The second edition of the Cameroon leadership Academy organized by Buea based Company Go Ahead Africa Ltd will take place at the the AES Sonel Human Resources Centre, Mutengene, South Western Cameroon from September 17-20 2013.
100 carefully selected youths from all ten regions of the country will be trained on civic engagement, professional accomplishment and their patriotic spirit. According to the main promoter of Go Ahead Africa Roland Kwemain, youths from across Africa will eventually also benefit from the training which is intended to make them better and more productive members of their societies
Mugob Helene is the young, dynamic, proactive coordinator of Go Ahead Africa Ltd and helps organize the youth leadership academy. A graduate of the University of Buea, Ms Mugob is very ambitious and has plans to hold high political office in Cameroon.programme
In this revealing interview, she explains what Go Ahead Africa Ltd and another Youth and female orientated organization Virtuous Women International that she created is all about.
Francis Ngwa put the questions.
Q What is Go Ahead Africa Ltd all about?
Go Ahead Africa Ltd is a training and consultancy firm with headquarters in Buea Cameroon. It’s main aim is building the capacity of stake holders in the developmental sector of Africa which involves adding value to whatever they have in other to help them be more productive in their organizations. We target NGOs, we target companies, target ministries, we target governmental bodies and even students. We add value to what they already have like leadership, management, marketing skills etc. We have designed a series of training’s and presently have more than fifty and based on the needs of the company, we give them the appropriate training.
Q That must be a relatively new concept in Cameroon so what has been feedback from the companies whose personnel you have trained?
It has been very challenging to get to where we are now. We went out first to prospect and had to meet managing directors of some companies and I was surprised and embarrassed that a lot of companies did not realize the importance of capacity building. There are very few companies that have welcomed the idea so far but others are still getting to understand this is something they need to do. Some ask questions like who are you, who are the trainers and what are their qualifications and what makes you think we need this training? Let me give an example. We cannot go and train a company accountant in the basics of accounting. We train them about things like time management, public speaking and thinks like that. The companies whose personnel we have trained so far have been passing the word around and we hope more companies get interested in our training. We are getting some interest from companies in our training but we are still sensitizing others on the necessity to build the capacity of their workers.
Q Which companies have you worked with so far?
We trained the staff of Ericsson Cameroon. Those involved included their managing director and some of the main staff of the company. We trained more than 20 personnel of the company. We trained them on team building. We have also trained some staff of the National Employment Fund in Limbe on public speaking and time management. We trained staff from the Ministry of Water and Mines also on team building and time management. We also trained the staff of the Ministry of Culture on team building and Public speaking.
Q On what basis do you select companies to train their staff?
We usually discuss with the managing directors of each company and they tell us the staff they want trained. We train as many people that a company sends for the course. In the National Employment Fund, we trained everybody including the secretary.
Q Where do you think Go Ahead Africa will be in five years time?
We are hoping that in that time span, we would have had at least 50 clients in Cameroon and across Africa. We are making arrangements to open offices across Africa because we want to extend our services throughout the continent.
Q Give us a bit of background about Go Ahead chairman Roland Kwemain
When Roland was president of Junior Chamber International JCI, he traveled to more than 79 countries in one year and based on that global exposure, he saw how relevant it was to empower people across Africa. He got to know the difference between Africa and a continent like Europe and realized why they were doing well while Africa was lagging behind. One of the most common problems in Africa is with time management and he knew Africans need to learn these basic skills especially in their work place. He is a trained marketer and knows exactly why most companies need training in some basic skills. There are a lot of people who are general managers of companies but who lack some basic skills that would make them more productive. Let me give you an example with public speaking. There are a lot of people who have a lot to say, they have a lot of things they will like to share with people but they can’t because they have a problem speaking in public. Time management is another important issue. Let me quote an example here. Last weekend, we had to meet someone in Douala at 9 am. We left Buea at 6 am, got to Douala in time, called and he said he could not meet us at the appointed time. Two hours later, he still had not showed up. These are some of the things that make my chairman really mad. He sometimes travels to Yaounde and has to wait for four, five or six hours because he needs to see a director. That is the main reason he conceived a training course on time management because Africans need to know time is money.
Q Apart from working for Go Ahead Africa Ltd, you created the Virtuous women International a year ago. What does it do and why did you create it?
It is about restoring the dignity of women, it is about empowering them and providing women with a platform to discover and maximize her potential to the fullest. It is about building families through empowering women and it is about empowering youths.
Q How do you empower women then?
We organize seminars and also partner with others in their programmes to empower women. We don’t only organize seminars but also have a follow up programme which is more like a mentoring programme so we see how they develop after the seminars. We help those who already have projects to develop them by linking them with appropriate partners. When we meet women, we look for others in the same sectors and partner them up.
Q Would you describe yourself as a feminist?
I would and I would not. It all depends on your definition of feminism. I am not a feminist in the sense that I don.t believe in the maxim that women can do it all by themselves. One hand cannot tie a bundle. A woman needs a man to succeed and vice versa. They need to work together as a team. I am a feminist in the sense that I believe in empowering the woman, making her self confident by building up her self esteem