For the past five years, 30-year-old Sandra Ngondji has worked as a successful ICT expert in Montreal Canada developing logistics applications, doing computer programming and maintenance. It was a high paying job but Sandra knew something was lacking. “I’ve always wanted to accomplish a social good as an ICT expert, but that is almost impossible in this field where everything is about the money.”
But while doing a random internet search for volunteer opportunities, Sandra fell on a Cuso International placement in Cameroon. “When I saw the Cuso International opportunity, it was a feeling beyond perfection. It was chance for to fulfil my dream of combining the social and the professional in my daily work so I immediately applied.”
And she was selected. Today Sandra volunteers with Cameroun Ecologie (CAMECO), a national organization working on the intersection between Climate Change and gender equality and on local economic development. Despite being a national organization of such scale, CAMECO lacks the basic digital tools to run its daily operations and programs in the field and Sandra is filling this gap. In a few weeks she will be launching their first ever website, and is also introducing a central network system for file sharing and storage.
“Right now she is indispensable in the functioning of the organization”, declares Emmanuel Nounga, one of the organization’s program managers. “Our institutional memory has been stuck in random hard drives and personal computers, while other important materials have been abandoned in paper files gathering dust on the shelves.” Sandra also serves as an ICT advisor, training staff and volunteers on how to manage the site, proposing technological solutions to their daily tasks and writing articles on the work of the organization.
Sandra who has her roots in Cameroon says it wasn’t a very hard decision to leave Canada for this assignment. “It’s helping me reconnect with my ancestral sources while helping others. When you live in the West it’s easy to assume that the entire world is on the same scale when it comes to communication technologies. It’s not, and to be able to bridge that gap is a privilege for me.”
It is her goal that by the end of her placement, there would be capacity within the organization to continue with the work that she started.