Source: | Genevieve Egbunno, Nigerian Correspondent |April 27, 2019

Showers of praises have greeted a young Cameroonian leader and debater, Kendra Lawong, at the weekend for winning a medal at the just ended Vice Chancellor’s (VC)Word Cup Debate tournament which was held at the University of Bamenda in North Western Cameroon.

The VC’s Word Cup Debate tournament (a National Debate Competition) is an initiative of Professor Ngomo Horace, the new Vice Chancellor of the University of Buea in Cameroon, to prepare debaters in all the Universities in the country towards the annual Pan-African Debate Championship.

Kendra Lawong was honoured during the programme on Friday, April 26, 2019 for her effective leadership qualities and for making countless contributions towards making Debate and Public Speaking a culture in Africa and the world.

She has demonstrated extra-ordinary leadership by being the first female President of the Debate Club of the University of Bamendafor three years running; ensuring that members of the club are trained and equipped with debating and public speaking skills. With the support of Dr. Wangji Elvis, the club Co-coordinator, she led the debating club to a number of international debates which were hosted in Tanzania, Cameroon among others.

The Founder of HaTPhi (Hands Together with the Physically Impaired )Kendra Lawong, emerged the first runner-up in the National Public Speaking Category and the fourth best Judge for the VC Word Cup Debate.

The National Debate Competition (VC Word Cup Debate), which was hosted in preparation for the international debate festival in Ghana, December 2019, will involve over 20 participating Universities from Pan-African Countries, including Cameroon which would be represented by the Debate Club of the University of Bamenda­­ – a ticket for Kendra to represent Cameroon in Ghana.

Miss Lawong is an exceptional leader who has shown her support for Gender Equality and Community Development through advocacy and volunteerism. She was one of the 116 participants chosen across 9 West African countries to participate in the just ended Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) leadership training programme which was done in March 2019, at the Regional Leadership Center at GIMPA(Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration) in Accra.  YALI is fully funded by the US government. Her participation at YALI highlights her potentials on the international scene.  For that matter Kendra got lots of congratulatory messages from her fellow Cohort 13 Yali participants:


Miss LorineSaizonu, one of the YALI Cohort 13 participants from Liberia sent her wishes to the young female achiever indicating thus “Congratulations Kendra, you have always proven yourself to be more than what people may think of a woman. As a woman to a woman, I am proud of you as always. Keep pushing”.

Another participant SandraTuoroo from Ghana, has this to say: “keep aiming higher girl, we are solidly behind you. More grease to your elbows”. Other Cohort 13 YALI Fellows from Nigeria, Cameroon, Sierra Leone, the Gambia, Burkina Faso, Togo, Ghana, La Cote D’Ivoire, and Liberia sent her congratulatory messages;key among them are ForgbeKloh, Ruhamah, Richard Obilale, BakarySonko, Judith, Elizabeth, Victoire, Kwame (Advocate for discrimination against albinos), Maxwell (the president)among others.

The Cameroon Debate Circuit were not left out; they congratulated her and pledged their support for Kendra and her team as they move to the international space.One can only say with people like Miss KendraLawong, women’s voices would be heard and gender equality achieved in a shorter time. This gives us hope for the future that Africa will rise again.

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