. The Chief Executive Officer (CEO)’s duties shall be directly aligned to those of the other board members. As the vision bearer, she shall have the authority to chair the elections of top executive board members.
  2. In her capacity, she shall ensure the safety and security of all the members of the organization, protecting and ensuring a fair judgment in all activities.
  3. She manages, coordinates and controls all the activities of the association for better realization of the objectives of the organization in all domains and at all times.
  4. As the general overseer, she shall ratify and negotiate internal and external (national and international) affairs on behalf of the organization.
  5. Ensure compliance with the constitution, rules and regulations of the organization, defend and protect members’ rights and ensure the smooth running of the organization.

Article 8(b): The Secretary General

  1. Under the authority of the office of the Secretary General elected by the general assembly, shall be responsible for the smooth running of the secretariat working in close collaboration with the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to meet the association’s objectives.
  2. Shall work closely with the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to take care of matters that cut across all the internal and external services and the liason offices.
  3. Under the authority of the Secretary General, shall be in charge of recording, processing, distribution, classification and monitoring of confidential mails or documents.
  4. Shall organize tasks and movement of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and represent the association in all domains and at all levels as deem by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
  5. Shall be responsible for the functioning, management and evaluation of all representations and shall define and codify the internal procedure under his control.

Article 8 (c): The Treasurer

  1. Elected by the general assembly with recommendations from the founder, the treasurer is responsible for the functioning and management of all finances of the organization.
  2. As the main signatory to the organizations’ account, shall record, sign and update all financial affairs and thus receive money from the organization and pay same to the account of the organization within 48 hours.
  3. As the head of the finance department, shall make demands of the organization’s expenses within 7days and present to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for endorsement.
  4. Shall during the half yearly, and end of year, report on the financial expenses of all activities, projects and shall summit financial report for audit control when need arise in the domain of income, expenditure, and shall present projects for financing and motivation.

Article 8(d): Programs Officer

  1. Under the authority of the Programs Officer, elected by the general assembly, shall oversee, monitor and evaluate all programs and projects of the association from conceptualization to implementation under the general supervision of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
  2. Shall take full part in the design and implementation of feasible projects of the association
  3. Shall co-sign all partnership or projects with the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) when need be
  4. Shall forward report of all activities within 2days and as soon as 3-5 days immediately after the implementation of each project to the board and or the Chairman.
  5. Shall be responsible for receiving any humanitarian materials and report to the office for onward transmission to the appropriate quarters as stipulated.

Article 8(e): Technical Adviser

  1. Under the authority of the Technical Adviser (s), shall provide all technical support and advise needed for smooth functioning of the programs and projects of the association
  2. Shall provide technical input to all programs from Identification, design to implementation so as to ensure better results.
  3. Any member voted out of post of responsibility out of good faith after its mandate, can be call upon by the Founder to join the Technical advisers.

Article (f): Advisers, Patrons and Matrons

All the good will ambassadors and supporters shall be known as patrons and matrons of the organization and as such, become advisers.

PART IV

DEEDS AND REQUIREMENTS, FINANCE AND BANK ACCOUNT

Article 9: Deeds and Requirements

  1. All members are expected to register with a non-refundable fee as agreed by the general assembly
  2. There shall be no educational qualification requirement to gain membership into the association and or any post of responsibility
  3. In any case, all aspiring members shall fully be approved upon payment of non registration fee decided by the executive of REWOCAM.

Article 10: Finances

  1. The financial strength of the association shall be backed by:
  2. Annual member dues
  3. Contributions from members
  4. It shall however remain that all the financial transactions of the association shall be for the interest of the vision per the objectives set forth in this document

Article 11: Bank Account

REWOCAM shall open a bank account in any bank of its choice and signatories to this account shall be:

  1. The President
  2. The Treasurer
  3. The Secretary General

PART V

MEETINGS, APPOINTMENTS AND DISSOLUTION OF POST OF RESPONSIBILITY

ARTICLE 12:    Annual General Meetings

  1. (NAME OF ORGANIZATION)– Cameroon shall hold an Annual General Meeting (AGM) at no more than 15 month intervals.
  2. Where possible members shall be notified personally, otherwise notice will be deemed served by advertising the meetings in at least five public places giving at least 14 days’ notice of the AGM.
  3. Meetings shall be chaired by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or any other representative appointed by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
  4. The business of the AGM shall include:
  5. Receiving a report from the (board) of the group’s activities over the year.
  6. Receiving a report and presentation of the last financial year’s accounts from the Treasurer on the finances of the organization.
  7. Accepting proposals for way-forward from members
  8. The quorum for Annual General Meeting shall be at least eight (8) persons of which no more than four (4) shall be Board/committee members.
  9. The written language shall be English while spoken shall be English, French, pidgin and mother tongue and or vernacular.

Article 13: Elections

  1. All members of the executive board shall be elected by the general assembly, considering commitment of the member to the objectives of the association.
  2. Only registered members are eligible to stand for elections for any posts of responsibilities
  3. At least 50% women shall be elected members of the board, at all times
  4. The term of office of an executive member is for a period of 3 years renewable thrice.

Article 13a: Electoral Qualification

  1. Elections eligibility is open to registered members of the association who have served in the association for at least 3years or more.
  2. Any member shall be entitled to have his name on electoral register, except in institutions where he or she is convicted by felony, an ex-convict, one subject to warrant of arrest, traces of insanity and when a member is not of sound mind.
  3. Elections shall be at the general assembly meeting held at the end of the year and shall be chaired by the Founder and invited guests from other related associations who will help in the electoral management.

