Joya Taft-Dick

Joya Taft-Dick (Vital Voices - Africa Businesswomen’s Network, ABWN): Joya was born in Vermont and spent much of her youth on the move with her father – a UN official – in Africa and South Asia. After graduating from Middlebury College in 2006, she spent a year working in Colombo, Sri Lanka with a local women’s group and public health organizations. Joya then moved to Washington D.C where she spent two years working with a Congressional Commission on sexual violence in U.S prisons and jails. At the time of her fellowship, Joya was pursuing her Master’s degree at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. After her fellowship, Joya wrote: “Being around my colleagues and CBWN’s members was truly inspiring. The fellowship reminded me that I can operate very independently, that I am truly adaptable, and that I am happiest ‘in the field.’ I leave Cameroon with some rediscovered 'joie de vivre’.”

Introducing: Olive Fonjeu Fokou

09 Jul

After attending the ‘Ecole Supérieure des Sciences, Economiques et Commerciales’ (ESSEC) in Douala, Cameroon in 1990, Mme. Olive Fonjeu Fokou quickly found work as a financial controller, followed by four years as a sales marketer for an insurance company.  During those same years, she became increasingly aware of, and concerned by, what was ultimately an economic and social crisis in Cameroon.  There were many who took to the streets to express their dissatisfaction with the status quo, and what struck Mme. Fokou in particular was the role of the youth in this civil strife.  However, she felt that these very youth lacked the social education and means to advance their causes.

It was shortly thereafter that Mme. Fokou founded AMCODE, and immediately began to involve herself amongst various governmental Ministries in an attempt to uncover just what programs existed to socially educate the youth, including young women.  In 1995, the issue of HIV took center stage and for the next nine years AMCODE took part in trainings, seminars and programs for the youth on this very issue, partnering with the government, as well as international organizations such as GTZ and UNICEF.

When funding was limited, Mme. Fokou managed to oversee various revenue generating activities, the longest standing of which has been the selling of honey, which after fourteen years, she continues today.

Over the course of the last few years, AMCODE has expanded its mandate from a focus on the education of youth, and awareness-raising around HIV/AIDS, to include such areas as the environment, local governance and gender; and it is through such associations as the CBWN that Mme. Fokou envisions a further expansion of AMCODE’s wide-reaching programs.

Olive Fonjeu Fokou

Posted By Joya Taft-Dick

Posted Jul 9th, 2010

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