LEADERSHIP is doing the right thing when nobody is watching.
The student population of P.S.S Douala is about 1,200 boys and girls ranging in age from 10 to 21 years, form one to upper sixth. There is no way the teachers can run after each and every student to stop them from getting involved in the vices that abound in every student environment. The students have to get help in order to develop the skills to make the right choices even when no one is watching and running after them.
Without youth leadership, there will never be the next leaders in line and there will be no one to carry on the Leadership torch of the community and the country. With this in mind, the TESHO Team was asked to have a two-day working session with the students of P.S.S DOUALA to talk Leadership to the forms five to upper sixth students on the 7th and the 12th of December 2018.
The Content of the Leadership Conference:
The forms 5 to upper 6th students are young leaders who need to develop leadership skills so they can make the right choices on the following:
- - What to wear and how to wear it.
- - What to eat at what time in order not to become overweight.
- - How to overcome peer pressure so you are not drawn into smoking, breaking bounds and sexual promiscuity.
- - How to start building a second CV so that a background check will not reveal any negative behaviour patterns that can stop future employers from giving these students posts of responsibility later on in life.
- The need to learn leadership skills is apparent when children hit their teenage years. Choosing the right group of friends and making the right choices will determine if these youths will navigate the teenage years with as little damage as possible or go down the wrong way and end up as one of the disaster statistics.
The students all admitted that they admire those who have succeeded in life. Their measure of success was based on a great job, good salary, big house, big car, a beautiful wife and well-behaved children. We agreed with them that those material goods are a translation of the good life but then we told them we had bad news for them. If they wanted to be that successful, they needed to start the preparation NOW by the right behaviour and the right life choices in order to earn the right certificates and the right references.
This leadership workshop was animated by their peers in the persons of Desmond Fomukong, Mbi Emmanuel, Ndam Donatus and Vashti Njokom under the watchful coaching of Dr Fon Elizabeth the TESHO CEO.
The young members of the TESHO team all shared with the students their own leadership journeys as student leaders who are now in the university and still behaving as leaders due to the foundation they had built-in secondary and high school.
Their message was clear and simple; leadership starts with self- discipline, self- leadership, self- worth, self- confidence and making the right choices under all circumstances.
Mr Emmanuel Mbi, one of the speakers, was a young man who used to keep dreadlocks and because of his dreadlocks, he got turned down at the bank and many people feared to interact with him. He told them leadership is also about people judging you and drawing up conclusions from the non- verbal information that you pass through your dressing, hairstyle and behaviour. These non-verbal messages are emitted to those who meet you and interact with you. Mbi Emmanuel revealed to them that from the time he decided to become a clean-shaven and neatly dressed young man, he has had many opportunities to succeed in life with the help of people in his community who trust him more. That was a powerful testimony to the young people.
Dr Fon Elizabeth also let the students know that the next step for most of these youth leaders is group leadership. That is where they begin leading clubs in school to start undertaking their journey in leadership by learning how to persuade, influence and listen to others.
Leadership is also about how they as children can make their parents happy and proud of them.
Some of the things that will make their parents happy and proud are:
- -Bringing home excellent academic results.
- -Walking their talk during the holidays.
- - Giving up the cat and dog way of interacting with their parents in exchange for a more loving way by say appreciating their parents for the sacrifices made to send them to such an expensive school like PSS Douala and by telling their parents they care.
It all ended up with a question/ answer session after students had written out their questions anonymously on pieces of papers distributed to them at the end of the leadership conference.
Questions asked included:
- - What do you do when you have leadership skills in you but other students intimidate you and make you not to open up?
- - Is it right to have a boyfriend while in secondary and high school?
- - What do you do when your parents don't live happily or never tell you they love you?
- - What do I do to overcome my shy nature?
See other questions from the students in the photo section.
Our evaluation and that of the students was that the TESHO conference was successfully executed with good participation and feedback from the students many of whom wished their parents could be part of the TESHO idea so as to build a happy home and family life.