We are Team XIII – The Cameroon Experience begins!

Academic Research, All Posts, Decoloniality, Decolonise Your Mind, Partnership, Teams, The Cameroon Experience
Note by the editor: This post was written in week 2 of the ASA Acaedmia project (mid-May 2024) and gives you an impression of the momentous start for the group. Watch out for their next posts on the progess of the project!
Dear Readers,

We are happy to announce that new The Cameroon Experience has started and we invite you to take part in our journey throughout 2024. To let you take part in our ASA Academia project called “Rethinking education: Decolonising internationalisation and knowledge production“, we would like to introduce ourselves and tell you a little bit more about us. Read about our team, our goals, and our hopes for this exciting experience!

In the photo you can see the members of Team XIII from right to left: 

 

About the ASA Programme

The ASA Programme is an educational and capacity-building initiative that aims to raise awareness and understanding of diverse regional and professional perspectives to address pressing global challenges.  Offering seminars, projects, and support for sustainable engagement, the program provides participants – including students and young professionals from Germany and the Global South – with expertise in development policy, practical experience, and training to integrate sustainability and global justice into various aspects of their lives, whether in education, careers, or civic engagement. The overarching goal is to empower participants to effectively contribute to the implementation of the ASA Programme. It is non-profit and politically independent. It is mainly financed by grants from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). In addition, it receives funding from the majority of the federal states in Germany. It aims to contribute to the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda and achievement of the  Sustainable Development Goals  in education, politics, business, and society, facilitated through international collaboration and multi-stakeholder partnerships between institutions in Germany and partner countries.

 

About our Project

Titled “Rethinking Education: Decolonising Internationalisation and Knowledge Production,” the project brings together students and faculty from the Karlsruhe University of Education (PHKA) and the University of Yaoundé 1 in a bi-national, North-South partnership. Adopting a bi-directional approach, the student tandems critically examine colonial legacies embedded within university structures, curricula, teaching practices in both countries – and in themselves.

Beyond academic research, the teams will try out decolonial lessons in Karlsruhe schools and produce insightful content to disseminate their findings. Spearheaded by PHKA’s Professor Dr. Isabel Martin and Dr. Eric Enongene Ekembe from the University of Yaoundé 1, the project challenges the often one-sided treatment of colonialism by reflecting on the issue through both a German and Cameroonian lens.

This collaborative cross-cultural endeavor calls for urgent action to dismantle the persistent colonial influences in our own minds and in education, heralding a transformative approach to rethinking and reimagining education on a global scale.

Let us introduce ourselves to you!

Hi there!

My name is Jessica, but people call me Jessy. I am 26 years old, hold a Bachelor’s Degree in teaching English and Art, and I am currently enrolled in the Master’s program Cultural Mediation. Being able to participate in the ASA program (organized by Engagement Global) and thus the first “Cameroon Experience” is a huge honor for me, and I am looking forward to intensifying my decolonial research. I developed an interest in decolonial and postcolonial theory during my Bachelor studies but deepened my interest while working as a student helper for Prof. Martin, which allowed me to gain insights into the current research concerning decolonial English Language Teaching (ELT).

I decided to apply for the project in order to put theory into practice, as my understanding of decoloniality involves exploring theoretical concepts on a practical level. However, since only one exam and the Master’s thesis are missing for my graduation, the decision was no easy one, as I am also eager to finish my studies and start working. But the chance to work bi-directionally on a topic of my interest and also work in Yaoundé sounded too compelling to pass up. When I received the acceptance of my application, I was extremely happy and could not wait for the project to finally start.

