Christian Owona Eyenga, from Mbalmayo, Centre Region, Cameroon, has always strived to be an ambassador for peace.
His goal is to complete his Ph.D. so he can become an associate professor specializing in conflict resolution and open a peace consulting firm.
“I became interested in the accompaniment of young people because in my community young people are abandoned to themselves,” Christian says. “Many of them had to abandon their dreams and projects because of a lack of follow-up and supervision, sometimes even because of lack of a model of society.”
One valuable lesson Christian learned by mentoring and coaching is that young people often have big dreams that can facilitate change, but they sometimes need someone to be supportive.
“What has marked me the most in my work is that every young person hides great dreams that can be turned into excellent projects that can bring about change,” Christian said.
From his work experience, Christian offers four main tips for anyone interested in coaching and mentoring youth around conflict resolution:
Take the time to listen to what young people feel, think and say about a situation before offering an opinion.
Help the young people feel understood by learning their needs and engaging with them.
Lead by example
Show your mentees positive actions and complete those actions together. Let them apply the same principles on their own.
Not every young person has the same behaviors and needs. Adapt to their personal needs and understand that it takes time to mentor or coach young people.
Are you interested in learning how you can be a mentor to youth? Visit our YALI4Youth page for more tools and resources.
The views and opinions expressed here belong to the author or interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of the Network or the U.S. government.