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Building Trust for Unity in Cameroon


Fostering unity and trust in Cameroon.

by Marienne Makoudem, Herman Beyene, Manon Michelle Monhemius

Amidst cultural divides and internal conflicts in Cameroon, initiatives aimed at fostering trust and unity are crucial for promoting peace and understanding. One such initiative, the Trust Building Café, recently held at the University of Yaounde II Soa, provided a platform for dialogue, reflection, and action towards bridging divides and nurturing trust among communities.

Honouring a Legacy

The Trust Building Café began with a solemn moment of remembrance for Papa Pierre Oko-Mengue, a revered figure who had championed the cause of peace and trust building but sadly passed away just days before the event. Participants paid tribute to his legacy and the pivotal role he played in advancing the vision of Initiatives of Change (IofC) in Cameroon.

Initiating Dialogue and Activities

Under the guidance of co-facilitators Nueh Anitta Chuo and Valère Olinga, the café commenced with an array of activities designed to promote trust and understanding. Participants engaged in trust-building exercises, symbolising the importance of mutual reliance and cooperation in fostering unity.

Addressing Divides: Anglophone-Francophone Relations

A key focus of the discussions revolved around addressing the Anglophone-Francophone divides prevalent in Cameroon. Strategies were proposed to build trust between English-speaking and French-speaking students, as well as between Anglophone IDPs and their host communities in Yaoundé. Suggestions ranged from promoting bilingualism and cultural exchange to organising joint activities and sensitisation campaigns.

Towards Unity and Collaboration

Participants emphasised the significance of accepting cultural differences, practising empathy, and fostering inclusive dialogue as essential steps towards unity and collaboration. They highlighted the need for governmental support in reinforcing bilingualism programmes and promoting reconciliation and forgiveness across linguistic and cultural divides.

One of the participants shared, "Through this activity, I have come to understand that regardless of where we come from, be it the North or the Southwest, we are all the same. We all must share the same vision towards developing our country, Cameroon, and think like one."

Action Plans and Future Perspectives

Looking ahead, participants outlined concrete action plans and future perspectives for IofC initiatives in Cameroon. These included formal dialogues with university and government officials, the implementation of trust-building programmes, and activities such as the Circle of Peace aimed at healing internal wounds and promoting reconciliation.

Through today's activity, I realised we are all connected. What affects one part of the country affects the whole. The conflict that is currently ongoing in some regions of Cameroon is not limited to those regions alone; it impacts the entire country”, said one of the participants.

Embracing Unity and Trust

As the Trust Building Café concluded, participants expressed gratitude for the opportunity to learn, share insights, and forge connections across divides. They emphasised the transformative impact of the workshop in fostering personal growth, dispelling prejudices, and nurturing a collective commitment to building trust and peace in Cameroon.


The Trust Building Café served as a testament to the power of dialogue, empathy, and collaboration in overcoming cultural divides and fostering trust. By embracing unity and understanding, participants affirmed their dedication to creating a future where all Cameroonians can coexist harmoniously, embracing diversity as a source of strength rather than division. As they departed, they carried with them not only the lessons learned but also a renewed sense of optimism and determination to continue the journey towards peace and reconciliation in their communities.