Dear Wana wa Fako, It is with great joy that I announce the launching of www.fakoamerica.org the official website of Fako America Organization on this day Saturday June 5, 2004.
Back in the mid and late nineties, while many Cameroonian cultural groups were busy establishing some form of web presence, Fako America was still relying primarily on cumbersome communications tools, such as regularly outdated mailing lists, for the sensitization and mobilization of the Fako Diaspora community in America.
Although the creation of Internet discussion fora such as Fakonet and FakoAmerica in the late nineties vastly improved communications within the Fako Diaspora community, Fako America essentially remained a 21st century organization using 19th century technology for communicating with members and potential members. All the advantages of a web presence – speedy and efficient communications, lower communications costs, global accessibility, etc. - were ignored.
Individual attempts at giving FA a website such as Mola Motoma's were stillborn due to a lack of institutional support. As a result, there was no easy-to-access location where basic information about FA (such as its constitutive documents, its purpose, the minutes and programs of previous conventions, basic information on local chapters, etc.,) could be obtained. So, in spite of the evident enthusiasm and dedication of the different Executive Bureaus, there was no major breakthrough in terms of mobilization and recruitment. Even laudable initiatives, such as the Fako America Scholarship drive for under-privileged kids in Fako division, did not get the necessary publicity it deserved.
Fakoamerica.org has, therefore, been created to address these problems that have plagued our association. It is therefore our hope that it will become a one-stop shop where everything about the organization - from the dates of past conventions to the list of currently registered members - will be available to any interested party at the click of the mouse. Not only does the website intend to become a repository of everything Fako America from 1994 to the present, it also intends to be an interactive forum where members and sympathizers alike will be able to make suggestions and/or comments about the organization. In other words, it will be the "public face" of the members-only Fako America forum.
It is worth noting that local Fako associations that are interested in having their own web space can have one created from the main FA site. We hope that this feature will be used extensively by all chapters to create a truly dynamic Fako virtual community, and that sooner rather than later, sites such as www.fakoamerica.com/fakodallas or www.fakoamerica.com/bca will become a reality.
Fakoamerica.org breaks new ground as it becomes the first Cameroonian cultural website with an online gift shop where FA memorabilia, such as T-shirts and commemorative mugs may be purchased. Without doubt, the shop will dramatically improve FA’s recruitment strategies along with its general finances, that is, if members and sympathizers actually buy items from the shop.
It is necessary at this point to thank the person who has been central to the creation of this site. It is none other than Mola Dr. Emil Isuma Mondoa who, through the Jimbi Media outfit, not only created the site's layout, but also conceived and designed the logo that adorns this site. Mola Mondoa also set up the FA gift shop and designed all the items currently on sale. Thanks also go to Mola Makuna Tande for making available the archives of Fako International from where vital information about FA’s early years was obtained, along with a number of memorable pictures from that period. Our gratitude extends to Mola Mbella Ndoko who has placed at our disposal over 100 high quality pictures from the 2003 Chicago convention. These will definitely come in handy as the site grows with time. We are grateful to Mola Jack Endeley and Mola Evella Kange whose contributions to discussions on some of the murky areas of FA's history of the late 1990s have contributed to the accurate documentation of FA’s history on this website. Final thanks go to Mola Willie Nganje and Mola Njoh Endeley, key members of the 2002-2004 Executive Bureau, for enthusiastically adopting the website idea and for supporting the project until its completion.
Wana wa Fako,
A new dawn has certainly arrived for FA as it begins a new decade with a new leadership to be elected in Dallas. At this point in its history, FA must imperatively seek to rekindle the flames of Fako America '94, while adapting itself to the exigencies and realities of today. It is my fervent wish that fakoamerica.org will play a pivotal role in a renaissance movement that will transform FA into a socio-cultural colossus within the Cameroonian Diaspora community, and at the same time, strengthen its frayed links with the larger Fako Diaspora community beyond the USA, and with the people of Fako division.
May the New FakoCentricity bloom!! May it blossom into a thousand points of light that will shine over Fako division and its people!!
Eyole ni nyo!!!