Bamenda, Cameroon Named International Professional Chapter of the Year
Bamenda, Cameroon is one of the most polluted cities in the world. It is also the site of gun battles between French-speaking government forces and armed separatists, who are seeking independence for the English-speaking northwest regions of the country.
In this midst of this chaos, Eric Mbotiji is doing what he can to empower residents of Bamenda to create solutions to their many social and environmental ills. Mbotiji is the president of Net Impact Bamenda, our Chapter of the Year in 2018 in the International Professional category.
In 2018, in just its second year, the chapter participated in two of Net Impact Central’s Programs: the Food Solutions Challenge and the Climate Drawdown Challenge. In the former, the chapter organized three groups of young leaders to work on developing new food preservation technology. In the latter, the chapter worked with two local environmental groups to explore ideas around regenerative agriculture and tree planting on a grand scale.
The chapter undertook its own environmental programs, too. Over the year, members constructed four Tippy Taps at a local orphanage, to encourage the children to wash their hands, even without running water. And they led children on hikes to local waterfalls, as a way of building a connection between the children and nature.
Net Impact Bamenda also tackled racial inequality with a film series that highlighted awareness around cultural differences. They restocked juvenile prison libraries with books. And they trained 40 young people to engage in community activism.
All of this activity takes organization and leadership. Mbojiti says that working with Net Impact has strengthened his activist skills and made him a more humble, flexible, and effective leader.
Mbojiti is looking forward to a busy 2019 for Net Impact Bamenda. The chapter will be focusing on a campaign to raise awareness about environmental issues, including proper waste disposal, recycling, tree planting, and marine conservation (Cameroon’s southeast region borders the Gulf of Guinea).
Wendy Thurm is the Communications Manager at Net Impact.