Article 13b: Termination of Post of Responsibility

The duties of the executive members shall be terminated for at least one of the following reasons:

  1. Non-renewal of term of office
  2. Resignation or death
  3. Penalty imposed for felony (fixed term of imprisonment with banishment and civic disqualification
  4. Physical or mental incapacity duly established by the board and or the Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

PART VI

ARTICLE OF DISSOLUTION, AMENDMENTS AND FINAL PROVISION

Article 14: Article of dissolution

In case of dissolution, the organization shall through the top executives, deliberate and donate its items to an organization with similar objectives or charitable organization.

Article 15: Amendment

  1. Any motion to alter any article of this constitution shall be through writing, addressed to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and or the executive board for deliberations within a period of 52 clear days before the Annual General Assembly.
  2. No amendment shall be admissible except with the approval from the vision bearer

Article 16: Final Provisions

  1. All provisions to amend certain parts or the entirety of this constitution are hereby repealed and this law shall remain the legislative and judicial arm of the association and thus the people of (NAME OF ORGANIZATION)– Cameroon shall be liable to respect its norms with the approval of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
  2. This law shall be registered, published according to the procedure of urgency and shared to all executive members of the association.

 

Adopted on the _15/02/2016

  1. __________________
  2. __________________
  3. __________________
  4. __________________
  5. __________________
  6. __________________

(Make sure all members of on the Executive List sign on the spaces above. You also reserve the right to chose how many members to have on your Exec. List. Have in mind that your organization will be legalized as an association [first] and so don’t add up complicated positions on the Exec. List. President or CEO, Programs Officer, Secretary General, Treasurer are good for a start. You can add up positions after you must have gotten the legal papers).

 

EXECUTIVE LIST

For the Executive List, just draw up a table containing six (06) columns with the following headings, respectively:

  • Name (Full name of the person as it appears on his/her Identification document)
  • Position (This should be the position you want the person to occupy in the organization eg (President, Treasurer etc)
  • Occupation (This should be the persons real life occupation e.g. Journalist, Lawyer, student etc)
  • Address (It should be where the person lives, plus telephone number
  • ID card number
  • Signature

That is all you need for the Executive list.

Good luck, guys!!!

To go back and read the guidelines on how the get an NGO registered in Cameroon, follow this link: https://nakintinofuru.wordpress.com/2014/02/07/how-to-get-an-ngo-registered-in-cameroon/

 

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International Women’s Day 2015: Celebrated with a focus on prayer in Bamenda, Cameroon.

It was a few minutes past 1:pm on Thursday13th January 2015; a day set aside to plan for the International Women’s Day 2015. She walks into the room, gently, and fixed her self on her seat. The solemn look on her face could prove that something was eating her up. She broke the silence by greeting the Bamenda women gathered to plan for the International Women’s Day 2015. Still with that sad but yet friendly look on her face, she welcomed everybody present and without waste of time spilled out her first thought of how she wanted the IWD 2015 celebrated in Bamenda.

She was the Regional Delegate of Women’s Empowerment and the Family for the North West, Mme. Judy Ngweh Abong.

This were her opening words:

“Let’s celebrate the International Women’s Day 2015 in a more different way. Let’s celebrate it in prayer. Lets focus our prayers against Boko Haram, against the Ebola Virus, against GBV, against all the challenges that are befalling us in recent times. Let’s pray for our soldiers who are fighting face to face with Boko Haram in the Northern part of the country. Let’s pray for women folk in general, and for men too. Let’s pray for peace — peace in our homes, in our society, in Africa, and in the world. Let’s pray, fast, pray, and fast, without ceasing. Women of Bamenda, let’s pray from March 1st to March 31st like never before. That is how I want us to celebrate this year’s IWD.”

Her address was warmly welcomed as if every women who came to attend the meeting had the same thought. As the general planification was going on, the focal point of prayer was given special consideration. The women agreed on how to go about the prayer in their different christian denominations and moslem faith. Without waste of time, Friday the 6th of March was set aside as the day of public prayer manifestation, starting from the Bamenda Grand Stand to the office of the Governor of the North West Region.

One step at a time, the women marched, carrying placards inscribed with religious as well as peace messages. They carried national symbols and they prayed and chant religious songs as they climbed the steep long Bamenda Up Station hill heading to the Governor’s office. A hill no woman their ages would normally accept to do even with huge payments, some women revealed. They build alters, brought down the walls of Bamenda like that of Jericho, annointed Bamenda and Cameroon, and covered our soldiers with the mighty blood of Jesus. They prayed like never before. The climbed like never, ever.

DSCN5284DSCN5315

You wouldn’t believe it, that the women covered the above 3kms hilly distance without any signs of tiredness. Most of these women had never done such a long walk, talk-less of climbing such a steep hill. They made it sound and healthy, and the ambulance that followed slowly behind had no job to perform because there wasn’t any casualty at all. The finally met the Governor of the Region, whom in dark clothing and solemn looks, sympathized with the women who have come from a long walk to pray and honour the nation. He assured them that all will be well, especially with our soldiers who are facing armed battles with the deadly Boko Haram.

