Friday, December 2, 2022

16Days of Activism Against GBV: Common Action for Gender and Development supports local actions to shun the vice

UNITE to End VAW is a multi-year effort aimed at preventing and eliminating violence against women and girls around the world. On this 8th day of the Campaign, we choose to profile a young female leader who has dedicated most part of her work around the well-being of young girls from sexual and reproductive health rights to GBV, Peace building and more.

Ndum Charlotte Ayeah is a passionate Youth Leader, Girls' Rights advocate and Political Enthusiast.

She's a founding member and Programs officer of Dreams to Reality Transformers a youth led Organisation working in the areas of Girls Rights Advocacy, Peace Building & Civic Engagement.

Ndum Charlotte Ayeah

As an advocate for the rights of Girls, she has been part and in some cases implemented projects and activities aimed at fighting the Violence faced by Women and Girls.

She's carried out several Sensitisation Campaigns aimed at creating awareness on GBV and related thematics while equally advocating for the representation of Women and Girls and favourable policies.

Most recently she was selected as a Mentor under the #Stop Violence now against Women and Girls Project sponsored by the European Union and implemented by NKumu Fed Fed where she's carrying out a project aimed at Educating Boys and Girls on CSE as a means of mitigating Sexual Violence in the Community.

Ndum Charlotte Ayeah

To have a community free of GBV, Charlotte believes that inclusive Sensitisation and the creation of awareness around this Epidemic should be amplified through the media both on and offline but also through town hall meetings, workshops, “njangi houses” and other social gatherings.

Furthermore, she holds that policies should be implemented which punish defaulters stringently thereby deterring others.

Also, the Empowerment of Women and Girls is imperative as poverty and dependency is a major enhancer for GBV, Charlotte reiterated.

It is important to note that the 16 days begin with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and ends with International Human Rights Day on 10 December, highlighting that violence against women is a fundamental violation of human rights.

Uppaultine Vimombi

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Africa Fact-Checking Fellowship gains ground in Cameroon's Northern Regions

AFF Cohort 6 Fellows with trainers 

Garoua is host to Defyhatenow's flagship fellowship program #AFF hosting 15 participants from all 3 Northern Regions.

These media professionals, selected from out of a hundred applications, have began enhancing their skills in the areas of #FakeNews and #HateSpeech mitigation During these sessions they shall be accompanied by the matchless experience of Paul Joel Kamtchang of Adisi-Cameroun

Paul Joel Kamtchang of Adisi-Cameroun

and a cream of fine professionals from @Defyhatenow Cameroon led by @Desmond Ngala, Representative for West&Central Africa.

Desmond Ngala, Representative for West&Central Africa.

It is important to note that Africa Fact-checking fellowship was designed to follow up and  to succeed our  previous  #FactsMatter fellowship which was launched in January 2020,  #FactsMatter237 was aimed at monitoring and mapping viral trends on social media related to the key thematic issues in Cameroon. 

Five cohorts have been trained, bringing together professionals from the South West, Nortwest, Littoral, Centre, Far North and West. About 20 members of the Cameroon Bloggers Association from Yaounde, Douala and Dschang have also benefited. More than 53 online Fact-Checking and hate speech detention professionals have been trained under the #AFFCameroon programme.

Session in course

In the two months pilot (Jan-Feb 2020), our six fellows published more than 12 fact-checking reports on various issues in Cameroon. "After seeing the success of the #FactsMatter fellowship and listening to the feedback from various partners and fellows we opted to rebrand and program to Africa Fact-checking fellowship. The new changes include the extension of  the fellowship duration of from 2 months to 3 months, the new program will also feature an enhanced program with more practical sessions and lessons by guest experts from various organizations." Said Desmond Ngala, Defyhatenow Representative for West & Central Africa.

