Today, I would like us to meet a multi-talented young man from the Northwest Region of Cameroon. I’ve watched him grow from a very humble beginning when he graduated from high school to a world class development professional about a decade later. He has braved the very odds on his way to the top and still continues to make news. He has traveled to at least two countries in five of the six continents in the world and has this unique way of doing ordinary things in an extraordinary way that makes him a leader and sets him apart from his peers. He has this exceptional quality of tending many irons on fire with wax on them at the same time.
Thank you sir, it’s a great honor for me to be here.
Can you kindly introduce yourself? Who are you? Your full name; when and where you were born; where you live and what you do for a living.
I am called Abongta Shu Moncha. I was born in Bafut, one of the principal Fondoms in the Northwest Region of Cameroon. Today, I live and work in Yaounde as a Strategic Information Officer for an American international organization called Palladium (previously known as Futures Group International).
What does your work with Palladium entail?
My present work with Palladium entails providing Technical Assistance to Governments and other local as well as international organizations to develop information management systems. For example, right now, I am providing Technical Assistance to three key Ministries in Cameroon to develop a national Monitoring and Evaluation System linked to a Management Information System for the care and support of orphans and vulnerable children’s programs within the framework of a USAID funded project.
May I know your academic profile!
Well it’s a little complicated hahaha. To spare you the trouble of naming all my Bachelor Degrees and certifications, I hold a Masters Degree in Anthropology, a Project Management Professional Certification and currently studying for another Masters Degree in Monitoring and Evaluation.
Why did you opt to follow the career that you are following? What is your motivation?
Two main happenings contributed to my becoming an international development professional and motivational speaker today. Firstly, I was part of this life-changing organization – Gold Touch International (GTI)where I got exposed to the world of positive thinking and personal development. It so transformed me into knowing that whatever you dream of, you can become and being somebody who is not afraid to use his brains, I told myself I needed nothing but the best. That was the foundation to becoming a motivational speaker today. Secondly, sometime back, I worked for UNICEF as Senior Programs Assistant and was more passionate about Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) but, I had a Boss who after noticing I was interested in M&E, told me one day that I could never become an M&E Professional you know, I was taken aback by his statement. Coming from GTI where I was trained not to believe in impossibilities, I told myself I will do whatever it takes to not only be an M&E person but go places with it to prove that what I want I get it.It was a long and difficult road but I went back with determination to do a Bachelors and later a Masters Degrees respectively specializing in Medical Anthropology, a certification in Project Management, and a number of certifications in M&E.
Tell me some of the ups and downs of your present job; the thrilling moments; and have you had some moments that are not so pleasant?
You know, the kind of work I do brings me in contact with lots of people from different backgrounds and operating at very high levels in governments as well as lower levels within communities in different countries. I have to exhibit a very high level of organization, dynamism and tact. Sometimes, the results are excellent thus motivating me to do even more; sometimes issues spring up that could kill my moral but given that I have to get things done in order to move forward, I am bound to identify the origins of such issues and nip them in the bud. I travel a lot which makes me get to know other cultures and meet people but trust me, sometimes the traveling gets too frequent and becomes a difficulty.
If you were to go back and start life from zero, tell me some of the things that you would change in your life; or would you follow the same path?
Honestly, I got to where I am today the hard way. Though it’s given me a lot of experience and made me much stronger, I can’t recommend such a path to anybody else. You see when you go through pitfalls, you have a responsibility to ensure that those who come after you and listen don’t fall into them too. If I were to take it all over, I would still want to be who I am today but not certainly using the same path to get there.
You happen to be a blogger, what motivated you to start blogging?
First of all, I love writing. I had this passion for writing before joining Gold Touch International back in those days and it used to be manual, only a few got to read my writings. then the email came along and I started sharing my writings with friends by email. As a motivational speaker and with the coming of the social media, I told myself, “This is what I wanted; this is the time to get millions the world over to enjoy my articles.” So I started a blog.
