In 2020, Earthworm Foundation initiated the Hilary Thompson Scholarship fund in memory of a colleague and a member of our Executive team, who dedicated 16 years of her life to Earthworm Foundation.
The first two beneficiaries of the Hilary Thompson Scholarship have begun their training – which commenced at Earthworm’s Centre of Social Excellence (CSE) in Yaoundé, Cameroon – and are now undergoing practical sessions at the Cavally landscape project in Côte d'Ivoire.
The first recipients of the scholarship are Maigane Etienne and Yeo Kiteni Mawa from Haiti and Côte d'Ivoire respectively. From Haiti to France and now Cameroon and Côte d’Ivoire, Maigane Etienne applied for the scholarship with the aim of impacting local communities around the world.
"Respect for human rights in the business environment is very important to me, and that’s why participating in this training is essential because it helps me to know how important the work of a social practitioner is on a daily basis", Etienne said.
At the age of 24 and with an international law and human rights degree, Etienne believes that the CSE short course training lectures at Yaoundé gave her the skills to communicate with local communities in the Cavally project and beyond.
Yeo Kiteni Mawa is the other beneficiary of the scholarship. Originating from Côte d’Ivoire, Yeo has a master’s degree in private law and is a volunteer at a local NGO in her community, which aims to empower women.
"During this short session, we learned that land is a source of livelihood. But when it is wrongly used, it can cause conflicts," shares Mawa.
“I decided to apply for the scholarship because I saw that one of the objectives was to reinforce the capacity of young graduates in law and human rights, which is what I have always wanted to do. During this short session, we learned that land is a source of livelihood. But when it is wrongly used, it can cause conflicts. That is why I believe it is essential to involve communities at all stages of a project; so that they can feel engaged,” Mawa said.
The vision of the Hilary Thompson Scholarship is to provide opportunities for young women to become future leaders by acquiring practical, business skills and international experience in human and labour rights.
In this light, Etienne and Mawa joined a two-week training for social practitioners at the Centre of Social Excellence in Yaoundé. This training involved participants from Cameroon, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti and Liberia. The aim of this two-week session was to equip young professionals with social and environmental skills pertinent to businesses.