Sunday, November 23, 2008

Cameroon NGO Joins Commonwealth Fellows Network 2008

FFF Cameroon Joins Commonwealth Fellows Network
By James Achanyi-Fontem, Cameroon Link
Three top level managers from the Fine Forest Foundation, FFF, Cameroon on the 17th November, 2008 joined their counterparts from other parts of the world in a welcome day event organized by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission, CSC, in the United Kingdom. The three, Ursula Fontem, Anastasia Atabong and James Achanyi-Fontem from Cameroon represented the FFF in what was described by many as a crowd pulling and enriching exchange annual event. James Achanyi-Fontem seen on this blog,is also the Chief Executive Officer of Cameroon Link and triples as the International Coordinator of the WABA Men's Working Group. The managers were engaged in a Commonwealth Professional Fellowship training hosted at the Sickle Cell Society UK, which aimed at capacitating them on how to operate a charity effectively for the empowerment of local communities in Cameroon.
At the welcome event for the new award holders, Professor Trudy Harpham, Chair of the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the United Kingdom announced that the organization’s fellowship programme will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2009.
It is recalled that the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission is responsible for managing Britain’s contribution to the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan, CSFP. The CSFP is an international programme under which member governments offer scholarships and fellowships to citizens of other Commonwealth countries. The plan was established at the first conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers in Oxford, United Kingdom in 1959 and is reviewed by ministers during their triennial meetings.
It is the only scholarship scheme in the world to receive such high-level recognition and it has become one of the most prestigious international scholarship schemes. The scholarships and fellowships are funded by host country governments, though the United Kingdom has been the leading contributor to the CSFP, followed by Canada.
Awards have also been held at some stage in over twenty commonwealth countries, and recipients have come from virtually all Commonwealth countries. Presenting the key note speech during the CSFP welcome 2008 event, David Lammy, MP, Minister of State for Higher Education and intellectual Property invited new award holders to play an important role in the CSC community from the time they take up their awards.
Over 26.000 individuals have received awards since 1959 and have had exceptional records in rising to positions of prominence in their chosen professions. Most of them have gone on to become academics, writers, scientists and leaders of government, major NGO and the business world. Being part of the CSC community, gives fellows a unique opportunity to network with a diverse range of talented people around the Commonwealth.
The existing networks send out quarterly newsletters that provide information on the latest research developments, conference news and funding opportunities relevant to those around the Commonwealth. Issues tackled in the newsletter surround agriculture and rural development, education, environment, gender, governance, civil society and community development, science and technology, health, faith and civil society. It is within this frame work that David Lammy called on the 2008 fellows to share their news and research activities when they return to their different countries.
Meanwhile at the CEO of Sickle Cell Society, Dr. Asa’ah Nkohkwo and his team engaged in a very dense coaching programme for three months of the FFF Cameroon managers on the value-for-money systems accountability appraisal through the on-the-job best practice exposure. The trainees received lectures on the ropes of responsive community-led NGO management. Issues treated at the Sickle Cell Society ranged from corporate planning, objective setting and action translation, metrology reporting and public accountability, stakeholders impact assessment, marketing, public relations and strategic planning..
To impact the Fine Forest Foundation trainees valuable and durable management strategies, the team of SCS consultants introduced them to specific areas of typical management system set-up, business planning and project management, budgeting for growth, resourcing by direct and indirect income generation book keeping, traceable income development, knowledge acquisition system like website and filing, quality assurance and control, stakeholder satisfaction, fundraising and micro-finance, events management and health promotion.
Contributions were made by John Mensah of Outreach Management Services, specialized in providing solutions to charities, community and voluntary groups. He equipped the FFF trustees with relevant skills for arriving at community project ownership.
Mrs. Ngechop Yvonne Claire Ndifor , the Assistant Company Secretary of NSTechnoMed UK, guided the Cameroon managers on budgeting for growth and book keeping, while emphasizing on traceability of income deployed in a project.
The role of information, communication management and technology in NGO management was handled by Julius Nkenganyi, a specialist in IT Social Marketing. He expanded on Microsoft application programmes applicable to project management for good governance and accountability in small and medium size organisations.
There is no doubt that if the FFF Cameroon managers deploy the knowledge and experiences gather during their stay in London, United Kingdom, Cameroon will turn out as winner including the government and local community populations.