Cheveners in Cameroon pay it forward
The Chevening application process can seem overwhelming for anyone who is doing it for the first time. The British High Commission in Yaoundé, Cameroon have been harnessing the power of the network to help applicants navigate the process.
In a new initiative at the high commission, both alumni and current scholars were asked to each coach a potential applicant through the application process. The coaches did not write the application for anyone, but gave tips, moral support, and guidance on how to bring out the best of themselves in their application.
Incredibly, six of the new 2016/2017 Cameroon Chevening Scholars (representing a third of the total) were successful in their applications after being coached by Cheveners:
- Lundi Anne Omam coached by Monique Kwachou
- Corinne Nkeng coached by Professor George Elambo Nkeng
- Delphine Konda coached by three persons – Lily Haritu, Monique Kwachou and Rose Wachuka of Kenya
- Tah Peter Fomonyuy coached by Lily Haritu
- Christian Achaleke coached by Cameroon Chevening Alumni Association (CAMCHEV) president Emmanuel Sanyi
- Besong Oben Eta Calvin coached by Ndzo Alieh Judwin
- Eric Besong Ayuk coached by Raymond Yurika
Mireille Djob, Press and Public Affairs Officer at the British High Commission said:
'The Chevening Alumni in Cameroon are very dynamic. For two years, they have been holding several public dialogues with youths across the country to raise the profile of Chevening in Cameroon. These dialogues serve equally as opportunities where information and advice on the Chevening Scholarship programme are propagated. This accounts for the brilliant performance of Cameroon in recent application cycles,' said Mireille. 'This is just one among the many good things our alumni do back home. I am very proud of them!'
Lily Haritu, Chevening Alumna (2012) and coach, added her thoughts on the experience so far:
'Coaching prospective candidates has involved going back in time to what it felt like when I applied for the scholarship four years ago. I find the process quite gratifying whether a candidate gets awarded the scholarship or not because when we are done, the majority of the candidates come back confessing that the application process stretched and challenged them to redesign the conceptual framework for their careers and academic aspirations. On the down side, it is challenging to handle multiple requests while running a full-time job, but I am working on my boundaries to weigh how much I can effectively accommodate.'
When asked about the future direction of the coaching programme, Lily said:
'In the past I worked on an informal basis, but after registering the highest volume of requests for coaching this year, I decided to involve the Chevening Alumni in Cameroon by assigning prospective candidates to those who volunteer to take up the challenge and give back. We hope to take this forward by designing a formal coaching program that will have an evaluation component to assess the perception of the candidates and coaches on the entire process.'