15.7.15

The Cameroon We Want by 2030

 The CameroonWeWant‬ by 2030 through the eyes of young people.‪ The Africa We Want‬ ‪#‎FFd3‬ Finance Our Future‬
During the celebration of the National Day on May20, a team from Women for a Change Cameroon and Hope for the Needy Association (hofna) Cameroon, went out in the streets, schools and communities and asked young Cameroonians to tell us about their vision for Cameroon. Over 300 young people were interviewed as part of the first VAF animation documentary on the ‪#‎Post2015‬ in ‪#‎Cameroon‬.
Their responds covered a wide range of topics, including promotion of climate justice, peace, security, development financing, equal opportunity for all, quality education, employment and descent job; ensuring access quality and affordable health care services, care and facilities; eradicating extreme hunger/poverty; the fight against corruption, climate change, gender inequality /injustice, economic development and youth under/unemployment....
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7.7.15

Preaching the Gospel of Gender Equality to the People of Mudeka, Wfac's Team write

"Living in this little creek has made people forget and abandoned us", says the V.P of GBHS #Mudeka, "we need this education for empowerment and development"

On June 19, Michel and Nancy of WFAC visited Mudeka for their usual community outreach and educational talks to youth and women's groups. Unlike the usual speaking to women, the  visit this time had participation from men, youth, boys and elder, as well as women who had previously attended the May workshop along with some new faces who joined them for a first time.

Michel Bélanger-Roy, WFAC’s legal intern, opened the floor by talking about marriage and the law in Cameroon. The workshop was designed to inform married women of their rights and responsibilities. As Michel and Nancy stressed out, marriage can often protect women in vulnerable positions, but it is essential for women to know their rights in order to enforce them. He also pointed out that it is important to distinguish a marriage that is recognized by law, one that is not, and one that is only recognized by customary law. However, as he explained, whatever the situation you are in, there are many different ways to protect yourself from uncertainty. Some examples were given, such as registering property in your name, drafting a will or making a living together agreement.

Nancy Makeoh, WFAC’s community outreach coordinator, took over and gave a presentation on gender equality. After discussing the differences between gender and sex, she pointed out the many ways in which gender inequalities persist today in Cameroon, and the consequences of these inequalities on our lives. Drawing from various perspectives, she insisted on the many advantages of attaining gender equality for women and for society as a whole. Thus, she presented the social and economic advantages, and talked about the role of stereotypes in the evolution of gender equality. She also emphasized the role of education in achieving gender equality. Finally participants were invited to be part of the change themselves by teaching others around them on the advantages of gender equality.

This introduced Michel’s presentation about the importance of education. By various examples, Michel discussed with participants how education was closely linked to equality, employment, politics, economy, health and safety. Participants talked about their heroes and realized how education had played an important role in their accomplishments. Finally, Michel narrowed the topic down to the education of girls, and showed how education was a key to improve their lives, but also those of their families and communities.


The workshop ended with a discussion about the struggles of poor families to provide a good education to their children. A group picture was taken to immortalize this rewarding afternoon with the inspiring women of Mudeka.

For more info about Wfac's activities / Community Outreach, contact: wfacbuea@ymail.com or click here 

Follow us on Twitter  / Instagram via @Wfaccmr

2.6.15

Mudeka women for gender equality

On May 30, Women for a Change Cameroon visited Mudeka for a workshop dedicated to gender equality. During these two hours, 20 women of all ages discussed gender issues in the shade of a large tree right in front of the local chief’s palace.

Michel Bélanger-Roy, a Canadian law student currently doing an internship with WFAC, opened the floor by talking about the gap in between laws and day-to-day life; as well as highlighting on some articles in the constitution of Cameroon that guarantees equality between men and women.

Nancy Makeoh, WFAC’s community outreach coordinator, continued the conversation by introducing the participants to Action/2015. The attendees were interested to learn about the transition from MDGs to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how there is on-going campaign for action around gender equality and justice.


The participants also added their voice calling for greater efforts in all domains, especially gender equality and women’s health and bodily autonomy. 


May28 Campaign "My Body, My Rights" - Intl Women's Health Day 
Mudeka Young Women demand from governments NO MORE WORDS. TAKE ACTION!

