- Who is Moma?
My name is Moma Sandrine Lenyonga, I was born in Nkwen Bamenda, North West Region of the Republic of Cameroon. Growing up in Bamenda was quite interesting, but in a neighbourhood where people lived below the poverty line, life wasn’t easy. For example, eating a meal of rice and stew was considered a privilege. We however kept ourselves entertained by playing different childhood games; we would assemble and form different teams to play unique games. This kept us quite distracted from our situation. This communal spirit is gradually disappearing with the changing times and coming of smartphones; children hardly play outside.
- Tell us a bit about your career path and what led you to the role you’re in today
I am a Journalist, blogger and interior designer. I currently work at the Ministry of Communication, I am also the Centre Regional Coordinator for the Cameroon Community Media Network, (CCMN) a network that helps to mould peace journalists. These two jobs fall under peace journalism and corporate Communication.
I have had a passion for both journalism and design since I was about 8 years old. I always told my parents I would be a journalist when I grew up, I was also fond of transforming my mother’s old clothes into something I could wear.
- How did you get into this line of work? Is your passion your career?
After my GCE Advanced Level Certificate, I enrolled at the University of Buea, where I studied for Bachelors of Journalism and Mass Communication for 3years. A year later, I enrolled into a skills centre, where I was trained on interior and exterior decor. Within a period of 3 months, I had already acquired sufficient knowledge and started my own designing firm, Skiway Designs and Services.
- What has been the highlight of your career? A moment you cherish to date?
In the field of Journalism, a major undertaking was covering the ‘anglophone crisis’. Sometimes just getting the story was very challenging. I remember one scary experience, we were travelling to Kumbo and got stuck in the middle of an encounter between the separatist fighters and Cameroon’s military which lasted several hours. This happened both on our way there and back. I sustained a slight injury when a bullet got into my bullet proof vest and burnt my hand. It was so painful but it healed within a week. I still have that memory etched in my mind.
- What challenges do you face day-to-day?
There are several but I will highlight only one as it seems very apparent among my friends and peers. Sexual harassment is commonplace in journalism. I’ve been a victim in several cases both at my place of work and from news sources.
- Which woman do you look up to in your life? Who inspires you?
Rosaline Akah Obah inspires me a lot. She is passionate about her job and never gives up. She is the National Coordinator of the Cameroon Community Media Network, CCMN, and excels in her role as a peace journalist and trainer. She is a selfless person who is passionate about community development and the welfare of women and girls.
- Having achieved as much as you have because you navigate the world as a woman, would you have achieved more or less otherwise?
I think being a woman has served as a blessing in some cases and a setback in others. There are interviewees I have had the opportunity to do just by virtual of being a woman. There have also been cases where I wasn’t assigned a daring task simply because of my gender.
That notwithstanding, I don’t think my gender has been an impediment in any way from achieving what I set out to do. I have always been a go-getter and to that effect, I have been climbing the ladder to my professional career, slowly but surely.
- What do you hope the future holds? And what can you tell young women as they work towards their goals?
I look forward to becoming a better investigative journalist while upholding peace journalism standards.
My advice to young women is that they should never give up on their dreams. Determination is key if one is to achieve their dreams and goals. Above all, before you engage in something, you need to be passionate about it because if you lack passion for something, you will give up very easily.