The Governor of the North West Region, Adolf Lele Lafrique, in dark brown suit, listening to the women of the North West Region

The Governor of the North West Region, Adolf Lele Lafrique, in dark brown suit, listening to the women of the North West Region

Drawing from the biblical allusion that women have done and experienced great things from the days of the bible, the women strongly believed that their prayers can move mountains and change things.

The women, Christians and Moslems, all prayed in shifts, in the presence of the Governor and his entourage

The women, Christians and Moslems, all prayed in shifts, in the presence of the Governor and his entourage

After about 1hr 30mins of intense prayers, the Governor addressed the women and assured them of Governments support and interventions to protect the women and the nation as a whole. He assured them that government is doing everything possible to combat the Boko Haram soldiers who have turned their attention towards Cameroon.

Events of the prayer walked ended well, with women retreating to their various homes through different means of transport.

It should be noted that the theme for this International Women’s Day was:

“Implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action in Cameroon: Assessment and Future Prospects”

The world was celebrating the 30th Edition of the International Women’s Day on the 8th of March 2015. The biggest, most influential, and fourth world conference on women held to discuss the plight of women was held in 1995 in Beijing. Participants came from 189 countries. A total of 17,000 participants, including 6000 government delegates, 4000 accredited NGOs, 4000 media representatives, and a host of other individuals.

The Beijing conference set strategic objectives and actions for the advancement of women and the achievement of gender equality in 12 critical areas of concern, which include:

It was the 12 critical points that the international community was assessing this year to build a brighter and stronger future.
To mark the celebration proper in Bamenda on the 8th of March, the background music was religion-centered and nothing more. And the women marched passed peacefully in their IWD fabric which is a tradition in Cameroon. The good thing is, no major casualties were registered in Bamenda on the 8th of March 2015.
That is the way I saw it on this year’s women’s day celebration!!!

Women’s Day 2015.

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14 year old girl is crying out for help; She has been forced into marriage!

“He beat me up, tore my protective trousers, and forcefully had sex with me, I was only 5 days in the marriage. I cried, and cried for neigbhours to come and help me as he continued to beat me hard in the middle of the night, but he told me Bamenda is a big town where everyone minds his or her business, he assured me that no one was going to come and rescue me. On the morning of the 6th day, after the beating of the night, I carried my little bag and ran back to Jakiri to meet my mother.” Halima, 14 year old child bride in Bamenda, Cameroon. [Halima is not her real names, I have changed it to avoid stigmatization of the little girl].

Halima, as I met her. I bought her a plate of beans pudding (Khoki). By her side is her traveling bag containing just a dress and a pant and sugarcane given her by a good samaritan

Halima, as I met her. I bought her a plate of beans pudding (Khoki). By her side is her traveling bag containing just a dress and a pant and sugarcane given her by a good samaritan

Sad to say as the world celebrates 16 days of activism against Gender Based Violence, some women and girls are experiencing the worse form of violence during this period. On Tuesday 2nd of December 2014, a little girl stepped in front of me, tired, pale, dirty, shaking, and tears gently running down her tender cheek. I looked at her closely and before I knew it, my left eye was leaking of some tears, without even asking what was wrong with her. I stepped closer to her, helped her to a chair by my side, I stooped in front of her, clean her eyes, and whispered to her face “Everything is going to be fine my daughter, calm down and tell me exactly what is not going on right in your life.”

As if I added salt in her wound, she burst out crying. OMG! I hugged her tightly and asked her to calm down. I assured her that all is going to be well in Jesus Name. She calmed down, bent her head to the floor as if she was counting her toes, and thank heavens she found courage to express herself.

“Mama, help me, I don’t want to get married, I want to go to school,” she began.
“What happened to you? Who wants you to get married? What is the matter?” I asked three questions out of confusion.

Halima said a few months back she started noticing that some men were coming into their house, in their village around Jakiri sub division, with gifts to her mother. Before she could digest what was happening, her mother told her that those were her in-laws coming to ask her hand in marriage for their son in Bamenda. She said she immediately told her mother that she doesn’t want to marry, that she wants to go to school and become a big woman. Her mother encouraged her

“My mother encouraged me and told me that I should go and test the marriage and if it doesn’t work I should come back home,” she explained.

Halima refused.

“I told my mother that I will run away,” she explained. “I don’t want to go to a marriage and run away and then people will start to say that I ran away from my marriage. I don’t want to go mother, don’t let me go.”

Halima said all her cries fell on deaf ears as marriage plans were concluded and she was bundled to her husbands house in the town of Bamenda by her mother and two other relatives on the 22nd of November 2014. She says when her family members left, her heart beat increased and it never normalized all day. For three days, her new husband, a barber, with whom she lives with in a single room house, fought to sleep with her but she overpowered her with her tender hands. On the the 4th day she beat her up so bad but he still didn’t succeed to have sex with her. On day five, she bought a tight trousers with the last 1000frs CFA she had so that she could be using it to sleep, but unfortunately for her, her so-called husband went more violent; beat her up so bad on the night of that very day 5, tore her protective trousers and had unprotected sex with the young girl.

Disappointed about how her virginity was taken in the most cruel way, Halima ran away, back to Jakiri to meet her mother. Disappointed about her daughter’s return, Halima’s mother brought her back to her husband on Monday 1st of December on grounds that she was going to arrange the problem between them. Poor Halima sat patiently for her mother to catch a cab back to Jakiri, and on that same Monday 1st she disappeared into the populated town of Bamenda and passed the night in an isolated building in town. That is how I met this little girl on Tuesday 2nd.