Fellows in session

The #Africa Fact-Checking Fellowship (AFF) is an initiative by #defyhatenow in partnership Data Cameroon which aims at promoting fact-checking, data journalism, and digital rights among journalists, bloggers, and content creators in Africa.  The three-month program is geared towards providing fellows with the skill sets and tools needed to tackle the current misinformation challenges in their countries of operation. The program is based on a blended learning model that utilizes webinars, practical lessons, peer learning, and practical field assignments.  Fellows will gain access to a rich set of tools and online resources as well as a network of experts and professionals from across the globe.  

Pedmia Shatu

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

COMAGEND engages dialogue on the effects of climate change on women and girls

Group photograph with COMAGEND and Climate change actors

Vulnerability to climate change is acute in many parts of the world and its impact are not gender neutral.Due to thier gender defined roles in society and tradition pattern of marginalisation,  women and girls are most vulnerable  to the effects of climate change. For this reason Community Action for Gender development COMAGEND, under the supervision of Sally Mboumien has engaged actors familiar with this subject matter to review its policy brief and how this brief can be a working document.

Sally Mboumien, Coordinator COMAGEND facilitating discussions

In an over 3hrs session, the brief was presented alongside other short skits by advocates of Adolescent girls and young women (AGYW). The aim of the policy  brief is to seek strategic and context specific ways to Localize the provision of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW66) in a manner that builds on indigenous practices that response to climate change. This implies that local action if well taken will change the narrative of the next year report.

The brief holds that women in Africa play a fundamental role providing their basic necessities such as food , water, fuel, medicine. Though these women and girls depend highly on their surrounding natural resources, due to climate change their surroundings  are no longer meeting their needs.

The Commission on the Status of Women CSW66 that just ended in New York recognises the negative effects of climate change on women and girls. The outcome document cited loss of homes and livelihood , water scarcity, destruction and damage to schools and health facilities as impact of the current  situation. The document stressed  the urgency of eliminating persistent  historical and structurally inequalities discriminating laws and policies, negative and social norms and gender stereotypes that perpetuate multiple and intersecting  forms of discrimination. Separation from support network, increased risk to all forms of violence and reduced access to employment, education and essential  health care services, including sexual reproductive healthcare, service and psychosocial support. 

Cross section of the hall

The commission proposed that stake holders should promote women and girls  full participation in leadership to make natural resource management and climate environmente and disaster. 

It is worth mentioning that Women and girls are taking climate and environmental actions at all levels but thier voice, agency, participation needs to be further supported, resourced, valued and recognised.

It emphasizes the need for women and girls to be given equal access and rights to important resources such as productive assets such as land , water, technology, technical advice and information that can result in the greater food security  renewable energy, just resilience  sustainable system for all.

The document stresses on fostering  gender responsive, transitions, also adaptative approaches which will enhance  the capacity  of policy makers to develop and adopt effective evidence based policies and programmes at all levels and boost women and girls contribution to environmental conservation and climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Climate change actors and AGYW advocates

Year in year out resolutions  are taken  in New York hoping for the improvement of the wellbeing of women and girls especially those in conflict affected  areas like Cameroon. The biggest question is to what extent are these resolutions applicable in local communities? This question set the ball rolling for discussion in session. Pedmia Shatu, Executive director for Global Initiative for Digital Inclusion and Communication (GIDICom) mentioned that the media through all its arms of communication could be used to expand the resolutions of such a gathering and even give visibility to the work AGYW advocates are doing in their communities.

Pedmia Shatu, Executive director for Global Initiative for Digital Inclusion and Communication (GIDICom)

Local council authorities held that the actions of climate change must begin from sensitization for the population to first understand the concept of climate change before mitigation and adaptation.

At the close of that day, it was relevant as put by Tah Kennette of Society for the Promotion of initiatives in Sustainable development (SOPISDEW) 

Tah Kennette of Society for the Promotion of initiatives in Sustainable development (SOPISDEW)

that all actors present to build a community of practice implying friends of the subject matter meeting from time to time and see how to affect policy and provoke transformational change.

