Contimi Kenfack Mouafo is “Student of the Year 2024”
The German Association of University Professors and Lecturers is honoring the young man, who is studying electrical engineering at RWTH. He has shown great commitment with the "3 E's 4 Africa" organization.
When Contimi Kenfack Mouafo talks about the potential of young people in Africa, his eyes really light up. When he talks about how committed they are to implementing innovative projects to tackle climate change, he also says: “We have to show that African countries are different from the negative stereotypical images that are constantly being conveyed.” With his organization “3 E's 4 Africa”, the electrical engineering student at RWTH Aachen University is committed to both goals. On the one hand, he’s working on new innovative projects, such as more sustainable fertilizer made from green hydrogen in Namibia and more efficient biogas plants for small farmers in Ghana, and on the other, he is striving for a more contemporary image of his home continent. The young Cameroonian will be honored for this commitment and the inspiring effect he has on many fellow students as “Student of the Year 2024” at the “Gala of German Science” in Berlin on March 25. This is a joint award of the German Student Union (DSW) and the German Association of University Professors and Lecturers (DHV).
Contimi Kenfack Mouafo was 19 years young when he came to Germany to study. This is where the story of the Student of the Year begins, as he recognized the value of volunteering early on in his studies. He initially worked for Engineers Without Borders, building wells and toilets in his home country. He learned a lot and came up with the idea of organizing his commitment differently - in his own organization, which can develop the potential of young Africans to an even greater extent. In 2020, he founded the "3 E's 4 Africa" organization, of which he has been Chairman of the Board ever since. The three "E's" in the organization's name stand for the purpose of the articles of association: Education, empowerment and ecofriendliness. With this objective, students in Germany support fellow students in Africa who carry out local education and research projects on the topics of energy transition, climate change mitigation and climate change adaptation.
The organization, which consists mainly of international students and alumni, aims to empower African students and doctoral candidates to develop innovative and sustainable solutions for their continent through their own research, thereby making an important contribution to overcoming global challenges. “There are so many young, motivated changemakers in Africa. We want to showcase them and their work,” he says. “3 E's 4 Africa” promotes and supports projects that are developed, proposed, and largely independently implemented by students and doctoral candidates in Africa. The organization offers them a platform on which they can present their ideas, helps them to establish networks in which professors and other experts are available as mentors, and provides funding for the projects. Since its foundation, “3 E's 4 Africa” has invested over 100,000 euros in the promotion of innovative, sustainable ideas from young African students and doctoral candidates and has supported over 200 people in Cameroon, Ghana, Namibia, and other African countries. The organization was awarded the IntSpire internationalization prize by RWTH Aachen University in 2022 for its work.
Now the focus is on the 28-year-old founder: “Contimi Kenfack Mouafo's commitment to civil society stands for living solidarity and working together as equals. It encourages African students to develop their continent in a self-determined and sustainable way, inspires other international students to become socially involved at German universities and therefore contributes to their integration into student life here in Germany,” DSW President Professor Beate Schücking and DHV President Professor Lambert T. Koch jointly explain the award.
The award comes with prize money of 5,000 euros, which is donated by the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft. Carolin Victoria Schneider, another RWTH member, is being honored at the “Gala of Science”. The junior professor is being honored as Young Scientist of the Year for her research into metabolic diseases.