According to statistics from UNFPA, on average, more than 1 out of 3 girls get married before they turn 18 in Cameroon, but the prevalence rate vary widely across regions with the predominantly Moslem North Region registering 73% of girls marrying as children while the predominantly Christian Littoral Region registers 13%.

Halima lives in the North West Region of Cameroon where majority of the population are Christians, but she and her family are moslems. They hail from Bui Division, and Jakiri sub division. She is Banso by birth and blood and she speaks fluent Lamso.

She graduated from primary school in 2012 but could not enroll in secondary school because her mother didn’t have money to send her to school. She worked people’s farms to raise money to go to school by herself, and in 2013 she enrolled in Government Technical College Jakiri as a form 1 student. Because she constantly went to school, she couldn’t work more odd jobs to pay her school fees for the next academic year and as a result she dropped out. It is at this point that her mother arranged for her to learn a trade. She was barely a month in her trade learning when her marriage was arranged.

I called Halima’s mother and we met face to face, and she confirmed all what her daughter narrated. What she continued to say annoyed me even more.

“It is our tradition for women to marry young,” she said. “I also got married at 14 like my daughter.” [This quote was translated from Pidgin English to English language].

When I asked her whether she is not aware that in Cameroon the age of marriage is 18+ she said she has never heard of that. She even went further to say that she is embarrassed that her daughter is not ashamed to run away from her husband’s house. I couldn’t hold back to contact the Divisional Delegate of Women’s Empowerment and the Family for Mezam Division, who without waste of time intervened and took the case to the Police for registration and then contacted Human Rights activists to take up the case from there.

Before living the police, Halima’s husband was in Police Custody while her mother was undergoing some interrogation. Human rights activists on their part were waiting to take up the case from where the Police will stop.

Yesterday, Halima called me and I asked her to meet up with me. She was looking refreshed, clean and happier. She told me she went back to where they slept with her mother and her mother didn’t say anything evil to her about her actions, because we warned her and talked some sense into her. She said she wanted to plead with me that they should simply separate her from her husband and let them go their separate ways. She pleaded that her ex-husband and mother should not be interrogated anymore. She wishes that they be set free.

Ah, we chatted together, laughed together, and together we left my house and I put her back in a taxi to go join her mum in Bambili where they presently are waiting for the law to take its course, before they go back to their village in Jakiri. I will be meeting her again today and I am anticipating to meet her.

Halima has become like a child to me. If her mother agrees I will keep her in my house and send her to school. I want all girls to go to school like I did.

Good luck Halima!!!

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Where are the bio-degradable bags: Why is Cameroon different?

Life in the markets have returned to normal. A visitor to Cameroon wouldn’t have the slightest idea that plastic bags or non bio degradable plastics were banned in Cameroon about 3 months ago. Plastic bag vendors freely move around, selling plastic bags. Business people openly use them to package goods bought by their day-to-day clients. Nigerian plastic bags industries are doubling production and sales, while home production companies like OK Plast has been forced to close down. Right now, all the no-biodegradable plastic bags seem to be smuggled in from Nigeria, vendors say. It is sold at double the original prize before the ban.

When the ban was hot, I wrote this article which was published in the GPJ News Wire. You can read it here: http://www.globalpressjournal.com/africa/cameroon/cameroonian-vendors-fear-unemployment-following

This issue takes me back to my trip to Rwanda in 2013. One of the things that caught my attraction was when I saw people moving with some brown paper bag in their hands. I asked myself, “What is it that everybody is carrying in a brown paper bag in this city of Kigali?” After a few days spent in Kigali, I dashed to a nearby shop to purchase a few things, then I realized that the brown bag was actually a paper packaging. On asking questions to the shop owner, she told me that Rwanda had banned non-biodegradable plastics in 2008, and they are respecting the ban.

Seriously, what is wrong with Cameroon? Yesterday I went to the market to buy some stuff for my kitchen, and behold I came home with 17 mini no-biodegradable plastic bags in my market bag. Imagine how many of such plastics are taken home by buyers in a day, in a town, in the country. Numbers, when added up can really cause a scare. Think about the amount of refuse that it may cause in our towns and villages. Think about the health risks associated with putting hot stuff in non-biodegradable plastics…Oh yeah, in Cameroon we wrap hot corn-fufu in non-biodegradable plastics.

The issue is, many things are not taken seriously in our country.

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Unbelievable; Three mothers and their 6 daughters got married to one man in the name of Christianity.

My heart beat increased, my blood pressure rose, my legs trembled, my thoughts hovered as I walk closer to the new house of rescued women and children of the Revealed Christian Church of God at Guzang, Batibo Sub-division. From a distance, a friend with whom we made the journey pointed at the semi-finished mud brick house standing in an almost isolated location. The voices of children could be heard from a 20 meters distance, playfully from within the household. A few steps away from this house, I stopped for a few seconds and told my creator “God you are my shield, always. Protect my coming in and my going out in the mighty name of Jesus.”

Kong Kong Kong, I took the courage to knock at the door, and without waste of time, a black and beautiful mother came smiling back at us. She opened the door and let us in. Ah, it was second time I was getting close to Mami Julie. The last time I met her was when the incident happened in Bamenda. She couldn’t make me out, yes she couldn’t because she met more than a thousand people when they were brought out of their isolated habitat in Bamenda. Are you wondering what the incident is? The story is right here.

