In a continent where development is most often threatened by the lack of adequate health security, it takes alot of determination to be fully involved. This week, we talk to Ngime Epie, a Cameroonian volunteer/health communicator, on the role courage in his passion for peace building.
On a personal level, how have you experienced your courage?
For me, courage has been a permanent requirement for the completion of my everyday assignments, both professional and family related. In my neighborhood, where I grew up, courage is indispensable. From school fights, which I took part in, to crossing the road safely to trying to convince members of a community to take up a project, I have always needed courage. My first school fight taught me the greatest lesson in life. As a school boy, I was one of the favorite targets for bullies partly because I was always calm. Then one day when a guy about my age seized my pencil and asked me to write with my fingers, the whole class burst out laughing at me. My head swelled with shame but my heart also bit faster with anger. In that state of anger, I gave the guy a serious knock in the face and he fell. Every one stopped and looked at me in shock. The guy got up, rummaged his bag and found my pencil which he handed back to me. He never bothered me again. I realized from then that I could accomplish a lot if only I could summon the courage to do anything.
–What does courage in the international system look like?
The international system is composed of many sub-systems and coordinating all the sub-systems to function as a unit is an uphill task. It involves some tasks like asking people to change their mentalities and habits and this will take a lot of courage on the part of the actors and stakeholders. The fear to fail at an international level that is always lurking behind and around any project to be undertaken commands courage from those who implement them or oversee their implementation.
–What are the stumbling blocks you have ever encountered that could deter your courage?
I am my first stumbling block. Sometimes, I let fear get the better part of me and it stops me from accomplishing so many projects. Another factor that usually discourages me is the thought of lack of means and resources to complete an assignment or task. The dearth of financial and material resources is a constant challenge to my courage in carrying out some professional tasks.
–What is the place of Courage in carrying out a successful project?
The thought of succeeding invariably brings to mind the existence of failure. At the start of every project, there is the fear of failure lodged deep in the hearts of conceivers and actors of the project. Therefore, courage is at the heart of every successful project because taking up a project means overcoming the fear to fail.
Who are you?
My name is Ngime Epie. I am a language services provider I multi-task. First, I work with a Cameroon-based NGO, Global Health Dialogue (GHD) where I serve as Assistant Project Officer. I am also a freelance translator (Fre<>Eng) and a contributor to a number of blogs
Can you tell us more about your work?
As the Assistant Project Officer in an NGO, I take part in sensitization campaigns in local communities, training of leaders of other NGOs. I also help to design projects, attend meetings and make recommendations to local authorities through reports. Most importantly, I design health projects to impact the most remote regions in my country. I also try to seek immediate as well as long term solutions to serious health problems plaguing remote areas in Cameroon.
What are some results you’ve seen in your work?
Some of the sensitization campaigns I take part in have resulted in change of attitudes and habits. Also some of the recommendations have helped local authorities in taking decisions that have affected, positively, the lives of the local peoples. Tackling a recent cholera outbreak in 2011 was one of my satisfying results because I acted spontaneously through GHD to tackle an epidemic in a community which I have never been used to.
What are your favorite things about working for GHD?
The best thing about GHD is flexibility. At GHD, most projects are designed with a lot of flexibility to minimize the impact of its failure, just in case. Also, the professional working environment is convivial
What are the challenges of working and living in your duty station?
It is not easy to live in town like Buea where information does not circulate freely. Information is also poorly managed and not archived. This is one of the challenges of carrying out a project in Buea. Lastly, the cost of living in Buea is slightly higher than average.