Until recently, training was not done in Cameroon up to engineer level, thus the few number of women in the profession.
Theirs is not a common profession. Their activities – at least the most noticeable part – are in the field. They often stand focused behind compasses on tripods, straining to determine in what direction land demarcating lines should fall. Land surveyors might be described as professionals who examine particular portions of land by recording their sizes and features so as to construct maps, site plans or some other descriptions. In Cameroon, any construction project demands a survey plan.
Cameroon today counts less about 100 land surveyors – including Junior Surveys Engineers and full-fledged Surveys Engineers. Of this number, there are about 30 women in the Public Service and private sector. However, the profession appears not to be well organised as many surveyors are not registered with the Council. Until recently, all engineer level land surveyors in the country were trained abroad. The National Advanced School of Public Works, Yaounde, in 2006 began training Junior Land Surveys Engineers, but this was stopped after three batches.
The school now trains full-fledged Land Surveys Engineers. The Higher Teachers’ Technical Training College, HTTTC, Kumba, of the University of Buea, recently introduced a Junior Land Surveys Engineering programme. In the Ministry of Lands, Surveys and State Property, the most senior woman is Balog Catherine, Sub-director for Surveys. Others are Ali Aminatou, Service Head for Material, Kaldaoussa Aminatou, Service Head for Digital Surveys, Aboudi Nadege and Djapren.
There are also a few female Divisional Delegates, including Ngah Matilde in Nyong and So’o Division of the Centre Region. In the Centre Regional Surveys Unit, there are three female surveyors. They are Mbianda Nguemen Arielle Gaëlle epouse Ekeu, Toussi Elizabeth and Tchuya Arlette epouse Famani. The last two head regional taskforces.
“I chose the profession without much knowledge. With time, I developed greater interest. I am so happy practising Land Surveys as it is so interesting,” says Mbianda Nguemen Arielle. Tchuya Arlette, who has risen up the Civil Service ranks from a Surveys Technician in 2008 to a Junior Land Surveys Engineer in February 2016, describes the profession as “passionate.” A Marc Aurèle Atangana Ngankoudou, Service Head for Surveys for Centre Region, says the high cost of surveying material might discourage women from joining the profession.
“It takes at least 60 million FCFA to acquire equipment to practise as a surveyor, plus big tables for drawing and big printers. A surveyor’s pen costs 5,000 FCFA, while the ruler goes for 10,000 FCFA,” explains Atangana Ngankoudou.