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On Wednesday March 11, 2015, a workshop was held in Ngaoundéré at Malo hotel on the training of youths on techniques of inquiry and data collection. Participants who came from the Center, West, North, Far-North, Adamaoua and East regions were about 50 in number. They were recruited by four different associations namely World Dynamic of Young People (WDYP) the promoter and leader of the project, AJP CEDES, Saare Tabitha and Développement Sans Frontière.

Participants came from these associations as a result of a study inspired by the civil peace service (CPS) in Cameroon to be carried by WDYP on the theme “enrollment of youths in arm groups in Cameroon”. The objective of the study is to have reliable elements in order to bring concrete ideas to fight against this phenomenon. By these, we mean strategies to be put in place by development stakeholders including government, civil society, churches as well as international organizations. In order for this to be achieved, this training of youths on techniques of inquiry was organized prior to the field inquiry which is to be done by various participants for data collection back in their various regions relative to the study.

The training began with the presentation of Friedrich Ebert foundation which is the financial partner of the training aspect of the project. This was done by Mr. Gabriel Ngwe, member of the organization who briefly presented this institution. Then came the explanation by Pierre Fichter of the objectives of the project as well as the expected results in order for strategies to be implemented.

This was followed by teachings on what action research is all about brilliantly done by Mr. Kuenzob Dupleix, Executive Secretary of WDYP. Participants were taught by the latter that action research is an immersion in our society in order to try to understand something complex and have elements to suggest relevant solution to solve specific problem. He concluded by giving some necessary conditions for this to be possible such as having a good comprehension of the theme.

After this, participants were divided into regional groups to work on the theme “enrollment of youths, positive and negative impacts”. Each group worked for about 20 minutes after which an exposé was done on the points each group raised. It should be noted here that this exercise was done in a very conducive atmosphere.

Our next item was on the precautions to be taken when working in zones of conflict which was done by Mr. Rene Teswe of Saare Tabitha and Mr. Njifenji Emmanuel Francis of Civil Peace Service (CPS). Participants were taught on some general rules to follow while inquiring in the field and the behavior each researcher needs to have such as patience and politeness.

A break was taken for launch and when participants came back to the conference hall, Mrs. Greta of AJP-CEDES briefed participants on some techniques in order to have maximum information from the interviewee before teaching participants on how to conduct semi-structured interviews.

Then came the final module which was done by Mr. Pierre Fichter, a professional of CPS and coordinator of the study. This consisted on the analyses of the questionnaire which is to be administered by the participants. With this came the end of the training and an evaluation was done to get participants’ point of view on the general organization and modules presented at the workshop.

From a general point of view, participants were very satisfied about the training they received as well as the treatment which was given to them such as housing facilities. They said they learned a lot on new themes such as what action research is all about and also how to carry out inquiry in the field. This made them very anxious and ready for field inquiry. To conclude, the workshop will help participants to easily carry field inquiry given the various techniques that they acquired at the workshop.

Fomekung Solomon Hope