IofC Francophone Team Training in Yaoundé, Cameroon
Twenty-eight people gathered in Yaoundé, Cameroon from 12 to 16 March 2017 for a training programme that focused on Initiatives of Change’s (IofC) Francophone teams. The group consisted of Francophone African participants - six training faculty and local Cameroonian team members. The countries represented included Ivory Coast, Burundi, Rwanda, Mali, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Nigeria, South Africa, Lebanon, Switzerland and the United Kingdom (UK).
Training convenors Daphrose and Angelo from IofC Burundi
The vision for this training was born during an IofC gathering in Ethiopia in 2014. IofC has a rich history of influence and work across Africa, including in Francophone countries such as Cameroon where IofC has been active prior to the country’s independence.
‘As a member of the African diaspora living in another country, it is amazing to see the energy for our continent in this room. We need changemakers here and in our diaspora communities,’ commented Lusa Nsenga-Ngoy, a faculty member from DRC who is currently living in the UK.
During the training period, we began each morning with a silent reflection for inner listening. The new Chairman of IofC Burundi Coyiremeye Saturnin was pleasantly surprised by how the morning reflections impacted him, ‘The exercises of silence struck me – it was a filled silence rather than empty which I have never experienced before. I want to live and continue practising this.’
The daily morning reflection was followed by four working sessions that aimed to inspire and equip the group. The group explored the vision and journey of Frank Buchman, how to apply IofC’s values in one’s life and if IofC can offer Africa a solution. Daphrose Ntarataze from Burundi presented a case study on the success of Creators of Peace Burundi. Rainer Gude from IofC International gave a presentation on IofC’s strategic priorities and partnership building.
The group was blessed to be in the presence of previous full-time Moral Rearmament (MRA) worker, Pierre Oko Mengue (pictured right), who frequently interjected sessions with his pearls of wisdom and own story of change that included the repayment of debts long forgotten, honesty with his wife over marriage infidelities and the hurt pride of a father taking a new look at his authoritarian approach.
Looking ahead, the group explored and discussed changes that need to be made internally, both individually and collectively, from building team spirit first and then creating regional collaboration. ‘I have lots of ideas to go home with. I feel called to create an IofC team in Chad where we need it greatly. I will take what I have learned here to my home country so the knowledge can spread. I will let the global network know when we have a team in Chad!’ the Chadian participant excitedly stated.
‘It is the beginning of an adventure and great things for Francophone Africa,’ concluded Ntarataze.