On March 22nd 2013, a young graduate of the University of Buea, member of the strange religious cult called Revealed Christian Church of God or Salem Church as it is called died in Bamenda. His mother who never approved of his son’s membership in the strange fellowship was alerted about the death of his son, but the members of the religious cult refused to surrender the remains of the boy to members of his biological family. This particular event marked the immediate cause of the discovery of the strange family.

Upon investigation, the attention of forces of law and order was alerted who immediately stormed the compound of where the corpse of the guy was and shockingly the apartment was hosting 5 men, 9 wives (4 pregnant), 32 children. Do not be fooled, they were all wives and children of one of the 5 men.

Most of them came to the house in 2001, they revealed.

Taah Richard, Nchumuluh Peter, Ndam James, Fongang victor, and one other name I did not get where the men of the house. The head of the cult called Taah Richard was the religious (cult) head. Taah Richard, being the head of the group was sleeping with all the nine women in the house and he fathered all the children. And the nine women were made up of mothers and daughters that they bore before coming into the church premises that doubled as their common residence.

Nchumuluh Peter had two daughters, Rebecca Bih Nchumuluh, and Cecilia Nchumuluh. He willingly gave these two daughters to Taah Richard as wives, the head of the cult. These two girls gave birth to 7 children for Taah Richard.

Ndam James came into the house with his wife, Ndam Julie, and their three daughers, Ndam Ruth, Blessing Angum Ndam, Mercy Angek Ndam. Ndam James willingly gave his wife and three daughters to Taah Richard, who fathered 12 children with the girls. Mami Julie did not put to birth, probably because she had reached menopause.

Fongang Victor brought in his wife, Florence Fongang and their daughter, fongang virginie and son Dong Markalvo Fongang. He willingly surrendered his wife and daughter to Taah Richard. Taah Richard fathered 10 children with Florence and her daughter Virginie.

Atud Esther is a young niece of Taah Richard whom he brought into the house himself. Esther bore 4 children for Mr. Taah Richard, her uncle.

Can you believe it? You’ve got to believe this, this is first hand information I gathered from Guzang.

All the members of the church, except the men, have never seen the outside world ever since they got into the house. They live in the confines of the gated compound while the men go out and do the required shopping. The men drove in luxurious cars while the women sit indoors to take care of the numerous children.

The children are delivered within the compound by the older women. The children and their mothers were all home-schooled by the men and the mothers. They fellowship in the compound. In fact, all services were provided to the members of the household by the members themselves.

According to their believe, they considered the outside world a sinful world full of sinful people. They believed any contact with people with the outside world would contaminate them and they may not achieve their mission of being the only faithful people when judgement comes. They believed that when God finally destroys the world, they will become the only free people and their generation will give birth to more and more people till the world become big and vast again.

Their leader, Taah Richard was the single recipient of revelations directly from God, and those revelations directed him to sleep with all those women and girls in the house. Every thing they did was based on revelations that Taah received from God.

“The God we serve is a God of revelations,” Mercy Fongang told me. “He reveals to our husband who to sleep with on a daily basis.”

Mercy said if your week to sleep with their husband is approaching, you are fed very well, with one big fish every day till the first night comes. She also said that you are fed very well till the last day that Taah will sleep with you.

“We were living a luxurious and happy life until the government came and interrupted us,” Ruth said. “Now the government has taken us out and cannot afford to give us the good things that we were enjoying.”

Right now, the government has distributed the the women and their children into different households depending on where they came from before getting into the house. The Ndams and the Fongangs are in their family homes respectively, in Guzang. The Nchumuluhs are in their family home in Akum, Esther has gone to meet a relative in Kumba. Taah Richard himself, together with the other men are languishing in jail on counts of religious extremism and incest.

Now, the mothers, daughters, children and grand children at Guzang are not finding life easy. We did a kind of needs assessment with them and the mothers said their number one need is capital to start business so that they can in turn take care of their children. Here is a snapshot of their prioritized need.

DSCN4365

As usual, I am used to crying when I come face to face with people in need. I shed tears, enough to get the chest part of my dress wet. I looked at the bare nature of living room of the Ndam’s. I flashed my eyes through the door into the bedroom that had two beds, I asked myself how 16 person of that particular household were managing to fit into the two beds.

“We need beds and mattresses madam,” Mercy said. “In the night, some of us sleep on dresses that we spread on the ground. We are suffering madam.”

I turned and looked directly into the eyes of Florence Fongang, she shook her head from side to side and spoke for once.

“Our own situation is bad madam, our house with all our harvested food stuff was consumed by fire a few months ago,” she said. “Right now, 12 of us are living in a single room given to us by a neighbour.”

OMG! I don’t know who to blame in this situation. I don’t know where to start. I don’t know who to run to for support. I don’t know whether to take some of them into my household. I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know!

When the incident happened, rumours held it that the children could be kidnapped children. Another rumour held that the men took turns with the women and bore the children. But the women revealed to me that they slept with Taah Richard and Taah Richard alone, and that all the children are his.

While I plan to pay a visit to the Nchumuluh’s in Akum, I couldn’t have left without a family and friendly photo.