Having been blogging for a good number of years now what have you found to be the benefits of blogging
First and foremost, I blog for the love of it. I know it’s a source of income for many but I am very satisfied when people read my articles and comment on them. But over time, I have had people inviting me to present keynotes talks at their events. I have gotten motivational speaking contracts thanks to people who subscribed to my blog. I remember the last time I was in Europe, I got a thousand Euros at the end of a surprise invitation to talk at an event.
What challenges do you face as a blogger?
Firstly, it’s much work to maintain a real-time blog especially by a blogger as busy with other things as I am. There are times I have to keep late nights or wake up much earlier to write articles. I have written many articles in a plane flying to different destinations for other ends. There are equally times when I feel I am not receiving as many likes or comments as I would have loved.
What are your blogging goals?
Hahahaa, well, to get as many objective likes and comments as I can get. This tells me I am making a difference. I have received calls from people who tell me “Your article was life-changing for me.” I wish I could receive such motivating feedback more often. I hope it’s not too much to ask.
Looking at social media in general, would you say it has brought good or harm?
Well, it depends on how you look at it. I think it’s one of the most powerful educational tools the world ever witnessed and I am sure its founders never could have imagined it would have such influence on people the world over. That’s not to say that it hasn’t got its short coming too. You know with the advent of scamming, and cyber criminality in general, some people have used it to inflict pain on others. The world is polarized and so the good side of social media does not cancel the fact that its short comings too do exist.
What is your advice especially to the young people who are the highest users of social media or consumers of social media products?
I tell them each time I have the opportunity that they should use it for education – enlightenment for short. Many have legitimately become rich thanks to social media. There are those who have gotten jobs, and run businesses. I think you can legitimately benefit through it. They should shun negatives and the horrific aspects associated with it. It’s not because you can defraud people through social media that you should. It’s about your person.
Wow! There is a lot in the pipeline. It might be a weakness on my part but there are some things that I take my time to do. It might interest you to know that I have over ten manuscripts lying in my drawer set to publish mostly novels and personal development books. I equally have over fifteen screen plays set for shooting.By the way, I will be sending a formal invitation to you to edit one of my upcoming books. It will be an honor for me.
Let me congratulate you on that. Now, tell me. Looking at the youth of today, how prepared are they to take over leadership from their parents tomorrow? The way we see youth behaving, one can be rather pessimistic about the future. What do you say?
The youths of today unlike the time when we were growing up are exposed to a lot of information that normally should make them better placed to take up responsible leadership positions in the future. I think the popular cliché “The youths of today are the leaders of tomorrow” made many of them think that it’s by birthright. They have failed completely to know that becoming the leaders of tomorrow means they have to prepare today and not tomorrow. Many are youths who want a free lunch. Millions of them are getting enrolled into extremist movements and other outrageous ventures wanting quick riches. Sad enough, our educational system is not helping them with better options but I think there is hope if the leaders of today start doing something to prepare those of tomorrow.
Many young people don’t seem to care about God any longer. They don’t go to church, indulge into criminality and that seems to make the future very uncertain. What is your reaction?
I say it always that anybody whether youth or adult who plans without God or whoever you conceive him to be is planning for disaster. Knowing God humbles you and predisposes you for the better side of life. A Godly person will not defraud others of their hard earned resources; a God fearing youth will not engage in terrorist activities. Opting not to serve God is opting to serve the devil and this becomes evident in your way of life.
Any political ambitions? What are your dreams for life?
Hmmm political ambitions, NO! I am informed about politics but not interested in becoming a politician. It’s true that many of my activities especially in my community of origin make many think I might be nursing some political ambitions. I say no because I think I am not made of material for politics. I prefer a quiet life, serving communities for no expectant reward other than the satisfaction I get for doing what I do.I love to see transformed communities. My dream is to be known as a powerful social change actor.
How do you envisage pursuing this dream?
First of all, I am equipping myself with the requisite know-how. I am studying for another Masters Degree and I have about two more to do God being my helper. Secondly, I have my hands on deck already. Within my community as well as other communities, there are a number of social change projects that have been executed thanks to my help. I have been supporting development projects in about 7 African countries for the last three years and I plan to do more if God gives me the strength.
What is your personal philosophy of life? The philosophy by which you live?
