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Lawong Kendra Yaah – #IWD2024

My name is Lawong Kendra Yaah, a PHD holder based in the North West region of Cameroon. In my vision of a more inclusive future for women, Firstly, I believe that all women should  have access to equal opportunities in education, employment, and political participation. Secondly, I believe that women’s voices should be heard and respected in decision-making processes at all levels, from the local to the global. Lastly, I believe that women should be free from violence and discrimination in all forms, and should be treated with respect and dignity. 

1. Share a bit about what you do and why you chose that field 

Currently,  I am a graduate teaching assistant at the University of Bamenda and I sometimes train members of organizations and youth bodies on public speaking and effective communication.  My passion for education particularly on gender, language, and communication, motivated me to study the English language. I believe that my background and experience have prepared me well for this role, and I am equally excited to continue learning and growing in this field.When I made up my mind on what to study in university, I knew that I wanted to pursue a field that would allow me to make a meaningful difference in the world. Studies in gender, language and communicative styles seemed like the perfect fit, as it’s a field that can have a profound impact on the lives of individuals and communities. I also knew that I wanted to focus on language and communication, as I have always been fascinated by the way people communicate and connect with each other. I believe that language is a powerful tool that can be used to build understanding and create positive change in the society.

2. ⁠You are a recent PHD holder, what motivated you to do it?

 My motivation to pursue a PhD was driven by several factors. Firstly, I was passionate about my field of study and wanted to deepen my knowledge and understanding. Secondly, I wanted to challenge myself and push the boundaries of my capabilities. Finally, I wanted to make meaningful contributions to the body of knowledge where simple yet complex aspects such as gender in relation to communication are concerned. I equally wanted to help others to learn and grow through my research and most importantly to wipe off the stereotypes that only men can achieve higher in education.

3. Did you experience challenges in terms of inclusion? How did you overcome these challenges?

I experienced several challenges some of which include: As class coordinator throughout my University studies, I will face bullying and belittlement from men and at times from family and friends too. Sometimes, people will say “why are you doing PhD? No man will ever marry you because you are too educated” But I am currently happily married.

Also, financial instability was a bigger problem. I needed to travel out of town to collect data, at times when I get to Yaounde for example, I will not meet my respondents but steadfastness and my passion to make it big in the academic market kept me going. 

I must say that, despite all the challenges I faced, I now see them as opportunities which were geared to prepare me for a better future and I almost everyone is proud of my achievement.

I overcame these challenges through one word “Persistence” I was and will still be persistent till the end not forgetting all the support, love and financial assistant I got from some kind hearted people.

4. What inspires you to advocate for inclusion ?

I have experienced my own share of discrimination, from family, from friends, from co-leaders and workers and I understand what it means for people not to believe in you talkless of even giving you that space. I have lived in a minute cite where majority of its tenants were persons living with disabilities, I saw them suffer, I saw them struggle to get to school, carry water etc, all these motivated me to amplify my voice in the fight for inclusion particularly inclusion of women

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