Tabot Florence

Monday, February 28, 2022

DRAUFSICHT trains Journalists, CSOs and Film makers on the role of civilians in armed conflict

                    Participants at the workshop

Since the start of the anglophone crisis in 2016, civilians have been on the crossroad as they have been the most affected . Some have lost lives, homes , loved ones , businesses , jobs and alot more. It is for this reason that Draufsicht Bamenda on February 18 2022 brought together film makers, journalists and Civil society organizations in Bamenda to discuss on the role of civilians in armed conflicts. 

According to the facilitator Tombir Stanley, " the media plays a central role in armed conflict as it can either contribute in escalating or de-escalating the tension". He mentioned that " it is important for journalists to be equipped with the right skills to report during crisis in a more professional way which will not incite violence" . 

Civil society organizations on the other hand were advised to involve members of the community in their activities through sensitization and equally invest in projects which are beneficial to the population. 

Journalist present were called upon to engage in Eco journalism which is quite lacking in the cameroon media landscape today. Eco journalism can equally be referred to as environmental journalism, which focuses on telling stories about climate change and the environment . 

It is worthy to note that this activity falls within the framework of Draufsichts  Community Journalism project which started in 2021 in Bamenda geared at equipping Journalists and media bodies with skills to change the narratives in their traditional way of reporting.

By Amambo Carrey Pride

Monday, December 13, 2021

UN Agencies, Humanitarian Actors Step Up Strategies to End GBV in NWR

GBV actors

The United Nations Populations Fund, together with about 10 GBV partners, various UN agencies; UNHCR, WFP, FAO, OCHA and the Ministry of Empowerment, have joined the international community in commemorating 16 days af activism against GBV.

The Campaign which started from November 25th to December 10th, celebrated  under the theme: Orange  the World: "End Violence  against Women".

Over 30 participants; Local GBV actors, men and women from different  walks of life were schooled on the causes, risks and consequences of GBV against women. Talks, sketches, panel discussions characterized activities of the day for participants to better understand what GBV is all about. It was echoed that GBV is not about being a woman but  giving equal rights and equal opportunities  for both men and women.

The head of OCHA Sub Office, ILham Moussa gave an overview of the GBV cases in the NWR, explaining that an increase in cases of GBV is owing to the ongoing crises. Given that most women in crisis are weapons of war the woman in the NWR is not an exception. She has been reduced to psychological, physical, economic and social violence. She then urged participants to collaborate to fight against all forms of violence related to gender

ILham Moussa, head of OCHA Sub Office

GBV Sub Cluster interagency Coordinator for the NW/SW, Florence Alina Ediuon her part talked about the fact that they still face problems though key actors are in existence in the region. The capacity  for effective  response  is low in the region :Some areas hardly have any interventions to address GBV.

A sketch was staged for actors and participants to better understand  the causes, risks and consequences  of GBV, a panel discussion took the centre stage with reference  to the theme, giving reasons why men do not report GBV cases. Reasons being that society has made men superior, some men still think GBV is less important and that Women gang up against men.

Sketch on causes, risks and consequences  of GBV

GBV actors and participants were admonished to change the narrative by suggesting strategies that can change  mindsets by educating  children about human rights  and equal rights, avoid discrimination and use different forums to change mindsets, while creating gender clubs so that boys and girls can better understand  equal rights n enjoy equal opportunities.

Panel discussion

If gender based equality  is not attained GBV will always  resurface. Key propositions  were made by the GBV Sub Cluster Inter-agency  Coordinator  for the Nw/Sw, Florence Alina Ediu which stated: Funding agencies, budget holders, resource mobilizers have to take greater actions towards funding of GBV mainstreaming  activities  by implementing partners.

Humanitarian  agencies, organizations  and individuals were urged to consider strategies that challenge violence against women at work and partners task to embrace coordination and effective  referral in addressing  causes, risks and consequences  of violence  against  women so as to effectively  mitigate  the life threats  conditions. 

Everyone within communities in the NW/SW, Male and female are advised to say NO to any act of violence, stop perpetrating, or condoning GBV.

