As you probably know all too well, every day comes with its ups and downs, whether we like it or not. Consequently, it can be easy for people to fall victim to doomism: so overwhelmed by despair that they feel they should give up; but we cannot let that happen. Apathy and inaction, induced by the false belief and narrative that an impending apocalypse is inevitable, are just as dangerous as self-action denial and we cannot forget that there is a reason for hope anytime we face a challenge! We all need to understand that our society can change for the better and that despite the destruction, as long as there are people leveraging on their passions to turn challenges into opportunities, we can make a difference.
We, therefore, need a new perspective. Traditionally, discussions on development in Africa and Cameroon in particular, tend to centre primarily on one aspect – finance. This is important; but one most critical aspect that remains missing is human capital, which is the sovereign capital that is urgently needed for implementation. That is the perspective we urgently need.
You cannot address any challenge while ignoring your powerhouse. The people, especially the youth with right attitudes, are Africa’s and Cameroon’s powerhouse and how they can become drivers of enterprise opportunities is critical. Improving, refining and adapting young peoples’ skills to align with tapping economic opportunities in Africa, are vital.
So what is holding everyone back to do so? We must blame someone except our very selves even when we are the problem to start with. Na who bewitch we noh? Have you ever wondered how you could turn your talent into a skill that turns a challenge into an opportunity? Or how you could turn your passion into profits and help turn communities’ challenges into an opportunity?
We urgently need a paradigm shift in building a quality populace. The quality of people matters whether we like it or not. Throw money on passionless citizens and get nothing done, and the blame game circus continues.
The baseline : at the core of building this quality is changing mindsets. The mindset battle needs to be won lest we end up with worse representation.
Mindset Change – The How: First-Start Action Areas
1) Banish “Africa Time” misnomer: Start the meeting even when only one participant is in the room. We can influence a culture change that cannot be legislated or effected through policy & institutional changes. It relies more on individual initiative. Time consciousness is a moral value, and like any other moral issue, it cannot be instilled through legislation or policy but personal conduct and example. This calls on each of us to demand time consciousness in all our engagements.
2) Leverage existing social institutions to infuse “mindset change” logic: social institutions – especially religious (churches, mosques), traditional including kingdoms and educational (primary & high schools) should be leveraged to drive value-driven actions, aligned to challenges Africa faces. For example, in every religion, having segments of the population hungry and deprived is equivalent to the sin of selfishness. Religious institutions should tailor preaching of values to attack the negative mindsets prevalent in the continent directly. Schools should include informal curricula, psychology / social studies that should teach solution-focused values, not money-focused, from an early age and be taken as compulsory courses throughout primary and high school.
3) Voluntarily volunteer yourself to do something regardless of your degree. Remember degrees open doors and in reality mean not that much: challenges are disguised opportunities and a skill that you gain through voluntary experience can just do you the trick. The challenge for one actor is an opportunity for another with the solution, but these two opposites need to be brought together. Leveraging voluntary spirits, we have seen youths volunteer their time to get their talents retooled to requisite skills and showcased that their skills count to solving priority challenges by being guided to apply them towards solving critical challenges in Africa; and that by so doing, they stand to build enterprises that earn them money while providing solutions. You do not need an organisation to usher you into a voluntary action . Innovative Volunteerism Is your tool.
An individual must be willing to change, and the best bet for impact is to start to work with the ready – who will be mobilised into a critical mass that can then affect broader change through their actions within their spheres of influence. Become the pacesetter for positive mindset change.