Cameroonian University graduates: what next?

Martha Fumunjere
Posted December 28, 2012 from Cameroon

Yes, every year, thousands of young Cameroonians graduate from the University of Buea including other state and private universities. The graduating students are all happy to leave with their certificates in their hands. Bravo. Job well done. Your hard and assiduous work has paid you off well. Every one is excited for the great achievement. Well then, my question is what next. The worries lie in the areas of securing an employment. Are the dreams of most graduates met after successfully going through the University studies in Cameroon?

In this area, I am more concerned with female graduates. I have been through that road and so, I have these few tips. It is usually said that, he who wears the shoes knows where it hurts most. Let’s assume a few reasons why you might have been pursuing your educations. To get lots of money/ good job For social class To influence decisions in your communities For self esteem As you pursue your academics, you certainly had a very big dream for a beautiful job which will bring you great wealth and the rest falling into place. Well dear sister, please do not get discouraged if this might not be the case in Cameroon. You may start asking yourself were you have gone wrong. Please do not blame yourself. Learn from some of our mistakes made along the line in our education and help your younger ones so that they take the better trail.

First of all, our Cameroonian education in most cases is not job oriented. It is rather focused on general studies and not professionally driven. Those areas which are professionally oriented have restricted access. In these fields, we mostly find boys//men partly because of our cultural norms. Girl children have less time put into their studies than boys and so, the boys turn to excel better than their female counterparts. Again, some of those cultural beliefs which limit women to certain domestic responsibilities still prick our societies. Most often, parents spend an adequate amount of time encouraging their male children to go for courses in engineering, medicine just to name a few so that they can pick up great jobs at the end of their studies.

The girl child is often left on her own. She dabbles into what ever area she can and when she finds her self into some of these fields cut out for men, very little or no encouragement is given to her. In some cases, the girls are rather discouraged.

We must start deconstructing these cultural ills and encourage our girl children to study in the fields formally cut out for men. This is one of the means through which they can influence political changes in our societies, as well as pick up good jobs after graduating from Universities. Having said that, it should not be a reason for you to surrender or stop fighting to succeed. Now you are sent out into the world. Basically, you have very little or no financial assistance from your parents. They believe they have given you all that you need and should be able to find your feet into the job markets. The journey will not be an easy one to start with. You will discover a lot of challenges amongst which are:

Sexual harassment In most cases in Cameroon, we do not get jobs in our trained areas due to one or two reasons; where ever you go to drop your applications for a job, and you find a male, in most cases, the men will ask you to go to bed with them before they offer you a job. Please dear sisters, do not sell your integrity and dignity because of that.

Here is a short story about an experience After Graduating from the University of Buea as every other graduate, this lady was very eager for a job. Normally, she had passed the age of depending on her parents, and had to look for means to support herself. She went around dropping her applications. Her mum who is of late memories now, asked her to assist her in some of her business activities. She followed her around for a while hoping that through some of her contacts, she could easily pick up a job. Being very handy, she ran around helping her mother out with one problem or the other. In one of their visits to a friend’s office, her mother introduced her to this business colleague. She had to work with this man for a short while following up her mum’s documents. As they worked together for about three days, she presented her own situation to him. Hoping that, he could help her secure a job as an administrative assistant. He took her file, studied it and told her she was good for the job but, she could only get the job on one condition. The excitement in her was bashed away, as the man asked her for sex before he offers her the job. She was very disappointed with this man. “Just a few minutes ago you told me your third child is my age sir. How would you feel if your daughter is placed in a similar situation?” she asked the man. “It does not matter.” He answered nonchalantly. She then told him she was married and also that, what he was asking for was against her faith. “It is ok to me” he responded “I am also married and so, it makes us even. And in any case, I will not take it away. No one will ever know I passed there. Most of these girls you see working here went through the same process.” the man continued. “God will understand.” At this point, she grew very angry and got up, picked up her file and told the man off in his face and left his office. Back home she told her mum who was shocked on hearing the story. Her mother told her that, it was a common phenomenon in most institutions in Cameroon. This same thing repeated itself in Yaoundé and Douala where she had also dropped her applications. So dear sisters, do not sell your integrity for the sake of money. You got the education, the knowledge. You are more than spreading out your legs to men for a job which you may end up not having. Again, let it be registered in your minds that, after they have had what they want, not only might you not have the job, but they will insult you. You may never tell what ever their selfish motives are so please, be at your watch.

When she narrated to an elderly lady what happened to her. She confirmed because she had heard similar stories. she was very impressed when this young lady told me she would have taken the matter up if only she had recorded the discussion. This woman asked her the following questions. How were you dressed during your visits to his office? What was your line of conversation before the incident?

The lady answered that she was decently dressed in a suit, and that she was focused on the issues concerning her mother.

From all indications, it showed that the man in question just like most well known men in many institutions was working out of the normal norms. It is either there is no job to offer or there is a job.

Well, she was free. But how many of our sisters are being sexually harassed because of their need for jobs, and how many have given in to the offer; and what is their testimony? Some men do not want to see anything in the name of skirts without wanting to go underneath. Be careful.

There are several ways you can make it without selling your body to a man for a job. The following suggestions could be of help to you because it has been for me and others.

  1. If you have the opportunity to continue your education after your undergraduate studies, please do because, you could remain jobless for years without picking up any job. If you continue your studies, it will provide better opportunities for you to secure greater/better jobs because of your qualification. Do not remain on the same spot. After my undergraduate studies, I did not think of doing this immediately. If I had done it, I would have gone places. But thanks to God that I am forging on now with my studies.
  2. Secondly, create your own job. You will ask me how. Well, when I completed my undergraduate studies and saw what was to be the cost for a job, I decided to go into a small business. I fried things like groundnuts, chin-chin and even made banana cakes for commercial purposes. From this, I was able to support my self. And as time went on, I picked up a job at a Nursery and Primary school where I taught for three years and from there I moved up the ladder to another profession. So dear, start off a small business while waiting. From the business, you can enroll back for other professional courses which will fortify you for greater things.
  3. Go in for voluntary services. This will give you working experience and as such prepare you for better things.


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