Helah Robinson

Helah Robinson (Vital Voices in Cameroon): Helah did her undergraduate degree at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. She graduated in 2009. During her studies, Helah studied in Dakar, Senegal for five months, traveled to Guinea and the Gambia and volunteered with the African Assembly for the Defense of Human Rights (RADDHO) in 2008. She also interned with Vital Voices Global Partnership. After her fellowship, Helah wrote: “As cliché as it sounds, this summer was truly a life changing experience. I learned not only new skills and how to work in varying environments, but much about myself as well. How I interact with people, work best with others and more. Furthermore, in a more practical sense, I had no video, editing, much interviewing or blogging experience before this summer. Now, I have developed those skills in addition to experience working abroad and more practice in a foreign language. I feel I am more capable, confident and equipped to do real substantial work.”

Profile: Eric Dongmo

08 Jul

Eric Dongmo is not, of course, a member of UCOMAS. He is, however, an integral part of the union and indispensable to its success. As a co-manager of the AMA Women Project, Eric has been involved with l’Union des Commerçantes du Marché Sandaga since its inception and is as committed to its future as any one member of the executive bureau.

Eric Dognmo, Co-Manager of the AMA Project

From the first day, stepping off the airplane and being greeted by a big sign with our names splashed across it, Eric, and his big smile, has been a constant presence in my and Johanna’s lives in Douala. He is always first at the market, working all day everyday with the women traders, helping get UCOMAS off the ground. As the primary contact between the director of the AMA Project Mme Kah Walla and the women of UCOMAS, Eric is not only aware, but also sincerely dedicated to every aspect of the association’s goals. He has been the primary resource for all UCOMAS trainings, has spearheaded each project (both enacted and planned) and has guided UCOMAS’ growth from the very beginning. But even more impressive than Eric’s devotion to his work is his genuine interest in promoting this cause and empowering the women in Sandaga.

Over the past five weeks it has become very clear that Eric is not just a strong supporter and facilitator of UCOMAS, but is in fact the CORNERSTONE of its stability. As I mentioned in a previous post, the creation of UCOMAS was a pragmatic decision. Academic theory aside, it was understood that better treatment of women, who are large contributors to the Cameroonian economy, would only serve to benefit society as a whole. Although he is a man and not a trader in the Sandaga Market, Eric fully appreciates the worth of investing in women and ensuring equal access to opportunity.

Eric Dongmo, Co-Manager of the AMA Women Project

I don’t want to give the impression that Eric is an extremist, constantly ranting or rambling about the issues. To the contrary, he is a very clam and collected individual who is just very aware. It’s incredible to see the relationships he’s developed with the women of UCOMAS and, while asking for nothing in return, he continues to work tirelessly for a better future for all.

Posted By Helah Robinson

Posted Jul 8th, 2009

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