UN Fetes 75th Anniversary: Awards Prizes To Blogging Contest Winners

The event in Yaounde on Thursday, October 22, 2020, which was jointly organised by the UN office in Cameroon and “Association des Bloguers du Cameroun,” ABC, was also to mark UN Day on October 24, 2020.

The United Nations Organisation, UN, in 2020 clocks 75 years since it was founded at the end of World War II. Taking over from the defunct League of Nations. In order to celebrate the landmark event and also mark UN Day on Saturday, October 24, 2020, the Association des Bloguers du Cameroun, ABC and the United Nations office in Cameroon this month organised a blogging contest on the theme, “75 Years Of The UN. What Next In Cameroon And The Rest Of The World?” Those eligible to enter the competition were Cameroon-based bloggers and journalists.  

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Handover Of Prizes, Quality Of Entries

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The handover of the prizes took place on Thursday, October 22, 2020 in the UN Information Centre, Tsinga, Yaounde.  The prizes were handed over by Jean Njita, Head of the UN Information Centre and Communications Officer for the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office, on behalf of the new United Nations Resident Coordinator, Matthias Z. Naab. Out of the 17 entries received for the contest by the close of deadline on October 15, 2020, the least scored 60 over 100, while the highest had 83 over 100. Njita lauded the quality of the entries, saying his office was ready to collaborate more with journalists and bloggers to highlight the activities of the UN in Cameroon.

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Faces Behind The Best Four Entries  

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A jury of five – comprising a journalist, two UN Cameroon staff, a member of ABC bloggers association and a page designer, produced the following results: The first prize or Gold Medal went to Njimegne Nkwa Myriam Hemes, and the second or Silver Medal was won by Ghislaine Deudjui. While the third and fourth prizes or Bronze medals respectively went to Elsa Kane Njiale and Kimeng Hilton Ndukong. The prizes for each of the four winners were the same – a Samsung Galaxy A3 Core mobile phone, UN T shirt, UN literature and other UN gadgets.  

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Divine Mission To “Save” The World

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The first prize winning story by Njimegne Nkwa Myriam Hemes’s is entitled “Le voyage de Lucie Dinqnesh” (The journey of Lucie Dinqnesh.) It is the fictional story of a little Ethiopian girl who in December 2019 had a vision that she had been conferred with a divine mission to save the world within 24 hours! This was during the period the Coronavirus or COVID-19 outbreak was first reported in China. The girl set out on the trip to find a solution to the unprecedented health menace.

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But soon realised that the solution lay in the past 75 years. Dinqnesh then undertook to meet all 9 Secretaries General who have served the UN since it was founded 75 years ago. Her discussions with them revealed what the UN has been doing to help tackle the world’s challenges – including the Coronavirus pandemic.

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Peace, Where Are You?

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Ghislaine Deudjui wrote on “L’ONU, pourquoi la paix reste-t-elle un leurre” (UN, why is peace still a lure?). It is written as a personal letter to the UN (which is addressed as if it were a human being) on the occasion of its 75th birthday. The letter questions what has become of the world since the UN’s foundation 75 years ago. The correspondence acknowledges that the UN has done much to keep world peace since World War II, though armed conflicts and other challenges continue to plague the world.

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The article cites as examples the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, the Boko Haram insurgency in Northern Cameroon, the armed conflict in English-speaking regions of Cameroon, political instability in Mali, the COVID-19 pandemic, global poverty, high levels of unemployment…The letter concludes that though a birthday is an occasion to celebrate and enjoy, it is also time to take stock. Evaluate what was achieved, point out errors, make amends and chart out a new way forward. The article adds that it is time the UN did something to end the war in the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon.

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Strengthening UN-Cameroon Cooperation   

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The title of Elsa Kane Njiale’s entry was, “Cooperation Onu-Cameroun: L’urgence d’une politique ciblee pour la lute contre la variabilité climatique” (UN-Cameroon Cooperation : The urgency of a policy focused on the fight against climate change). Elsa begins her article by telling the story of a fictional character, Bidima Rahmane.

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After two unsuccessful attempts to cross the Mediterranean Sea and illegally migrate to Europe, Rahmane retires home to settle in Foumban in the West Region of Cameroon. He takes to farming, becoming so successful that he is considered a source of pride by locals. But one day, after a downpour, his farm is flooded, destroying all the crops and his years of labour worth millions of CFA Francs.

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Elsa says Africans had for long considered environmental matters as belonging to another planet! But today, climate change is reality in Cameroon as seen in the havoc it has wreaked. The author acknowledges efforts by UN agencies to tackle the problem, saying issues of climate change deserve continuous attention.

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UN’s Leftover Task In Cameroon

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Kimeng Hilton Ndukong wrote on “UN At 75: Time To Revisit Cameroon’s “Unfinished” Reunification Project.” He recalls that the UN’s predecessor, the defunct League of Nations, was largely responsible for Cameroon’s makeup today. During World War I, an Anglo-French coalition booted the Germans out of the then Kamerun colony. It was subsequently divided between France and Great Britain to manage as League of Nations Trust Territories.

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The UN organised the February 11, 1961 Plebiscite that saw former British Southern Cameroons or the State of West Cameroon voting to reunite with the already independent La Republique du Cameroun.  Kimeng says the reunification of October 1, 1961 is now under serious threat of disintegration as a result of the armed struggle for independence going on in the North West and South Regions of Cameroon since 2017.

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And given that all solutions so far proffered have failed to bring about lasting peace. That hundreds of thousands of English-speaking people remain displaced in the country, tens of thousands are refugees in neighbouring Nigeria, thousands have been killed and maimed, there is massive destruction of infrastructure, and unprecedented atrocities continue to be committed. It is time the UN - with its record in peacemaking and peacekeeping across the globe - intervened by deploying peacekeepers, Kimeng argues. Having sealed the reunification deal between the State of West Cameroon and La Republique du Cameroun in 1961, the same UN should now step in and fix what went wrong. To stop the endless bloodletting. Like the world body has on many occasions done elsewhere in the world in the past 75 years, he says.       

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