Sonna Etienne Foundation

Sonna Etienne

Etienne Sonna (1946 – 2014)

Etienne Sonna is the inspiration behind this initiative. And many will be wondering who this man is that they will never meet or encounter. The next few paragraph will summarize to you who Sonna Etienne was for the short life he lived.
His Upbring
Etienne SONNA was born around 1951, of the late Pierre NGUIMEZONG and late Anastasie TSAFACK. He lost his father at his early age (He was about 7 years old). Her mother relied solely on her field work to care for her 3 children. He was forced to do hard field work very early to pay for his education from primary and help his mother care for his two sisters. Obedient and hardworking, he was supported by the kindness of many acquaintance who had compassion toward his situation and will regularly supply him with clothing, food, and great advices. It is looking up to those good Samaritans in his life and their encouragement that Sonna Etienne drew the motivation to pursue his education against all odds.

His Education and Career


— 1957-1963: St Michael Catholic school crowned by the CEP.

— 1963-1967: C.E.G Dschang where he obtained the BEPC.

— 1967-1969: employed as a Chemical mixer at CICAM in Douala.

— 1969-1972: Study to be teacher at I.P.A.R. (Pedagogic Applied Institute to rural vocation) of Yaounde where he is graduate in 1972.

— 1972 – 1974: In order to improve his academic performance, he enrolled in the evening class at the Catholic neighborhood school Mokolo and obtained the Certificate of Probation D in June 1974.

— 1974 – 1976: After his Probation D, he joined a group to prepare the ENS and in 1976 he was admitted to the ENS exam, history-geography option.

— 1972-1976: In parallel, he was employed at the same institute I.P.A.R. as an advisor while continuing his education in the evening all the while.

— 1976-1979: Studied at ENS to become a middle school teacher which was sanctioned by DIPES 1 degree.

— 1979-1984: He is employed at the CES of Ngoumou, then transfer later to CES of Soa.

— 1984-1986: Back to study at ENS, to become a high school teacher which was sanctioned by the DIPES 2 degree.

— 1986-1994: He will be employed at the Lycee general Leclerc, then promoted later to executive manager at the Ministry of National Education, service of activities post & peri scholar.

His passion and legacy​

Passionate about reading, he conducted a study in his community in 1972 under the guidance of his King the majesty Momo Jean Claude and on the theme: “The Foundations of Power in traditional chiefdoms: the case of foto”. 1985-1986: he deepened the same theme under the guidance of the ENS teachers and from there will release his first book about the culture of the Foto Community. 1989: 0n the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the reign of his Majesty King Momo Jean Claude, He edited his book to a sellable version, the very first book that speaks of Foto ,to make the group known around the world. Nearly 500 copies was sold that year. Inspired by the history of China, it introduces the idea of a community self-development to his village elders. The idea was then to leverage the power and connections of the elites and volunteers of their community to initiate some well needed infrastructure projects that will go to improve the condition of all in the community. Not well understood, the village suggested that he takes the lead and guide the community into his proposed plan. Sonna Etienne will then take that opportunity to create what is still called today the Development committee of his village named “Balefang”. Under his leadership, he will guide his village in the journey of self-urbanization with the installation of electricity in the community, the creation of schools, mapping of roads and construction of those roads. On the last project also initiated and planned but yet to execute before his passing was the water tank and sewage project. His Development committee model will be such a success that he will become the mentor to many other surrounding communities looking to replicate the same. So to some it all, he model became the blueprint for many communities in Cameroon today.

His Family

Amidst his busy agenda, Sonna Etienne managed to fall in love with a young lady named Martine Sonna in 1970. And it is not until 1971 that she will finally open to his interest. They will soon tie the knot in 1973 and welcome their first daughter in 1974. From there, they will increase the family with 6 more children in the span of 14 years. Along the way, they also adopted 10 more kids as their way to both extend the love, they each experience in their tough upbringing.  9 years in their marriage journey, Etienne will fall sick and from that point forward will be in and out of hospital multiple time in the year. Due to limited technology, the hospital was never able to really diagnose what was his health problem. Despite the health challenges, Etienne Sonna always find the way to care and show love to his family. And in 1994, following another one of his episodes, he will be rushed to the Central Hospital in Yaounde, then sent home after a few days with no hope. The next day, he is rushed to the CNPS private hospital from where he will be transferred to the General Hospital in Douala. Arrived in Douala, he dies 4 days later for what was now stated as kidney failure. Though, we know this day that the kidney failure must not have been the primary cause but the complication from the original issue he had that was never officially diagnosed.