#MySacredStory: Marienne Makoudem Tene, Cameroon

MARIENNE MAKOUDEM TENE

Cameroon
Caux Scholars Program Alumni 2018

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My name is Marienne Makoudem Tene and I am from Cameroon, a country known as “Africa in miniature” due to our diverse landscapes and climates. I am also a Research Officer in Development Economics, International Trade and Women’s Rights with the Ministry of Scientific Research and Innovation in Cameroon.

This has resulted in a less peaceful society with a lot of resentment, hatred and selfishness because we have forgotten that our country’s motto is “PEACE-Work-Fatherland”. I believe my country needs another type of leadership and my strong desire is to contribute to building it. My work is to contribute to rebuilding an inclusive society and rewiring our brains toward the meaning of PEACE . This is why I decided to enroll in the Caux Scholars Program (CSP). 


Cameroon is rife with diverse sources of division. Firstly, ethnic group tensions where more than 250 different ethnic groups and 200 local languages call the country home. Secondly, we are still reckoning with our history of colonization with French on one side and English on the other (these are the official languages in Cameroon). Our leaders have failed to create our own society. Over many decades, we have witnessed the development of deep ethnic conflict, nepotism, abuses from the ruling elite, and the implementation of the “National Balance policy” that contributed in leveling down the competencies and reducing the development of our full capacities.

CSP built my capacity with many peacebuilding tools. Before becoming a Scholar, my path crossed Initiatives of Change twice: first, as an intern in 2014, and second, as a Caux-sponsored participant in 2016. I am an active member of IofC in Cameroon and Creators of Peace (CoP) and our chapter is now in the process of setting up a Farmers Dialogue. Through CSP, I have learned that peacebuilding is a system with its own set of dynamics, challenges and opportunities. To create and implement an effective strategy, a conflict analysis is always necessary to identify the stakeholders, the objects of conflict, and the power dynamic that fuels conflict. Following this process, one can design different projects or actions that will contribute to building and maintaining peace. 

Given the specific context in Cameroon with open conflicts in almost all corners of the country, there is a general absence of equal opportunity to access resources and power. Therefore, conflict transformation, restorative justice, trauma healing, non-violent strategic actions, and reconciliation are important, if not urgent. I have learned that, no matter what, we are compelled to live in the same society and community with both survivors and perpetrators. I have learned how necessary it is for peacebuilders to develop self-care actions because this is a long-term journey and one needs to deal with her own “unfinished business” in order to help rebuild the society. 

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Cameroon needs more Creators of Peace. CSP gave me the tools and the Towards an Inclusive Peace (TIP) conference provided me with a space to apply this knowledge to an international audience. A month after the program, I facilitated a workshop on Conflict Transformation for IofC Cameroon for youth in Cameroon who desire to contribute to peacebuilding.  I also organized a Peace Café for the celebration of International Peace Day where I presented the challenges that today’s peacebuilders are facing in Cameroon. 

To further my knowledge and my skills, I am now a member of the TIP core team and in charge of organizing the 2019 TIP conference. I am planning to do three main things in the future: continue to make Creators of Peace within Cameroon; organise  a conference with other peacebuilders focusing on African countries; and hold a leadership position at the regional/continental level so that I can contribute to creating new leadership for my continent.


After having listened to the experiences of my 22 amazing classmates and friends from 18 countries around the world, I understand one thing: I am not alone. I can always rely on them’ we can build joint actions and support one another. In a nutshell, I have found my world family, the ones with whom I will push through my dream of seeing Cameroon and Africa being a safe and peaceful place for everyone.

#CauxScholarsProgram


MARIENNE MAKOUDEM TENE is in the process of completing her Ph.D. Married and a mother of five, she currently resides in Benin where she is completing an internship with the World Trade Organization.

CSPAmanda Buffington