Cameroon: Students Pledge to Stand for Human Rights and Against Corruption
My most recent school visit was to the Gov't Bilingual High School of Ekondo-Titi. The town is in "the bush" of SW Cameroon near the Nigerian border and required quite a journey. We left our home base in Tiko at 4:30am and didn't arrive in Ekondo-Titi until 10am. Along the way, we traveled over unimagineable potholes on the few paved roads, and slogged through mud for the rest of the way, our 7-person compact taxi skidding out and getting stuck at one point.
But when we arrived we were greeted by a friend of GNGG, the Honorable Member of Parliament from the area. He took us to the school where we were to speak and met with the Principal and her staff. We were surprised by the large number of students that were assembled. I'm not going to lie. It was tough speaking to so many students, especially without amplification. Very hard to control chatter with such a crowd, but Chris and I managed to get through to most of them.
For the first time, we asked the students to pledge to stand up for human rights and against corruption. We are beginning a signature collection drive to better evaluate the extent to which our message is spreading. We are collecting signatures at each of our speaking engagements, but we are also charging the student led Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Clubs to hold meetings of their own and to go into their homes and communities to spread the message and collect pledges of their own, which GNGG will collect during follow up support visits.
The picture above shows the informal hand pledge that hundreds of students took in Ekondo-Titi and really only captures about half of the students in attendance. Students participate well and ask very insightful questions. I have fielded questions from what to do when police are as corrupt as the officials being reported to one student's question comparing A Man for All Season's Saint Sir Thomas More to a situation where they may find their lives in peril for standing against corruption. This is the generation that will make the change. To Change the World, You Start with One Step.
- Joe Groff