Let me introduce myself. My name is Brunelle Ngo Njehemle. I work in management support to the environmental and social department at NHPC in Cameroon. This is a project to build a 420-megawatt hydroelectric power station on the Sanaga River.
The energy sector in Cameroon is characterized by an insufficient supply but has potential deposits of natural gas, hydroelectric power and other renewable energies (solar, biomass, wind). The Nachtigal Amont project, on which I am currently working has been developed in order to solve the energy deficit problem. This important additional source of stable electricity production will allow industrial development and an access to energy of quality for Cameroonian households. For more information, see the presentation of the project in video below 🙂 !
My missions consist of piloting activities such as environmental conservation and socio-economic development of the riverside populations affected by the project in order to restore their livelihoods. For instance, most of the people living around the Nachtigal Falls are working as sand sellers. Because of this project, their occupations have been stopped. At this stage, I make sure that these residents receive financial offers to start new economic activities such as agriculture.
To be able to achieve this, I obtained after my secondary school a bachelor in biology and physiology, then a master’s degree in Environmental Science at the University of Yaoundé 1.
Passionate, I think that any development of a country should be done with the preservation of our environment in mind. The most difficult part of my career has been to persuade the various project teams to take environmental and social causes into account in their action plans. In addition, my place as a woman in this environment is sometimes called into question. For example, in 2011, it was rare to see a woman on a construction site in a remote part of the country. Therefore, my colleagues did not considered me as an environmentalist. They exclaimed: “A woman in a construction site? It’s hard to believe!” I was able to prove, that this is where I belong through my professionalism and passion in the accomplishment of my tasks. It is therefore essential to overcome these prejudices and to show that there are no jobs reserved for men.
Because of the orientation received in education, many young girls are limited in their choice of careers. Some girls are convinced that being a scientist does not fit with beauty, marriage and children. About this, I believe that it all depends on planning. For my part, once I get home I wear the cap of a mother and wife. In my leisure time I like to go to the gym with my husband. Together we form a great team, supporting each other in our projects.
Believe in yourself girls and keep working hard to achieve your dreams. Just remember that nothing is easy. If you have good science skills, don’t hesitate to take the plunge. Don’t let the stereotypes built around jobs affect you. You can do anything you dream about! ☺
Written by Angela Y.