I strongly think that while hard work, focus and persistence are central to success in life, you will get nowhere if you don’t clearly understand that it’s only in working for the interest of others that you work for yourself. It’s only when you put others first that God rewards your efforts and so I approach everything I do from this perspective.
What are your favorite past times?
I have three of them: reading, writing or drawing (painting)
Let’s look at your family. You definitely are married and have children. Can you kindly introduce your family?
Sure. I am married to one of the loveliest and most dynamic women in the world. She is a Reverend Pastor and just like me, involved in a number goodwill programs. God has blessed us with three wonderful kids, a boy now in secondary school and two girls both in the primary school. As far as I am concerned, we’ve ended there but you know God has his own plans too.
The family is the foundation of the society. If we have bad families we have a bad society. If we have good families we have a good society. But we know that it is not easy to bring up their families in a way that they will make positive contributions to the society; moreover, we know that marriage is not a bed of roses. What strategies do you use, first of all, to have a successful marriage; and secondly so that your children grow up the right way?
I must say for a busy man like me traveling most of the times, keeping the family going is far from being an easy task. The bottom-line strategy with my wife is that I let her completely into my world. You know there are men out there who are complete strangers to their wives. I can proudly say that my wife knows me warts and all. She knows what I can and cannot do. In fact, she knows all my bank accounts and transactions and so that saves me lots of explanations that often create tension in some marriages. I keep a close eye on my children, each week when I am around. I offer them one day mostly Saturdays for them to do whatever they want with me. That way, I know them and they know me. I want them to be exemplary people in future, so I strive to be as exemplary with them as possible.
Who is your role model? What do you admire in him or her?
Hahaha that’s a difficult one. I have a number of them. My father is the first. In him, I found all that I needed to be as a man. You are one of them. You can’t imagine the positive influence you’ve had on me over the years. And if I should continue the list, I’ll talk of Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela, Thomas Sankara and Barack Obama. We all know what they represent. I equally have Muammar Gadhafi; or yes, you got me right; Gadhafi – each time I have mentioned him, people blink at me but I think even if he was controversial on some issues, don’t forget that some people have worked hard at painting him all black. I think he was an outstanding leader as far as the love of his country and the well being of his people were concerned.
Which are your favorite authors and books?
Norman Vincent Peal: The Power of Positive Thinking; You Can if you Think you Can;
Dale Carnegie: The art of Public Speaking
Napoleon Hill: Think and Grow Rich; the Law of Success
Ngobesing Suh Romanus: A Loving Woman in Tears; Moneyman; Boys Don’t Miss Your way in Life
Frederick Forsyth: The day of the Jackal; the Odessa File; The Devil’s Alternative
James Hadley Chase: No Orchids for Miss Blandish; My Laugh Comes Last; The Way the Cookie Crumbles; A Coffin from Hong Kong; The Sucker Punch etc.
Patrick Snow: Create Your Own Destiny
Maxwell Maltz: Psycho Cybernetics;
David J. Schwartz: The Magic of Thinking Big
What is the one most powerful statement you will like the world to know?
I will like every single person to know that when you were born, every bit of information or skill you need to be successful in life was already coded into your human system. What you become in life depends on how you use this world of infinite possibilities already in you. I believe that is what is confirmed in Psalm 139:13-16.
Your last word to the readers of this interview.
You must have heard about the 80/20 law, it’s no joke. What you become in life is a direct physical representation of the efforts you invest. Underlying each phenotype of success are struggles, pain, sweat and determination. I read that there are no royal roads to success but once you become successful, every single road becomes royal.
You are welcome!
About Moncha Abongta
Abongta Shu Moncha is an international development professional presently working with Palladium – a US based international organization as Strategic Information Officer. He is equally the founder of a nongovernmental organization – Organization For Life Care (OFLIC) that today has a consulting arm with a portfolio of projects in four African countries. Abongta is equally the founder of Living Lectures that has introduced a new dimension to motivational speaking and personality development by bringing in an edutainment component. Abongta is a very busy man engaging in many other activities at OFLIC and Living Lectures.
He is married and a father of three. He lives in Yaounde, the capital city of Cameroon and is very receptive and approachable. You can reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/abongta