By Bless Zoshe
The first ever non-profit educational institution in Anglophone Cameroon which focuses on the environment and biodiversity conservation has matriculated its first batch of trainees.
The 12 trainees, enrolled in 8 courses were officially signed up at the Institute of Biodiversity and Non-profit Studies, IBiNS, during a solemn ceremony organized recently at their campus in Mile 18, Buea.
For the next 12 months, the students will undertake various courses related to environmental preservation including Biodiversity management, Forestry and Botanical Conservation, Fisheries and Mangrove Ecosystems, as well as Environmental Journalism.
Speaking at the event, the Board Chair of the mother NGO, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation – EruDeF, Mr. Akemnda Eric encouraged the trainees to take their studies seriously, as ERuDeF, will eventually recruit 95% of trainees who score a percentage of 80 and above, at the end of their respective courses.
Akemnda further emphasized that “this institution has the unique purpose in that they will be the pioneers who will help formulate policy that can govern the management of environment and biodiversity in this country. In this way, they will create jobs and contribute significantly to sustainable development in Cameroon”.
On his part, the Director of the institute, Dr Okole Justin stated that the venture is intended to fill a gap in youth employment efforts. “If you look at graduates from our traditional universities, they lack vital skills that employers demand. For example, can they write a convincing project? Can they publish their results? Can they raise funds? So we are trying to bring a new group of people who would be able to do these things, meet employers’ needs, and even create jobs for themselves”.
Sampling the opinions of some trainees on their programme options, Regina Leke acknowledged that she enrolled into the Environmental Journalism Programme to salvage the inconsequential attention given to environmental reporting in the Cameroonian media.
“When I look in our newspapers and broadcast media, I realize that there is very little is said about the environment. And if we must protect our environment and our biodiversity, then I believe information has a very important role to play. Information needs to reach the people on how to adapt to climate change for example, how to handle pollution and other environmental challenges. My intension therefore is to be an advocate, to spread the word and educate the people on how to cater for the environment,” Leke explained.
Another trainee, Rose Enanga Mokake asserted that she decided to specialize in NGO Management and Fundraising, to understand the intricacies of sustaining an NGO, as well as acquire appropriate skills in canvassing for funding.
The matriculation ceremony was also punctuated by an academic discourse, presented by Professor Chuyong George, who ended by naming the newly matriculated trainees, the “Simplicity Batch.” Also present at the event were Regional Delegates, guests, and representative from other NGOs.
Launched on January 30 2012, the Institute of Biodiversity and Non-profit Studies IBiNS is an initiative of ERuDeF, and dedicated to the conservation of wildlife and the protection of fragile environment through research, training and community engagement.