26.5.15

Voices of 15 year old on the Future They Want for Cameroon


Young people speak out on the future they want for Cameroon and how they are ready to commit towards its realisation.
Wednesday, May 20,  the Iam15 Ambassadors would join millions of youth across the country to celebrates the 43rd edition of Cameroon's National Day. This ceremony usually brings and gathers millions of young people, children, youth-led organisations, individuals, students and youth leaders across the country including rural communities to commemorate the creation of unitary country in 1972. 

In the lead up to May 20th, Women for a Change Cameroon visited two schools across the southwest region, to discuss with the  campaign ‘Iam15’ ambassadors for the citizen action/2015 program on the post2015 development agenda. Over 45 students attended the events. 

Key issued discussed were; the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the responsibilities of the government and young Cameroonians to attain them. 

Asked about their message to the government, the students were clear: they want to remind government officials that the date to adopt the SDGs is fast approaching.  Therefore, the need to act fast and ambitious. 

Some of Iam15 Ambassadors however had specific inquiries, though no limited to: “Women must hold top / strategic positions in government offices in order to develop the country”, stated a student from Summerset Bilingual College, while her colleague insisted “to preserve the forest and fight climate change”. Ayamba Schnyder, from Mudeka’s Government Bilingual High School, asked for “a combat to bribery and corruption”.

Youths Speaking for Youth 


The Students also addressed a message to their fellow young Cameroonians. “The youth should contribute to the action 2015 to better the future, by spreading the objectives to those who are not aware”, said one. Many emphasized the importance of education: “We need to study hard to become leaders of tomorrow”, summarized a student from Mudeka; “ young people have a major role to play in developing Cameroon. Let’s take responsibility for it.”

In addition, Wfac further asked the students what they would tell the minister of youth affairs in Cameroon if given the opportunity to speak with him. “I would tell him about difficulties that youths are facing, like poverty which arises from lack of education” said a student in one of the colleges, HIBMAT - Buea. Employment opportunities were a concern that several youths would stress. Enang Joseph Nathaniel, from Mudeka’s Action 2015 Club, suggested: “I would ask the minister to use the Internet to engage with young people across the country.” 

Finally, students reflected on the role that young people could play to make Cameroon an emerging country by 2035. The diversity of ideas was matched only by their enthusiasm. “Fight poverty in all of its forms, combat climate change, fight gender inequalities and improve agricultural practices”, suggested one, while another added that “youths should carry out developmental projects in the communities.”


This piece an excerpt from  Women for a Change, Cameroon (Wfac) Voice Africa's Future documentary series. Compiled by Michel -Roy, McGill Law Student volunteering at Wfac

24.4.15

Don’t Ignore the Voices of Young People on SRHR in the Post-2015 Agenda


We cannot continue to talk about sustainable development without considering the needs and aspirations of girls, youth and women who constitute over 65% of the worlds population.

From April 12 to 17 of this year, I attended the 48th session of the Commission on population and Development(CPD48) at the United Nations' New York headquarters, New York. 

It was a week of rich discussions and deliberations around fundamental issues like promoting gender equality, youth empowerment, peace, education, security, health, environment, global partnership and sustainable development, and among others. 

I had the opportunity to meet and interact with heads of delegations and governments and together we exchanged views as well as looked at
key issues affecting girls, women and youth and their lives, especially when it comes to ensuring their access to accurate and quality information, services and education that will allow them to make responsible decisions and informed choices on their health specifically and their future as a whole. 

On April 17, The Permanent Mission of Zambia to the United Nations, Aids Accountability International (AAI) and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) hosted an African Youth Task Force Initiative panel on “Realising the Future We Want:The State of African Youth in which I had the privileged of speaking on the panel and talk about my work at the grassroots with young people and how this has helped popularize SDGs, the post-2015 process in Cameroon as well as garner governments support around key priorities.  

Additionally, key highlights on the presentation included the recent activity I organised - an Intergenerational dialogue on a youth friendly post2015, action2015 nation campaign, local / national advocacy and mobilisation of an inclusive post2015 agenda.  

I also highlighted the importance of development vision and actions taking into consideration women and youth rights and involving them in creating and delivering the agenda.