Behind line 1st from Left (Mami Julie Ndam), 2nd from left (visitor), 3rd from left (Florence Fongang), 4th from left (Mercy Ndam), 5th from left (Me, Nakinti), 6th from left (visitor), 7th from left (Ruth Ndam). Some of the children were still in school. Some of the mothers too had gone out to look for odd jobs

Behind line
1st from Left (Mami Julie Ndam), 2nd from left (visitor), 3rd from left (Florence Fongang), 4th from left (Mercy Ndam), 5th from left (Me, Nakinti), 6th from left (visitor), 7th from left (Ruth Ndam). Some of the children were still in school. Some of the mothers too had gone out to look for odd jobs

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Maternal Health Issues; Deadlier Than Ever in Cameroon

Out of boredom, at 5:23pm on Sunday the 19th of October 2014, I jumped on a bike to Imagine Bakery to go buy a pack of Shawarma for me and my little boy at home. As the tall, dark, and sociable bike man struggled to initiate a discussion with a total stranger, me, he was frequently interrupted by the very big potholes that have overtaken the Mbengwi Road – Hospital Round About – Meta quarters stretch. Pot holes that are enough to abort my baby, that is if I were pregnant. Thank God I wasn’t, else I would have been crying for having a miscarriage. But do some people really care.

The bubbly and discursive bike man didn’t give up telling me his story. He dropped me in front of imagine Bakery and told me that he has a very important story to tell me. Honestly, what he told me shocked me, yes it did. Those are the painful realities of our country. My heart bled for two souls lost, though.

“Madam, you  hear say some woman give yi pickin medicine for  move belle the pickin turn die?” the bike man asked me.

“Wety?, I shouted, causing imagine bakery customers, and passers by to turn and look my direction. I tried to give everyone I could a ‘I am not mad look.’

OMG! The bike man told me that an unhappy mother who found out that her high school daughter was pregnant, went ahead to give her some medicine to abort the fetus. After making the little girl to drink the medicine, she locked her in the room and went out. Expecting that by the time she comes back, the baby would have come out.

As the pains aggravated, the little girl cried out in the room, aloud, calling the attention of curious neighbours. One of the neigbours quickly went around, found, and brought the mother home to unlock the door so that they can know why the little girl was furiously crying indoors. To their greatest surprise, the little girl had bled profusely but no baby had come out yet.

The pregnant teenager was rushed to the Bamenda General Hospital but before any medical procedure was carried out, she passed on. Why! why! why! I cried. Why would women kill women? Why would women be at the center of violence against women? Why would women promote backstreet abortions? Why would a mother fuss her daughter to abort a pregnancy that she didn’t want to abort? There are a thousand whys in my head!

That incident alone rubbed shit on my week! As if that was not enough to spoil my weekend, I received a call from a friend early on Thursday 24th October 2014, calling me to come see wonders that had pulled crowd at the Ntarinkon neighbourhood.

“A new born baby has been discovered, dead, at the thrash site,” she shouted. “Please come, come and see for yourself.

Dead baby discovered at the Ntarinkon thrash site on Thursday 23rd Oct 2014. Photo Credit: Ngobesing Neh

Dead baby discovered at the Ntarinkon thrash site on Thursday 23rd Oct 2014.
Photo Credit: Ngobesing Neh

How could I have made it fast to the scene, when for over 30 minutes I stood waiting to catch a cab, but I couldn’t, the roads have gone really bad. The tar has completely cracked and to manage a bike again in my not-so-strong health was not an option. I finally couldn’t make, I was sad, but yet my sadness could take me to no where. I thanked my sister who shared the picture of the beautiful baby on http://www.worldpulse.com. Thank you Ngobesing Neh.

I went directly to my room, think of Millenium Development Goals (MDG) 4 and 5 and cried out a little.

While MDG 4 is calling for a reduction in child mortality and MDG 5 is asking for an improvement in maternal health by 2015, Cameroon is realizing the reverse.

According to statistics from the Regional Delegation of Public Health in the North West Region, Cameroon has moved from about 430000 deaths in 1998, to 669000 in 2004, and 782000 deaths in 2011. Where are we heading to? Who can we then blame for this increase? Lets all find answers to these questions.

We lost three souls in Bamenda alone in 5 days due to maternal related causes. How many souls do we lose in all the towns and villages in Cameroon in 7 days. Put your calculative brain to use and come up with imaginative figures. If the actual numbers are displayed right here, we will all be shocked at the number of maternal deaths that Cameroon registers in one year.

I don’t want to propose subjective solutions to this, but lets forget about conferences that only tell us about death figures and focus on workshops that seek to implement real solutions. Lets start with individual sensitization at our level, even if it means telling our neigbours in buses, comrades at meeting houses, bayam sellams in the markets, students in schools about the realities of maternal issues and how it can be managed. Lets all be the solution!

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Tricked into a complicated marriage!!!

With a low spirit and not too balanced health, I caught up with this very beautiful, gentle, lovely, and soft-spoken girl from Dikome Balue in Bamenda on Thursday 21st August 2014. If you don’t know, Dikome Balue is one of the villages that make up the Oroko Ethnic Group in Ndian Division of the South West Region of Cameroon. Mande, in need of help she came to see me. Little did she know that we were both daughters of the great Dikome Balue Dynasty.

In pursuance of a nursing degree in Bamenda, Mande met and fell in love with a guy from Ndop, a village found in Ngoketunjia Division of the North West Region. Before a year of dating, they got married. Ask me how they got married????