Cross section of participants

Key messages were drafted for take home to Serve as reminder ; let's end violence against  women, zero tolerance  for rape, break the silence, as silence hides violence amongst  others. 

ILham Moussa called on all to LISTEN and talk about GBV so that survivors can rebuild their lives, while naming and shaming perpetrators.

Ndong Carine

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Actors in the fight against GBV lobby to reinforce and strengthen movements towards the fight against GBV in crisis hit Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon

Group picture with partnering organizations and policy makers

Witnessing an effective and efficient zero tolerance GBV policies within institutions and services as we gear towards Agenda 2030 and as part of their activities to observe the 16 days activism against Gender Based Violence some 12 partner organizations today December 12 have presented to State actors, Religious associations as well as Civil society Organizations a policy brief on Gender based violence in the conflict prone Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon. To the head of these organizations piloting this policy document COMAGEND, the choice of today's participants is main those who can affect policy that mainstream GBV issues.

1. The policy document stipulates as key issues the fact that there is a high prevalence of incest fueled by the crisis in the Southwest and Northwest especially as 51.33% of displaced persons squatting with family members and friends are of adolescent girls and young women.
2) It holds that there is a major gap in the protection of women's rights due to lack of legal criminalization of domestic violence and marital rape.
3) The policy document adds that prior to the #COVID19 pandemic, the escalation of VAW in Cameroon could be linked to growing trends of militarization and militarism, prevailing unequal gender relationship and economic upheaval etc.

Cross section of the hall

The policy Document further touched on issues on women and girls (VAWG) as a weapon of war, socio-economic and humanitarian Response Programming Gaps. Accessing the gap that exists in mainstreaming GBV issues at all levels in society, the policy document put of specific recommendations;
1) Draw from local community organizations to elaborate women and girls as leaders and agents of change in programming and policy
2) Generate current data and analyze the solutions to GBV such as collecting data on the number of IDPs who have currently migrated in the region, current measures to fight GBV and the successes.
3) For the government to partner with international humanitarian actors to fund the implementation of policies that improve girls and womens sexual and reproductive health rights such as through providing ethical representation of victims of GBV in Educating about GBV and creating strategies to stop GBV.
4) To build the capacity of media men and women on conflict sensitive reporting, getting a peace journalism approach.

Sally Mboumien
Coordinator COMAGEND

Representing CCMN, was the Secretary General of CCMN NW, Pedmia Shatu who saw the absence on the aspect of online Gender-Based Violence which is equally another form of GBV. She pointed out that Online Gender-Based Violence is targeted harassment and prejudice through technology against people, disproportionately women, based on their gender. The term is also similar to online harassment, cyberbullying and cybersexism, but the latter terms are not gender specific. She recommended that this be added to the policy document and that the Ministry of post and telecommunications will have much to do to trap perpetrators of online GBV.

Pedmia Shatu
Secretary General CCMN Northwest

It is important to note that 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is an international campaign to challenge violence against women and girls. The campaign runs every year from 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day.

Coalition members of the policy document

The representatives of the Regional Delegate MINAS NW, Divisional officer B'da III, Regional Delegate MINPROFF, Regional Delegate MINJEC, chief of women empowerment Tubah, Regional Secretary CWF, Ebase Africa, Regional Delegate of bible society, GBV focal person NW UNFPA, CCMN NW and President Christian Family movement were among policy makers presentation at the meeting.

Government representatives

The organizations in this coalition include, Common Action for
Gender Development (COMAGEND) being the lead organization, Sustainable Women
Organization(SWO), Empowered Girl, Global Action For Community Development (GACD),
Organization For Women’s Empowerment And Development (OWED), Hands together with the physically impaired (HaTPhI), Rural And Urban Grassroots Business Women Association (RUGBWA), Community Initiative for Women Empowerment in Development(CIWED),Cho Ngafor Foundation,
Down Syndrome Association Cameroon (DOSYACAM), Beacon of Light Association (BELA) and Community Association for vulnerable persons.

Uppaultine Vimombi