As I reflect on my experiences at CPD48, I recall one panelist's words. where he said:"Though SRHR is just an acronym, the message is simple! it means having basic rights over your own body."

Unlike the panelist's view, some member states, especially from Africa dubbed Africa Group were constantly in opposition to defending human rights especially sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).

The African Group which supposedly is an Africa States Coalition was speaking not within national capacities and / or in line with most African countries progressive policies. The influence from the African group impede individual African nations from speaking into their national capacities.  

The African Group is supposedly an Africa States Coalition that often speaks for Africa / africans. In as much a coalition movement can bring development, so too can it impede development. It is worth noting that the Africa group does not speak in any countrys national capacity. Often its opinions does not align with most African countries progressive policies. Their influence however prevents individual African nations from speaking on their own behalf.

The group also overlooks progressive views on Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) and also waters down regional agreements like the Addis Declaration (2013), Maputo Protocol and other regional treaties and national frameworks that promotes human rights language, including the respect and protection of individual sexual and reproductive health and rights. 

What saddens me is the fact that Africa group continue to ignores and rejects languages on SRHR, when over 39 000 of girls as young as 9, 12 and / or 14year-old, majority from Africa have their SRHR deprived and denied through forced, early marriages, and / or trafficked into sex slavery and child labor. 

In Cameroon, an estimated 53% of women have experienced some form of violence before reaching 18 years. Also by age 18, 25.2% are either pregnant or already mothers.Adolescent girls account for at least 90% of unsafe abortion each year and this remains the leading cause to increasing maternal mortality in Cameroon. 61% of women of reproductive age have unmet need for contraceptives and a range of modern methods (The 2004 Demographic and Health Survey (DHS))

These statistics reveal actual reality/ conditions on the ground. They show that young people are leading in new cases of HIV/AIDS, disease, unemployment, and insecurity. Women of all ages are incapable of exercising and enjoying SRHR."

Yet, there is so much political talk on building a sustainable future!

It is therefore imperative that in designing the future that we want, the rights of women and young people must be prioritized at local, regional, national, and global levels, and special emphasis must be put on sexual rights and reproductive health and rights.

Let's not make the same mistake of 2000!

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Further Information 


Thanks to the generous contribution of Mandela Washington Fellowship Speaker Travel Grant program supported by USAID - US Agency for International Developmentand IREX.

29.12.14

WFAC response to the SG Synthesis Report

Women for a Change, Cameroon (WFAC)   would like to express its sincerest appreciation and support to the United Nations Secretary General synthesis report on the post 2015 Agenda: The Road to Dignity by 2030: Ending Poverty, Transforming All Lives and Protecting the Planet

WFAC welcomes the SG synthesis report and most importantly the six essential elements for delivering the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

23.11.14

Member States overlook Agreed Language on Women’s Rights at Beijing+20


I have always wondered whether when it comes to [inter/governmental ] negotiations on military spending, do member states overlook agreed language in the same way as they do on women’s rights and gender equality. 


For several decades, state authorities have compromised, overlooked and marginalised women’s issues. They give more precedence to military expenses, economy, bilateral / multilateral trade agencies and infrastructural development and little attention to gender responsive actions. Most states have failed to realised that for growth to be attained, efforts must be made to address the gender gaps.

9.11.14

3 Global Events that offer hope for better future: The ICPDbeyond2014, Post2015 and Beijing+20

The year 2014 & 2015 is a defining moment for lasting change across the globe, and particularly for young people and women.

In 1995, the fourth conference on women took place in Beijing which led to the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action,  a global commitment to achieving equality, development and empowerment for women. The document was signed by 189 governments. It is estimated that over 30 000 participants from all walks of life, including activists, civil society members, public and private stakeholders attended the conference.

1.11.14

BEING AFRICAN AND A YOUNG WOMAN, WHAT TO SAY FOR IT?


Catherine Nyambura at UNGA speaking on ACCPD
I am African and a young woman, these identities for some reason need to be emphasized, why is that? Catherine Nyambura reflects on what it means being an African Young Woman on this day - African Youth Day
Our society a few years ago would have me explain what am doing, thinking and I can just take the stage (in this case - this virtual stage) to dare air my opinion.