Saturday, June 2, 2012

SODELCO Puts Youth Empowerment at Forefront

Members of the Ardos Union
Executive of SODELCO Youth Donga Mantung
Alhadj Ardo Yougouda installing youth leaders
Cross section of the crowd at Akweto
Cross section of the crowd

Donga Mantung SDO addressing the crowd
fanfare and elation
SDO performing the ndere dance
The Mayor of Misaje (in white) dancing ndere

Delegates from the East Region-Bertoua
There was ecstasy and fanfare today, June 2, 2012 at Akweto in Misaje Sub Division in Donga Mantung Division of the North West Region-Cameroon where over 5.000 people gathered to be part of a new way. This year’s General Assembly brought in delegates from the East, North West, South West, West, Littoral and the Northern Regions of Cameroon respectively. The most interesting thing that transpired was that 11 more ardos joined the Ardos Union of SODELCO in order to be part of El Hadj Baba Danpoullo's innovative ideas to change lives positively for the Fulani, grazers and farmers of Cameroon. History was then recorded that the biggest lobbying force grouping Fulani grazers and farmers will henceforth achieve its objectives by empowering youth and women for the betterment of all. In this light, SODELCO intends to set up adult literacy programs nationwide to empower women as well as set up strategies to ensure that children of school age are in schools. Besides, the program to empower youths in various trades such as tailoring, driving, computer science, driving will be intensified. This according to the National President of SODELCO will enable Fulani youths to contribute actively to nation building as well as sustain themselves and families when they are grown up.
Those who took the pains to travel to Akweto to be part of the Annual General Assembly of the Association of Breeders and Farmers commonly known as SODELCO went home more convinced that the future of Fulani youths especially the girl child will henceforth be brighter. Taking into consideration that nowadays, education is perhaps the most important gift a parent, state and governments can offer to the humanity SODELCO delegates resolved to put youth empowerment at the forefront of its actions. According to the National President of SODELCO, Alhadj Ardo Yougouda Bouba Adamou, education is required in the performance of the most basic public responsibilities, even in farming, grazing and management of homes. Therefore, the education of Fulani youths will be the very foundation on which the association intends to foster sustainable livelihood. This decision was further corroborated by the installation into office of executive members of SODELCO Youth for Donga Mantung Division. With SODELCO youths have been given the opportunity to be part of decision making as well as women. With the overture of a gender balance approach within SODELCO, there are hopes that life will not be the same with the youths who end up as herdsmen or go out for early marriages. The issue of early marriages as well as some obnoxious cultural practices that reduce women to be for the kitchen was also discussed.
Addressing the over 5000 man-crowd at Akweto, the Senior Divisional Officer for Donga Mantung Division, Nzeki Theophile said that today, education is the principal instrument in awakening the child to cultural values, in preparing him/her for later professional training, and in helping him/her to adjust normally to his/her environment. In these days, according to Nzeki Theophile, it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he/she is denied the opportunity of an education. He called on all the Fulani people to send their children to school because in situation, where the state has undertaken to provide it, is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms. Mr. Nzeki Theophile used the occasion to express gratitude to El Hadj Baba Danpoullo and the national chairman of SODELCO Alhadj Ardo Yougouda Bouba for their innovative idea in fostering national integration. He told SODELCO delegates that the success of any association lies in two key elements. These elements of success according to the Senior Divisional Officer are: competence, honesty and transparency. He said if the right persons are put at the right place, wrong doers will not be able to tarnish the image of the association which he added “it is one or two rotten grains that ends up spoiling a basketful of groundnuts”. Quoting a Fulani proverb, he said “Do not mind what people say when you turn your back because if your finger does not have a wound, you will not be afraid to touch poison” he concluded. “We have had complaints on cattle theft and horse trading in Donga Mantung Division and we can only combat these phenomenons if you the grazers collaborate with the administration”. On the rampant farmer/grazer conflict, Nzeki Theophile advised grazers to developed improved pasture, adopt ranching methods and as such SODELCO should remain a powerful tool to promote development.
On his part the mayor of Misaje Council, Nkenda Simon Sunde expressed joy and elation at the innovative steps taken by the association. According to Nkenda Simon Sunde, SODELCO AGM is a very important event that will go a long way to change the lives of the Fulani community nationwide. “The Fulani contributes the greatest share of the revenue in my municipality”, he also added that the cattle market as well as the Jangali tax contributes the highest revenue the Misaje Council generates locally. “If the state were not pumping funds into my municipality, the council could survive from the grazers”. He however added that he was the first to denounce cattle theft in his municipality. On the rampant cattle theft, Nkenda Simon said that no theft can take place without someone from the surrounding. He called on the parents to educate their children that cattle is a family property so much so that they can all look after them. The mayor of Misaje also announced that he had submitted two projects to introduce improved pastures in his municipality an initiative which he said the council will work in collaboration with SODELCO to make sure that it succeeds.
On the other hand, the National President of SODELCO, Alhadj Ardo Yougouda sounded optimistic and added youths have been brought in order to ensure continuity. He said with SODELCO the future of the Fulani Youth is brighter and that the place of the woman is not only in the kitchen. “Due to the explosion of the population, we will embark on developing improved pastures as well as make sure that the girl child is given the opportunity like any other to go to school”. He said as parents, there is no better future if the youths are left behind in their efforts to build a better future. 
Enters Alhadji Doggtaruh of Limbe
In his address, Alhadj Doggtaruh from Limbe said that there is no ethnic group known as the mbororos. To Ahadj Doggtaruh " we are the Fulani people and not Mbororo" and besides that "we are not marginalized". According to Alhadj Doggtaruh, the only prerequisite for their survival is to send their children to school. "We are here to tell our parents that if they can just sell some few cows and send our brothers and sisters to school, they would have invested in the future". Accordingly, he advocated for a better education for the Fulani youths which will help in sustaining the cattle. "With the population explosion, we need basics in education to be able to set up improve pastures, carryout ranching and even work on the farms". He told this reporter that the Akweto conclave help them to sensitize their parents to look into the future of youths who are either forced to be herdsmen or go out on early marriages. And he concluded by saying that in Cameroon, the Fulani people are not marginalized as obnoxiously claim by a group of persons.

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