The first project phase in Germany started on 22 April, and the other participants had to move to Karlsruhe, but for me, it was more relaxed since I already live here. The first project week started with online seminars organized by Engagement Global, including lectures and workshops covering topics such as international development cooperation, feminist development cooperation, the effects of coloniality on development studies, and many more. It helped us to find common ground and gain insights into development cooperation, which was especially interesting and new for me. In the second week, all of us are were trying to find a focus concerning what exactly to work on over the next couple of months. This has been difficult for me so far due to many reasons, one of them being the overwhelming possibilities we can work on, which sort of stresses me out as it seems like a ton of work. However, I think feeling comfortable in the uncomfortable is part of striving for decoloniality.

My task within Team XIII is not set yet, and we are still discussing what exactly we want to work on. But we will keep you updated, for sure!

 

Hey everyone,

I’m Theresa, a social worker currently pursuing a Master’s in Peace and Conflict Studies at Philipps University Marburg. On a theoretical level, I’ve been deeply engaged with power dynamics, inequalities, and feminist and postcolonial theories for quite some time now. Through my Bachelor’s in Social Work Plus – Migration and Globalization, followed by experience in youth work and political education, I’ve gained insights into deconstructing power structures. Right now, I’m particularly interested in exploring themes related to temporality, abolitionism, and Afrofuturism.

Outside of studying, I love getting creative. Lately, I’ve been making linocut prints with feminist and Afro-diasporic themes. When I’m not making art, you can find me outdoors— gardening, riding bikes, hiking, climbing, slacklining, or just chilling with a picnic. I recently moved to Karlsruhe for this project and I’m excited to find some great spots to watch the sunset.

My activism focuses on Afro-diasporic and BIPoC communities. In March 2023, I founded the BIPoC Feminist Literature Collective Marburg, which aims to provide a safe space for FLINTA students with experiences of racism. We organize weekly reading circles, readings, and writing workshops. Additionally, I initiated the Marburg regional group of the Initiative Schwarze Menschen Deutschlands (ISD) to connect Black people in Marburg and strengthen our collective efficacy.  Through intense discussions, idea exchanges, and listening to each other’s experiences during Black Community Get Together, we mutually empower one another.

By taking part in the Cameroon-Germany Exchange, I hope to blend my activism with academic study. I’m keen to question the dominance of Western academic perspectives, reflect on my own biases, and work towards decolonization in a collaborative way. And I’m especially looking forward to learning from my colleagues from Cameroon, and together, building transnational solidarities across different perspectives and experiences.

I’m really looking forward to the internship and all the different opportunities it offers. Even though I’m not sure yet what my tasks will look like exactly, I’m very curious.

 

A warm welcome to those diving into this piece!

I am Bright-Mercy Ebane Ndutu, 22 years old, and a final year student from the Higher Teacher Training College Yaounde and the University of Yaounde 1 in Cameroon. I specialize in Bilingual Letters, teaching both English and French. I aspire to become an “Anglais” teacher for Francophones and a “French” teacher for Anglophones. Besides academia, I have a passion for singing, engaging in thought-provoking conversations, watching movies, and exploring diverse opportunities that push me out of my comfort zone. This helps me discover my true potential, strengths, and areas for improvement.

I’m currently participating in the ASA Academia Programme 2024, working on a 6-month project called “Rethinking Education: Decolonising Internationalization and Knowledge Production.” I’m collaborating with five other project participants, two of whom are Cameroonians, and three are from Germany. The first phase of our project already began in Karlsruhe, Germany, at the end of April and will run through till mid-July, followed by the second phase in Yaoundé, Cameroon, starting in September. It is interesting to note that all of us project participants are women, which exemplifies the saying “Educating a woman means educating the whole world.

With a critical analysis of language use, specifically the English language and the New Englishes, we are enthusiastic about contributing to the success of the UN Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and turning them into practical realities.  I believe that this experience will greatly contribute to the success of my teaching career as a secondary school teacher and equally broaden my understanding of development cooperations.

