Sonita Mbah, a Cameroon native, has dedicated her life to helping young people in her country get out of abject poverty and desperate unemployment and into lifestyles that create abundance and thrive in harmony with nature. She is certified in Permaculture and Ecovillage Design and has been involved in several agricultural, agro-forestry and youth projects in Cameroon. She is currently combining a Gaia University Masters degree program in Integrative Ecosocial Design and coordinating agricultural activities at Bafut Ecovillage as well as representing NextGEN-Africa. Sonita is passionate about regenerative education and continues to develop her skills as a professional facilitator working with experts from diverse backgrounds.
One of the many projects she pioneered with Better World Cameroon is to bring fresh water to the Alegnwi community seen in this video. In addition to helping communities, she has hosted radio programs on youth sensitization and hosted climate campaigns on local TV. She wrote the skit 'Why Change Changed' that is used as a road show for raising youth awareness around agriculture. She has and continues to facilitate introduction to Permaculture Courses in Cameroon, carries out environmental education in schools and manages Ndanifor Permaculture Ecovillage in Bafut, Cameroon.
How will the money be used?
Part of the money will go to support ongoing practical activities of organizing events and trainings to build entrepreneurial skills. It will help young people and selected elders to start creating, identifying and designing new green initiatives and walking our talk in the High Value Agricultural product initiative. Your support will also assist the production/compilation of business models that have been developed all over Africa. Support will be used to inspire, strengthen youth movements, already existing entrepreneurship hubs, intentional communities and other businesses around the world.
Finally, another part of the money will go into supporting the first quarter of my Master's in EcoSocial Design with Gaia University. This study will empower me with the necessary project design and management skills, facilitation and practical social entrepreneurship. This part will also facilitate the work of mentors providing me with guidance in the process of building a change movement using modern tools of education.
Any additional amount raised will go to cover the second quarter of my studies.
I grew up and went to school away from my native culture. I spent 17 years in formal educational system. Graduating from the University with the anxiety to get a job and help my family was a not going to be possible. After 3 years of part time volunteering while doing undergraduate studies, I was still jobless when I left the school. I went against the wish of my parents to continue with Master’s into taking a 5 months course as an Administrative Assistant and a two month basic business studies. I felt competent afterwards but was not able to find work. I began volunteering for Better World Cameron and soon they decided to employ me as an Administrative Assistant.
I have and still work 10-14 hours a day, taking different roles and responsibilities in different institutions. Sometimes, it is even harder to say who my real employer is. Doing all these and maintaining a balance between work, self and other (friends, relationships) has not been a smooth process.
In 2013, I learned about Gaia University and felt it was the right time to create a world changing concept with just the right knowledge, peers, mentors and facilitators.
I have traveled far but there is still more to be done. From a complete stranger into creating my own home and finding home wherever I go. With available resources, it is time for me to combine our cultural values (care for the earth, people and sharing the surplus), our heritage, the environment and building our financial resilience.
I was laughed at for not dreaming the same dream of becoming a government teacher like every other Cameroonian youth. I was even ‘advised’ to take advantage of the government’s inability to track its teachers to become one, hire an amateur teacher and pay him/her 1/3 my salary to do my job, secure my pension and go off earning more money. The only way I convinced myself was that to change a system, I don’t have to fight it or become a coward accomplice. I have succeeded in creating a system that encourages volunteering. It is all about a new awareness in young people. Facilitating youth development instead of simply becoming a teacher of what I don’t believe in has made my family and friends proud of me even more than I can be of myself.