This week we’re taking a closer look at the Senior Committee and Trustees who lead the charity and help develop Cameroon Catalysts overarching strategy. They work closely with our fantastic Student Volunteers to support the delivery of our projects in Cameroon.
Claire Gott – Co-founder and Trustee
Claire Gott co-founded Cameroon Catalyst in 2009 from her University bedroom with the vision to be a catalyst for sustainable change – to use her globally transferable engineering skills gained whilst at University to make a lasting and positive difference to the lives of those less fortunate. 10 years on and Claire is just as active in the charity’s development, providing leadership and strategic decision making through her role as a trustee. Claire leverages her experience as a chartered Civil Engineer managing major multidiscipline projects at WSP, to support Cameroon Catalyst in delivering on the objectives set out in its water and sanitation 5 year development plan.
‘Cameroon Catalyst has been such a big part of my life since its inception and I am incredibly proud that we have successfully delivered 10 community led projects across the health, education, energy and water sectors over 10 years, helping transform the lives of over 10,000 people in rural Cameroon. I’m looking forward to being part of the next 10 years of life changing projects’
Patrick Mballa – Co-founder and Cameroonian Liason
A native Cameroonian, Patrick has experienced first-hand the challenges facing rural communities in Cameroon. Moving to England in 2009, he has strived to help those less fortunate in Cameroon, and helped found Cameroon Catalyst in 2009. His local contacts and knowledge have been crucial for developing our work and helping ensure that our projects are designed for the local communities.
Pat has been a Member of the Chartered Institute of Building (MCIOB) since 2006 and MSc in Commercial Management in 2015. He has worked as a Commercial Manager for LST Projects for the past 8 years where he heads the estimating and procurement department. His experiences in construction projects bidding and implementation has been an asset to the organisation. Pat sits on the Board of Trustees of the charity as a Co-founder and Cameroon Liaison Officer.
‘As I reflect on the 10 years anniversary, my heart is full of gratitude for the past and present teams who have worked very hard to deliver projects year after year. And particularly to Claire, the Trustees and committee members for their passion and commitment to tackles these global issues. The difference from 2009 today is like Night and Day. The projects implemented by Cameroon Catalyst have positively impacted many lives and transformed communities.’
Laura McFadzean Griffiths – Senior Committee Chair
Laura joined the Southampton Student Chapter Design in 2015 after completing a year in industry as part of her Civil Engineering Degree. In the summer of 2016, she attended the annual student trip to Cameroon where the team were responsible for identifying the first three wells sites of the WaSH project in Mbele Mbeke, Mbangue and Tongo.
Laura was elected as the Southampton Student President for two years and in September 2018 became Chair of the charity. She is now responsible for providing guidance to various members of the Senior Committee in line with the charity strategy. Laura is currently also studying for a PhD in Structural Engineering at the University of Southampton.
“Attending the annual student trip in 2016 not only opened my eyes to the lack of basic amenities, such as clean drinking water and good sanitation, that people in rural Cameroon have, it gave me a newfound motivation and determination to use my engineering and problem solving skills to help tho
se less fortunate than myself. It also gave me invaluable experience in research and sustainable development in a third world country that I would likely never have encountered otherwise. Being a part of both the student and then the senior committee developed my leadership, teamwork and organisational skills far beyond what I learnt at University and has given me a wealth of experiences and examples to use when applying for jobs.”
James Warbey – Fundraising Manager
James has been involved with Cameroon Catalyst for the last seven years and has fulfilled a variety of student roles, including Design Team Coordinator. Since finishing his Civil Engineering degree at the University of Southampton, James has joined the Cameroon Catalyst Senior Committee in the role of Fundraising Manager. As the Fundraising Manager, James is responsible for overseeing all fundraising activities and setting a fundraising strategy. James provides guidance and advice to the Student Fundraising Coordinators and organises fundraising events at the Senior Committee level. Past fundraising events have included walks from London to Southampton and Oxford to Reading.
‘Over the last seven years with Cameroon Catalyst I have fulfilled roles including Student Design Team Coordinator and I am now the Fundraising Manager. The experience that I have gained with Cameroon Catalyst has been invaluable to my career, offering me opportunities to experience managerial roles and giving me key skills for my future career.’
Charlotte Youe – Birmingham Student Support Officer
Charlotte became involved with Cameroon Catalyst in 2013 whilst studying Civil Engineering at the University of Southampton and was involved for two years. During this time, she was involved in several projects and had a variety of roles from fundraising to PR. She took part in the student trip in 2013 including visiting Bambouti amongst other regions of Cameroon.
She graduated in 2014 and got back involved with the charity in 2016 as the University of Birmingham Student Support Officer. In this role she acts as a point of contact to the student chapter and assists where required to encourage progress within the team.
‘It has been a pleasure working with the other members of the charity for a number of years and watching student teams and projects grow to increase the charities reach and number of people that it is able to help.’
Rachael has been the Trip Manager of the Senior Committee for the past two years. She started volunteering for Cameroon Catalyst whilst studying English at the University of Southampton and now works in the travel industry. Rachael started her time with the charity as the Trip Coordinator in 2016 and visited Cameroon herself in 2017. She has decided to use this experience to organise and supervise future trips on a more senior level. Over the years Rachael has also fundraised with fun-runs and bake sales alongside preparations for the annual charity trip.
“Cameroon Catalyst has shown me how education and innovative design can improve a community. Everyone can make a difference – despite not studying engineering, I have found my own path in the charity and am eager for any student to get involved. Managing such an essential part of the charity has grown my confidence is incredibly fulfilling.”