The ASA Academia Programme is an exchange initiative that promotes bi-directional learning, aiming to create a more equitable world where everyone’s opinions are valued and considered. I am particularly grateful to the ASA Team (Pioneers and Organisers) for launching this incredible initiative to transform the world positively and create a conducive environment for people of all languages, tribes, genders, and races. With our diverse perspectives, we all have unique contributions to make in our respective societies and play significant roles in global development. As Tom Robbins said, “Equality is not in regarding different things similarly, equality is in regarding different things differently.” Therefore, we are ready to learn, unlearn, and relearn pressing global issues to achieve our goals in order to propagate unity in diversity. We are optimistic and hopeful for the best.

Cheers!

 

Hello Everybody,

I am Kongnso Larissa  Faiza, and I am 24 years old, born and raised in Dumbu, Cameroon. I obtained my Bachelor´s Degree at the University of Yaoundé 1. I  am currently  a student teacher at the Higher Teacher Training College in Yaoundé. My love for reading, watching movies, cooking, travelling, and trying new things has built a deep appreciation for diverse cultures, perspectives, and narratives, which I love to share and discuss in social settings. My  commitment to learning and my desire to connect with people from diverse backgrounds has led me to participate in the ASA program. I believe the program provides an ideal platform for gaining multicultural knowledge, implementing bi-directional learning, and fostering meaningful personal development. To me, the ASA program is aimed at implementing the SDGs of the United Nations’ Agenda 2030. Our project titled “Rethinking Education: Decolonising Internationalisation and knowledge production” is directly concerned with SDG number  4 which is Quality Education, making me think of new ways of developing new ways of learning and producing new knowledge. My participation in the ASA program reflects my commitment to learning, my passion for connecting with diverse cultures.

Hi there,

my name is Ann-Christin, I am 25 years old, and I am currently studying International Studies/Peace and Conflict Studies at the Universities in Frankfurt and Darmstadt. In my studies I mainly focus on development cooperation and its inherited power structures and colonial legacy. In these disciplines, language is often considered a “neutral” means. But it is not: it can shape worldviews, perceptions and perpetuate power imbalances – especially English with its colonial and imperialistic legacy. Language is always power. This is why it is a huge honor for me to take part in this project about the decolonization of language and language awareness. It is a great opportunity to not only learn about decolonial approaches but realize them in cooperation with our Cameroonian partners. I am really looking forward to that!

During my studies I was working in a project about the role of school in the integration process for refugee children. We visited the schooling opportunities in refugee camps and conducted interviews with the teachers and parents. All of them highlighted the importance of education and language as the key for a fulfilled future. This made me more interested, and I started tutoring refugee children myself. In doing so I became well aware of the shortcomings of schoolbooks: they emphasize Euro-Anglo-centric and neo-colonial perspectives. This inspired me for my work in this project together with my Cameroonian tandem. We want to review English school books and analyze how they perpetuate colonial ways of thinking and teach English from a very Euro-Anglo-centric-based point of view.

But first of all, it is very important for me to decolonize my own mind and to challenge my own views again and again. So let us start to learn to unlearn and relearn!

Hi!

I’m called Shonkeh Sandra Ngainjang, I’m 21 years old and I’m a Cameroonian. I’m currently in the Higher Teacher’s Training College Bertoua, in the first cycle where I’ll obtain my DIPES 1 (Diplôme de Professeur de l’Enseignement Secondaire premier grade) this year in October. I’m training to become an English Language teacher in secondary schools.  I’m excited to connect and share some details about myself. The first thing about me I like to share is you will always find me head bent over a novel, no matter the genre, I will read it. And I enjoy doing this because it goes in line with what I study in school. However, I do enjoy doing other things, such as being aware and learning new things and ways of living, watching movies, especially horror, talking with friends, going out to dance with friends and I do admire the basketball sport, I’ve always found it interesting.

Being part of the ASA program, I think that the program offers a perfect opportunity to acquire multicultural understanding, facilitate two-way learning, and promote significant personal growth. For me, the ASA initiative is geared towards advancing the Sustainable Development Goals.

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