About the Founder

OUR FOUNDER

WIDCO Founder:
Mr. Akondi P. Samson

Born in Cameroon in 1963, Mr Akondi is a Community Development Consultant. He holds a diploma in Civil Engineering (1982) and extensive experience in this field.

From 1982-84, he worked as an Assistant Engineer for an Italian firm, J.V. Torno while on Students Industrial Works Experience Scheme (SIWES) during the construction of the 600MW Shiroro Dam in Niger State – Nigeria. Under the supervision of an American consulting company, Chas T. Main International, he was involved with the construction of the Spillway [the overflow channel of the dam] He also thereafter worked as an Assistant Engineer for Mass Design & Associates, a consortium of Belgium and Nigerian architectural and civil engineering consultant companies. The company was in charge of the construction of the low cost industrial housing area in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria and the construction of the Broadcasting Corporation house for the Niger State Broadcasting Corporation of Nigeria.

In 1984, Mr. Akondi returned to Cameroon to head the Building and Construction Department for the Comprehensive College Mbengwi (Momo Division) for two years. In 1986, he became Senior Instructor in the construction department of Nacho Comprehensive High School where he taught courses in Site Organization and Management, Construction Technology and Practice, and Professional Legislation (contract legislation and practice). While teaching in the high school, he took on additional assignments as a Community Infrastructure Design Consultant in Bamenda for Multi-Tech Design Consultants.

As one casualty of a widespread economic crisis, in 1988, Mr. Akondi lost his job. He reinvented himself as an independent consultant and decided to devote himself to social concerns for his community initiating programs of educational concern to the community. In 1990, he joined the Social Democratic Front (SDF) party as an active member of the party and in 1991 he became Coordinator of the SDF for his village Awing – one of the largest villages in Santa Sub Division which is the Subdivision from which the Prime Minister, head of government from the ruling CPDM party at the time and the chairman of the party SDF all haled from.

He was subsequently elected Pioneer Secretary in 1992 for the district executive bureau of the SDF party in Santa Subdivision and subsequently Vice District Chairman in 1995. While holding these positions and as one of the main officers responsible for the implementation of his party’s political action plans in the area, he was principally responsible for the mobilization of his party militants in the Sub Division, development of local political strategies and coordination of the execution of National Political Action Plans. He effectively coordinated the party’s political activities in the area which included the mobilization for the October 1992 Presidential election, the 1996 municipal elections and the 1997 parliamentary elections.

It was through these activities that his interest in the New Concept on Women empowerment was fortified. After the enactment of a series of Liberty (Rights and Freedoms) Laws of 1990 and the Cameroon Cooperative Movement Law (Law # 1992/006 of 14/08/1992 and its Decree of Implementation # 455/PM of 22/11/1992), Mr. Akondi discovered the legal platform from which he could begin to implement and execute what would become the WIDCO concept.

In early 1993, Mr. Akondi decided to make his own community (Awing) aware of the economic and social advantages available through the Cooperative Laws and in the Rights and Freedoms Laws. He recognized that his community could work in joint ventures for social and economic improvements (with tax exemptions). In August of the same year, with support from his SDF colleague, the Distinct Chairman for the Jakiri Electoral District, Mr. Akondi launched a sensitization and community awareness campaign in Jakiri Sub Division that led to the creation of Jakiri Women Initiative Development Cooperative societry Ltd (JAWIDCOS) in November 1994 and its subsequent legalization in June 1995.

While accomplishing this in Jakiri Sub Division, he organized the first produce marketing cooperative society – marketing coffee which is the most common cash crop in the area – for his own neighborhood. The cooperative society became the Mbeme Cooperative Produce Marketing Society of Awing. Being the first produce marketing cooperative society to be successfully mobilized and legalized in the NWP Cameroon then (today NWR), in conformity with the new laws, the Registrar of Cooperatives personally handed the certificate of registration to its members in a public ceremony.

However, difficulties in continuing these activities resulted soon thereafter due to obstacles presented by civil administrators and bureaucratic red-tapes concerning legalization of Non-Governmental Organizations [NGOs]. NGOs began to be viewed as agents of opposition to the existing political status quo.

Mr. Akondi, along with a few courageous colleagues created The Promotional Organization for the Rural Population (THE PRORP) which they were able to legitimize as an economic institution under the Cooperative Law. In actuality, the organization was more of a human rights awareness campaign and support system for the rights and elevation of the community at the time. For fear of reprisals and eradication, it seemed most expedient to approach the legalization under the banner of economic improvement. From 1994-98, under the legal umbrella of THE PRORP, with financial sponsorship from the World Bank, WIDCO was born. From 2003-04, the umbrella organization for the WIDCO Pyramid (WIDCO) replaced THE PRORP. WIDCO was successfully established as a non-profit, apolitical NGO.

In 1995, Mr. Akondi was elected Vice Chairman of the SDF party in Santa Sub Division. He became Vice Mayor of Santa Rural Council in 1996 and served until 2001.

Mr. Akondi resigned from active politics to continue with the propagation of the WIDCO concept, an institution in which he deeply believes and continues to devote his experience, multifaceted skills, and knowledge. To this day, Mr. Akondi holds that there is no political party in Cameroon that has a proactive program for women empowerment, none that approximates the profoundly humanistic and practical objectives and vision of WIDCO.  Notwithstanding the fact, many individuals share and support the ideas of the WIDCO Concept.

While propagating the concept, the founder believes strongly that its successful execution lies on the bedrock of community education, capacity building and empowerment of the civil society as an ignorant population always breeds most often ignorant leaders whose leadership is always uninspired and consequently dictatorial, characterized by poor and unaccountable governance.

Contact WIDCO now and see how you can help or partner with us.

As a business or institution, there are several ways that our organization can help you establish a presence in the countries we operate in, as well as helping to make a positive impact for women in those societies.

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