She explained that she received a call one day from the father-in-law to report to the Babessi Special Center with her fiance for the signing of a marriage certificate. On getting there, her father-in-law and the Civil Status Registrar had filled out everything in the marriage certificate and she was asked to sign. As smart as Oroko girls will be sometimes, she asked to be give some time so that she looks through the ALREADY FILLED marriage Certificate. What she discovered was shocking. She tried to resist signing but the father-in-law assured her that he cannot play any fowl on her because he loved her like a daughter.

Guys see…

On the part of “Type of Marriage,” it was written “According to Native Laws and Customs of the Matoh People.”

On the part of “Type of Property Rights” It was written “Co-Ownership.”

Guys, can you believe this? How can a marriage signed in 2013 still carry age old appellations. How can a marriage signed in Babessi, in the North West Region refer to the native laws and customs of Matoh people of the South West Region?How can a girl who hails from Dikome Balue be tied to the customs of the Matoh people in the first place? How can a polygamous marriage have property rights of Co-ownership? How can a father in law behave like that?

A marriage signed under native laws and customs is an automatic polygamy. Do you now see what that  father in law was up to? He knew that if he openly wrote polygamy, the little girl will immediately pick it out. If he didn’t want his son to marry a girl from their region of origin, as is sometimes the case, why was he beating around the bush and pretending as though he was a good father in law?

Now, the almost 2 years marriage is crashing and no in-law cares. The dumb ass guy is provoking her that he has the right to marry as many wives as possible.


Girls and mothers, any marriage signed under native laws and customs is a form of imprisonment to the girls. Do not allow yourself or your daughter to be a victim of this dubious acts.

And do you know what? This “Sense Pass King” father in law is a LAWYER!!!

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Hate Speech in China; My Self Esteem Crashed!

2014-08-03 02.09.44

Excited for the upcoming first day as a foreign teacher in China, I couldn’t sleep the night before. My whole being was captured by the thought of creating a first day beautiful impression. I spent hours on my computer, googling the best information on how to make a first class a success. It was clear that I was a fresh graduate from the University of Buea – Cameroon, who had never ever practiced teaching, ever.

If I were in Cameroon, the crow of an old male cock would have signaled the break of a new day, but I was in a Shijiazhuang, a Chinese City close to the famous Chinese capital of Beijing; The very Beijing that played host to the famous 2005 Beijing Conference [for women]. It was a Conference that emphasized equality, equity and empowerment for women. Should they have made ‘equality’ between all races a topic of discussion in the Beijing Conference?

It was 6:00am the next day, I peeped through the window and I was saluted by white droppings from the sky. The ground, the hedges, the cars, the flowers, and everything in open air were all carpeted by this white stuff that was dropping from above. In extreme excitement, I looked closely and my sixth sense reminded me that there was something called snow and that was it.

At 7:15 I was seen hitting the stairs to meet up with my 7:30 class, to meet my students, for the first time. As I tried to make the first three smart steps on the snow ground, I almost slide to the ground. Yes, it was true I was stepping on snow for the first time and I needed to watch my every step.

The students were excited to see me. Nearly every student greeted me with a ‘Ni hao.’ I responded with a smile, not knowing exactly how best to respond. As all the students settled, my excitement level rose again to maximum. I greeted them all with a ‘good morning students.’ They responded well.

First things first, I told them my name and the subject I will be taking them. Without giving me any time to finish up with my introduction, nearly all the students asked:

“Where are you coming from?”

I told them I was coming from Cameroon. This was followed by a second question from the students:

“Where is Cameroon in the world?”

I happily told them that Cameroon is in Africa. The revelation that Cameroon was in Africa caused the students to say, in one voice:

“Ayaaaa, FEI ZHOU, ta shi fei zhou ren!”

I innocently smiled, thinking the word FEI ZHOU was simply acknowledging that they know exactly where I was coming from. I did not know it meant something more. Looking at the faces of some of the students, it seemed they were disappointed with the appointment of a FEI ZHOU as their Reading and Understanding teacher. Well, I couldn’t tell exactly what the problem was.

As the days rolled, I could frequently hear the word FEI ZHOU in the discussion lines of Chinese as I passed among students, as I entered the classroom, as I walked in the streets, as I boarded taxis, as I entered super markets. It then dawned on me that it was time to find out what the word FEI ZHOU meant. I confronted the Director of Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Shang to tell me the meaning of the word. She told me it was a Chinese word for Africa. Little did I know that it was more than a Chinese word for Africa.

I talked to other foreign teachers from America, Philippines, and UK to tell me exactly what Fei Zhou meant, then they told me exactly that the term Fei Zhou has a negative connotation for Africa as a whole. I was told that it meant something around “Nothing State” or “No State” or “Empty Continent” or something more than the above. I felt how my self-esteem was crashing at the hearing of those meanings. To tell you the truth, life became unhappy for me. Any time I heard the word Fei Zhou from the Chinese, I felt as though I had been insulted to the highest degree.

Think about the Chinese terms for some countries and their meanings:

– Mei guo (United States of America) means Beautiful Country
– De guo (Germany) means Virtous Country
– Fa guo (France) means Lawful Country
– Yinguo (UK) means Pleasant Land, and then
– Fei Zhou (grouped under one country called Africa) meaning “Nothing State.”

That term, plus the provocative term used to refer to black people as “He He” meaning ‘black black” made my stay in China unbearable. I regretted ever spending money on flight ticket and visa to China. I experienced firsthand what racism was all about, and how such hate speeches could lead one to depression.

