Loka Agnesis is a 42 year- old widow with four children. She has always wanted to be a welder and so she enrolled in a training school, which she could not complete due to lack of fees. With the little skill acquired, she started serving as a local welder with Cameroon Development Cooperation (CDC) before the outbreak of the ongoing Anglo/Francophone crisis. Before the crisis, she was receiving about CFA50.000 ($85.56) in a month, which she used to comfortably meet the needs of her entire family. However, with the advent of the crisis, Agnes went without salary for a year. Her condition became even more worse, when the cooperation was closed down because of the crisis. She had to sit hopelessly with her children in the house having nothing to support her family.
In March 2019, Agnes was invited to an entrepreneurship awareness campaign organized in Bokwai, by Missional Enterprise Partnership, Cameroon (MEP- CAM). MEP-CAM took special interest in Agnes because of the fact that she is a widow with four children, whom she could hardly meet their needs. She was selected and trained on entrepreneurship, and later on assigned to a welding workshop for continuous mentorship. This intervention is what makes her to see MEP-CAM as God sent “I see MEP-CAM as God sent especially, when I was selected to enhance my skill in welding. This was an opportunity for me to do great things by improving my knowledge and skills in welding and managed to open a workshop of my own. These were all my hopes and dreams, which I had once lost. But now, I am very much fulfilled that the training has taken me to great strides.”
Loka Agnes is yet to complete her training but is already making iron windows, gates, knifes and pots for her neighbors from which she receives at least CFA 40.000 ($68.761) monthly. When she receives this work from her community, Agnes takes it to where she is learning, uses the available material at the shop to do her work. She can now provide food, clothing and other necessities for her family. “I am just so excited that even in the absence of my husband, my children and I can live well and happily too. I thank God for the day I engaged with MEP-CAM,” she said. Agnes has gained the attraction of many people around her neighbourhood, who find that though a woman, she has engaged herself into works commonly believed to be done by men. She plans to expand her workshop by December where she will train both male and females as a way to break the gender stereotype concerning women and welding work in her community.