“I came to Russia to study and return home to develop Cameroon,” Tatiana Dense Koussi, graduate of RUDN Academy of Engineering
Tell us what has changed dramatically in YMD?
There have been many serious meetings in Cameroon: with the Ministry of Employment and Vocational Training, the Ministry of Secondary Education and the Prime Minister’s Office. I presented the projects that we are ready to implement at YMD.
In the spring, during the YMD Innovation Challenge Cameroon 2023 awards ceremony, we signed a Memorandum of understanding with the structures of the Ministry of Youth Affairs: the Multidisciplinary Center for Youth Empowerment (CMPJ Réf de Yaoundé) and the Diaspora Youth Return and Integration Support Program (PARI-JEDI). This is one of the best things that happened to YMD.
How did you convince the Ministry of the importance of your project? What does the memorandum provide?
How did you convince the Ministry of the importance of your project? What does the memorandum provide?It took several meetings to talk about the impact our projects have on Cameroonian youth.
The signing of the memorandum can be considered the beginning of productive work with promising young Cameroonians aged 15 to 35. The purpose of the memorandum is to support the authors of projects in the field of technological innovation. Cooperation implies support, training, assistance in the implementation of projects, empowerment of the participants of the YMD Innovation Cameroon 2023.
What projects does YMD do?
The first project is the construction of the Academy of Innovations and Excellence. Young Cameroonians and other Africans can receive training in new technologies in the areas of agriculture, energy, information and communication technologies and healthcare, as well as develop start-ups. Now we are looking for investors and partners to help us implement this project.
The second project is Back to School in Nigeria. Last winter, YMD went to rural areas and distributed school bags to children from poor families, brought benches for them to sit in class, and painted classrooms. YMD promotes quality education as one of the UN sustainable development goals. The smiles on the children’s faces when they received this support are unforgettable! We are grateful to Africans and Russians for donations. One of the partners, by the way, was RUDN University residency graduate Collins Nwachukwu.
The third project is YMD Innovation Challenge Cameroon 2023.
Tell us more about the YMD Innovation Challenge.
In Africa, we really want to empower youth in entrepreneurship, research, innovation and long-term solutions to existing problems on our continent. YMD is eager to create an environment where youth can participate in the development and growth of society. We organized a competition for the best innovative project “YMD Innovation Challenge Cameroon 2023”. Our partner was the Ministry of Youth Affairs, in particular the Multifunctional Center for Youth Empowerment.
The main goal of the competition is to provide Cameroonian youth with an opportunity to demonstrate innovative ideas and critical thinking skills in order to solve social problems, implement projects and encourage active young people.
The participants offered innovative solutions in agriculture, technology, energy, education and science. 12 people made it to the final and presented their projects to the jury. I was so amazed by the potential of our young people, and I’m glad that we gave them the opportunity to show themselves.
The winners received prizes from partners — BEROCA, AfricaUnity, Hakila Group and Phoenix Lab Company: they were invited to participate in startup incubators, trainings and
- Smart Parking Project (app for determining parking space);
- Biogas project (using recycled plastics to make building blocks);
- Project for automatic ecological oven (with solar energy source);
- Agro-industrial project.
How have you changed during this period?
I got my driver’s license, passed the IELTS exam, enrolled in a six-month online course on e-commerce and digital marketing. I was also interviewed on a national TV channel to inspire the youth and talk about YMD.
I was in the presidential office for the first time in winter, as part of the delegation of the diaspora “Cameroonians Abroad”. I couldn’t believe that I was there sharing how I want to influence society with the knowledge I received in Russia. The second time I came to the National Day of Unity of Cameroon. Traditionally, a gala dinner was organized after the procession in the morning. I was a guest at this event and saw President Paul Biya, but from a distance, because there were a lot of people. I still couldn’t believe my eyes, but I was very proud of myself. I’m sure one day I’ll get an audience with the President.
Futsu Mununa, Minister of Youth Affairs and Civic Education of Cameroon, invited me to participate in Youth Week and National Unity Day events. There I talked with other activists about the development of our nation.
I am very proud of what we have achieved in just 4 years through youth camps in Moscow, conferences, school projects in Cameroon and Nigeria, YMD Small Business Support for Young IDPs from North South and South West Cameroon and competition “YMD Innovation Challenge”. We hope to impact the lives of more people and become an instrument of change. The best is yet to come.
Can RUDN University students join YMD?
Yes, sure. Ten RUDN University students from Ghana, Cameroon, Congo and Nigeria have already become part of our organization. If you are over 17, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you detailed information on how to become part of our team.
Why Arabs talk loudly, how science helped find love, what is the connection between quickstep, patience and the Arabic language – read an interview with Anna Lashina, the best graduate of “Foreign Regional Studies: Middle East”.
How finances and furniture are connected, why Russian prefixes terrify a foreigner and where they cook the most delicious shawarma – read an interview with Anton Borodin, the best graduate of the Finance and Credit program from Finland.
Read about how to fall in love with chemistry and not get out of the laboratory, eat berries during practice and survive classes in physics in an interview with Yulia Romanchuk, the best graduate at Pharmacy.