As those meanings played on my brain all through my short stay in that city, my memory took me back to my train trip from the Southern City of Guangzhou in Guangdong Province, to the City of Shijiazhuang in Hebei Province, it is a memorable experience. I remembered how groups and individuals of Chinese came to my train booth to look at me. Some stood right in front of me, staring at me directly in the face for several minutes. As they looked, they conversed in Chinese, probably talking about how I came from FEI ZHOU. I remembered how several of my Chinese lookers threw lumps of spittle on the floor of the train right in front of me. I remember so well how a Chinese woman vomited just at catching a first sight of me. It meant nothing to me at the moment; I never knew it meant more.

I held China at high esteem for its high level of growth but if I knew about the hate speeches before I traveled I would never had traveled to China

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My 35th Birth Day!

ITS MY DAY, YES, BUT IT IS MORE OF MY MUM’S DAY!

I got up a bit late this morning … 6:25 am, not because I over slept, but because I was having a wonderful dream. I was dreaming about the mystery of birth [and death of course].

35 years ago, I was just a line of dad’s sperm that made its journey through mum’s fertile tubes. Those were tubes whose only function were to perform the mystery of reproduction. A line of sperm that was lucky enough to find the hospitality of a gentle egg. An egg that welcomes no one else but a male sperm. The compatibility and love between a male sperm and a female egg is unbeatable. What joy lies therein! 35 years ago, I was a product of that resounding love and compatibility, born out of that mysterious making.

Little by little, I metamorphosed from a lump of blood, to a fully developed fetus. It was a process that left mum so sick especially in the early months of pregnancy. Early morning sickness, fever, catarrh, headache, swollen legs, and a general slowdown in her personal pleasures characterized this period of pregnancy. She bore all these pains just to give life to an unknown person. What a mystery!

35 years ago, she stood the pains of labour. Labour that she bore all alone because dad was away on a work trip. Stretching pain – dragging from her lower belly to her waist line, climbing up to her tender back, she took it all for my sake. Crawling on the hospital floors of Bai Estate hospital, the same hospital whose administrative and career boss put her in that condition, gave her the privilege of passing through the pampering hands of the loving midwives. Remember, no amount of love and pampering is enough to erase the pains of labour.

35 years down the road, from 1979 to 2014, I am all grown up. I am a woman now, one who has experienced the mystery of childbirth, and pains of labour. Once I passed through this, twice I don’t think I will. The pain and discomfort was unbearable. I experienced what it felt to become a mother. Push, Push, Push, oh no, it wasn’t about pushing an egg, it was about pushing a whole lump of a 3.2 kg baby. A weight I weighed exactly when I was born. It is for this reason that I think taking all the credits of a happy birthday is unfair. As your birthday wishes pour in, I send them all to my mum. She is the [S]hero of today!

While I prepare a package for mum this day to say thank you, I call on all who can make it, to join me in biting a piece of cake on this special day.

Happy birthday!

Thank you mum!

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HOW TO GET AN NGO REGISTERED IN CAMEROON!

Are you a change agent? Do you have the fire in you to create lasting change in Cameroon? Do you spend your time thinking about how to touch the lives of Cameroonians? Have you ever wondered about what it will take to get your organization registered as an Association/NGO in Cameroon? Have you clicked, and clicked, and clicked — searching for some valuable information on how to go about this?

Your worries are over…I will tell it to you straight and direct.

Documents needed…

  1. Application for legalization addressed to the Senior Divisional Officer (SDO), through the Divisional Officer of the division where your headquarters will be located.
  2. Names of Organization exco, for example, the Founder/Coordinator/President, the Treasurer, the Secretary General, and other positions you may deem necessary. This list must be tabulated with the following column headings, respectively; Serial number, Name, Occupation, Address, ID card number, Contact number, Position (occupied at the organization), Signature. Make two copies and certify them at any Police Special Unit
  3. 2 copies of the organization’s constitution (It is hard to write it yourself but you can seek help from an expert or beg a copy from an existing organization to serve as guide)
  4. 2 copies of two different minutes of constituent assembly/board meetings (before creation). This could be minutes of meetings held with members of the exco to adopt the constitution and minutes of meetings held to adopt the name of the organization. Or just minutes of any meeting held in the interest of the organization
  5.  2 fiscal stamps at 1000frs each (one on the application and one on the certified copy of exco members)

Note:

Before putting together these documents, you must have the constitution written our clearly. You must have also identified your different exco members so as to allow them fill in their information [and sign] on the list of exco.  Remember to get the minutes ready. When you have had all these on your table, you are set to go and deposit them at the Divisional Office (DO’s office) for approval before onward transmission to the SDO’s office.

It is as easy as this. You may be called to the SDO’s office a few times to pick up your constitution or any other document for correction, don’t panic, you just need to get your articles and other things right and clear before signature. When you get it right, the SDO will sign, trust me.

You should understand that these days, in Cameroon, your organization will be born with the status of an Association. And then three years down the road, the Minister will approve and grant you an NGO status. This must be backed by visible community action on your part and follow up to get that done.

Yeah, that’s it.

If you need to look through a sample constitution and to have an idea on how to set up an Executive List, please follow this link: https://nakintinofuru.wordpress.com/2016/08/12/getting-an-ngo-legalized-in-cameroon-sample-constitution-and-executive-list/

~~If there is anything I omitted that you know, please call my attention and I will update the post

Good luck guys!!!

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