Hello, I'm Monique Kwachou.
I am a Cameroonian writer, youth worker and scholar of gender and education for development. I came to each these passions differently.
At the age of nine, an aunt gave me my very first diary asking me to use it to express myself rather than “talk back to my mother”. That is how my passion for writing was born and how I came to see writing as a pressure relief valve akin to those on pressure pots. I have since used writing as a form of personal therapy, advocacy, activism, creativity and above all a way to relate with people.
Likewise, I fell in love with youth work through a culmination of experiences. As a teen, I was what one would term ‘trouble’ or ‘troubled’- depending on your perspective. Either way, it generally boils down to being young and misunderstood, needing the right amount of attention, affection, direction and more. It was this background and later experiences I had while volunteering with local NGOs as an undergraduate student that would birth my zeal for youth work. Knowing from experience what could have made things better for me as a teenager and wanting to be for other young people who I had needed in youth; recognizing that in many ways, the social and development issues we struggle with as a nation can be traced to the way we socialize our young people- what we fail to equip them with, the ideas we foist onto them and the ways they are restricted and more… all these formed a foundation for my belief in and passion for youth development work.
It is for similar reasons and at a concurrent period that I came to my passion for gender and education to the point of developing myself as a career scholar and instructor of gender studies at my alma mater. As a student of Gender Studies and Sociology, I considered how we could undo the negative socialization I had recognized as the root of several social development issues ranging from pervasive sexism and tribalism to poor governance and political apathy among Cameroonians. Lessons on the agents of socialization inspired my research in the field of critical pedagogy and a fierce belief in tailoring education to address social justice and development issues.
Today, any role I play- author, Executive Director of Better Breed Cameroon, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, or otherwise reflects one or more of the passions outlined above and I am immensely grateful for that.
Finally, I’ll say welcome to my little corner of the internet. I have strong opinions held loosely and like to share them here. Through this site, I chronicle my experiences of the world, reflect on the pulse of the people I identify with- women, Cameroonians, believers, advocates… and establish connections through the empathy storytelling elicits.
Monique Kwachou holds a dual honors B.Sc. in Women’s Studies and Sociology from the University of Buea (Cameroon), an M.A in Eduction, Gender, and International Development UCL Institute of Education (UK) and Ph.D. in Development Studies from the University of the Free State South Africa.
Monique plays multiple roles as a creative, academic and development-practitioner. She is the founder and currently executive director of Better Breed Cameroon, an organization that aims to contribute to sustainable development in Cameroon by raising critical consciousness in young people, fostering their capacity to live full lives in Cameroon, encouraging active citizenship and leadership potential, countering harmful socialization, and generally contributing to the rearing of a Better Breed of Cameroonians.
As a scholar, her research and practice focuses on the theory and application of African-feminist thought, education for addressing social injustices and attaining sustainable development. She has lectured with the University of Buea's Department of Women and Gender Studies on and off as part-time instructor since 2015 and is currently positioned as a postdoctoral research fellow with the Higher Education and Human Development Research Group of the University of the Free State, South Africa.
Monique’s writing portfolio spans between poetry and creative nonfiction. She published her first book, a poetry collection entitled Writing Therapy: A Collection of Poems, with Langaa RPCIG in 2010. She has since had her work published in various international platforms such as Africa is A Country, This is Africa, as well as various of African writing including To See the Mountain and Other Stories (2011), Summoning of the Rain (2012), It Wasn’t Exactly Love (2015), Of Passion and Ink (2020) and much more. She has previously served as the Southwest Regional Public Relations Officer for the Anglophone Cameroon Writers Association.