Contributing to socially responsive natural resources sector development in Cameroon

Since returning from his Mining Regulation and Management Africa Fellowship sponsored by the Australian Government at Curtin University in 2012, Rodrigue Lele Fotie has been making major strides towards advancing development in his home country of Cameroon.

Rodrigue established Green Heart International (GHI), an organisation dedicated to corporate social responsibility, safety in the workplace and environmental issues. The organisation held its first General Assembly earlier in the year and adopted two development projects for implementation in 2013.

“The first project, Electricity Management in the Household, aims to help the local population to economise electricity consumption, which is an environmental issue, by giving them the right techniques and best practices, and encouraging them to develop and use renewable energy,” explains Rodrigue.

“This project will help families save more money and reduce the frequent daily electricity interruption due to insufficient energy,” he adds.

The second project from GHI focuses on safety management in the artisanal mining quarry of Bandjoun and aims to protect artisanal miners from injuries and long-term diseases in the mining quarry where over 400 people, including children and women, split basalt rock into gravel.

“Currently, four interns, including a female geologist, two male electricity technicians and one scientist, have been engaged to work with GHI to develop these projects while being trained on sustainable development value,” says Rodrigue.

Mindful of the importance of maintaining professional links with Australia, Rodrigue successfully negotiated a formal relationship between the Western Australian School of Mines at Curtin University, Australia, and the School of Mines of Meiganga, Ngaoundere University, Cameroon. A team from Ngaoundete University is gearing up for a visit to the Western Australian School of Mines in the near future.

Rodrigue also partnered with Peter Godwin, Director of IntierraRMG, Australia, to organise the participation of Cameroon, led by Dr Fuh Calistus Gentry, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Mines, Industry and Technological Development, to the Mining on Top Africa Conference in London, held in June 2013 and organised by the Commonwealth and IntieerraRMG.

As testament to his expert contribution to the field of mining in Cameroon, the University of Dschang recently invited Rodrigue to share his knowledge in mineral economy and sustainable development in mining with current students.

“The Mining Management and Regulation Fellowship gave me knowledge and skills in safety in the workplace, environmental protection, mining sustainability, mineral economy, the social aspects of mining for development, including corporate social responsibility, and especially the value of time,” explains Rodrigue.

“Indeed, I had a background as a Geologist before the Fellowship, but after the journey and through knowledge acquired in South Africa and Australia, I gained a range of other skills that have opened my mind in terms of development actions that can be undertaken in Africa in comparison with what is being done in Australia,” adds Rodrigue.

An advocate of Australia Awards, Rodrigue encouraged his colleagues to apply for an Australia Awards – Africa Fellowship in 2013.

“My colleague Arnaud Tonang Zebaze has just been awarded a Fellowship to study Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in South Africa. Skills from his award will help with the implementation of some of GHI’s development projects,” reflects Rodrigue.

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