In this conversation, African Philanthropy Network (APN) speaks with Bochum Samuel Bache, the Founder and Executive Director of Youth Advocates for Peace and Community Empowerment Cameroon (YAPCEC). He is also serving as the Cameroon National Youth Delegate to the Commonwealth Youth Council, and a Peace and Security fellow at the African Center for Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD). Bochum speaks more about the work he is doing in driving impact and change in Cameroon.

APN: Tell us briefly about yourself and the work that you are doing.

Bochum: I am a young Cameroonian youth leader with seven years of experience in the areas of peace, governance, and development. I believe that knowledge is what we need to be able to drive sustainable peacebuilding in our communities. I have been working closely with different stakeholders like the government, religion and traditional authorities, the youth and women as well as stakeholders in the peacebuilding, governance, and development processes. My focus is more on advancing the UN SDG’s for the development of my country.

APN: How did you end up being a leader and establishing a movement?

Bochum: Passion is the first thing that drives professionalism, when one is passionate about something, it means you give in your best to acquire the knowledge, the skills to have competence, and the capacity to deliver. From primary school, I was the timekeeper which gave me the opportunity of experiencing the responsibility of being a leader. I nurtured my leadership skills during secondary school. From there I became part of the faculty as a welfare officer of 10 departments. Further, I was just involved in Norfolk University where I was not part of the University but I served as a volunteer for three years at Forest University where I was organizing and managed all social events within the region. Apart from that, I had to

travel nationwide on all events that I organized and by that time I was a student, so I had to borrow money just to go to learn. For the sake of learning, I attended so many meetings, events and conferences to the extent people started to call me conference guy, but I was learning and I enjoyed it all.

APN: How would you describe the role of African philanthropy in your context? Is Africa’s philanthropic field changing and evolving on the continent? If YES, How?

Bochum: APN should be able to create a training course to help young Africans to understand what philanthropy is all about. More awareness will get more people involved in amplifying the work of APN.

APN: How are you addressing the power structures that perpetuate poverty and marginalization?

Bochum: By working with and involving young people, I hope to demystify everything there is to know about leadership and power. Some people may not grasp what it means to work through success independently or closely with service. I see a major challenge especially within our country being a bilingual country. Due to this it becomes difficult to access opportunities if you are not belonging to either the French speaking community or Anglophone community.

APN: How can African philanthropy practices encourage innovation and participation of youth in driving systemic change?

Bochum: Youth in Africa can only contribute meaningfully in practices of African Philanthropy when they are able to fully engage in the decision making process. Good governance, leadership, empowerment opportunities, capacity building, development work and partnership are some of the areas that young people can engage in and bring innovation towards philanthropy at all levels of life.

APN: Dependency on external funders, including international NGOs, reinforces a perception that many organisations are disconnected from their roots, have no obvious impact, and have no long- term viability. In a changing development landscape, what are some of the strategies you are exploring as an institution for sustainability?

Bochum: YAPCEC uses community-based solutions, a very cost-effective way to meet the demands of the local communities in terms of support and empowerment. The more institutions are able to develop community-based solutions to address community-based challenges, the more they create impact and obtain income to sustain their activities.

APN: What is an inspiring quote that you would like to share?

“Always look at your community of origin as a motivation to do your best to bring a change back home”.

Here is the link to access the full interview