Within the framework of the project o“Strengthening Access to WASH Facilities and Services in Child Friendly Spaces and surrounding Communities”, COMINSUD with the support of UNICEF has trained and deployed 6 Community Mobilizers in the North West and West Region.
The project to run for four months is expected to sensitize 4,260 persons (IDPs and host community) on good hygiene and sanitation practices, including lifesaving messages on COVID-19 and cholera prevention. To this effect, Community Mobilizers will ensure that 1,200 children at Child Friendly Spaces and surrounding Communities have access to adequate sanitation facilities thanks to the construction of 6 latrines each with 4 cabinets, distribution of menstrual hygiene kits to 60 adolescent girls and 600 WASH kits to households, 3000 persons(IDPs and host community) are sensitized on good hygiene and sanitation practices including lifesaving messages on COVID-19 by December 2022. The Community Mobilizers will as well identify child protection needs and ensure proper intervention and referrals to appropriate service points.
This training took place at the Adolescent and Youth Friendly Space in COMINSUD head office on Tuesday 5th April 2022, under the Coordination of Munda Terence the Supervisory of UNICEF projects at COMINSUD.
State authorities, senators, quarter heads, the media and Over 40 Civil society members amplified their voices today Wednesday, Oct 27 2021 at Hilltop hotel on land tenure issues.
This meeting main objective was to present the survey and recommendation assembled by NWADO and her consultant to the participants.
Some discoveries in the research include the High percentage of more men owning land than women .and only 7 youths who obtained land through inheritance.
In the survey, it was also discovered that when it comes to acquiring land certificates there is no gender Bayas as it has always been believed. Everyone is treated equally.
Moreover to acquire land in Bamenda most people spend an average of 60,0000 to 700,000 thousand.
The meeting was indeed full of exchanges from the various stakeholders present .most of the preoccupation came from the question on the cost of a land certificate in the Northwest Region and the right procedure that landowners have to follow to acquire land. However, the Delegate present said their doors are open to everyone who needs to know the right procedure; he also advised everyone to avoid middlemen when trying to acquire land.
As the saying goes Rome was not built on a single day, much has to be done as far as land issues are concerned.
Let this meeting be one of the stepping stones for a change.
The Regional Director of WFP in charge of Central and West Africa accompanied by the Country Director of WFP Cameroon and the head of Field office North West visited Bamenda the capital town of the North West Region on the 21st October 2021. As part of the visit, the regional director met some 25 beneficiaries of COVID-19 response Cash Based Transfer (CBT) project at Bayelle parish hall, Nkwen with the aim of seeing them, and listening to their stories, challenges and opinions about the project.
COMINSUD, as cooperating partner, with WFP is implementing the CBT project alongside the General Food Distribution and Nutrition. The CBT project started in August 2020 for 6 months. The project has been extended three times (in January 2021, June 2021 and October 2021) The project reaches out to 28,323 vulnerable persons (Female 18,888 and Male 9441 in four divisions including Mezam (Bamenda l, ll, lll, Santa and Tubah subdivisions), Ngoketunjia (Ndop), Bui (Kumbo) and Momo (Mbengwi) with a monthly assistance of 5000 frs per beneficiary.
The visit gave an opportunity for WFP visiting delegation to meet and interact with some beneficiaries of the CBT programme. During the visit, the regional director sought to have first-hand information from the beneficiaries on how the crisis in the NWR has affected them and to understand the ways in which the assistance helped them. Beneficiaries presented their stories while highlighting the impact of the support they have been receiving in their lives especially in improving their nutrition, health, economic empowerment, shelter and education. The beneficiaries were very grateful and happy for the timely humanitarian cash base assistance from the WFP and expressed their joy using songs and dance to the delegation.
After listening to the stories of the beneficiaries, the Regional Director was visibly elated by what the assistance has done. In pidgin language, he sympathised with the current crisis situation saying that people should remain hopeful and patient because everything that has a beginning such as the crisis surely has an end. The regional director said he will transmit the messages of appreciation to the hierarchy and share the testimonies with goodwill persons who make the donations of the assistance. He ended up by appreciating the team for the marvellous work they are doing in serving humanity in a very challenging and risky context.
During the visit, the regional director also had a separate meeting with representatives of all cooperating partners in the NWR including COMINSUD, SHUMAS, LUKMEF, INTERSOS, PLAN International and CARITAS Bamenda. The meeting was also aimed at sharing successes and challenges faced by the CPs. From one CP to the other, they presented the various projects implemented in partnership with WFP focusing on targets, successes and challenges. Most of the CPs cited insecurity as the main challenge. The regional director sought to know the opinions of the CPs on the possibility of the crisis ending anytime soon. All the CPs noted that the crisis is nowhere near ending. Instead, there seems to be a rise in violent activities and the NSAG have gained skills in the fabrication of IEDs and have also acquired more sophisticated weapons which are clear indications that the crisis will still drag on.
At the end of the meeting, the regional director appreciated the efforts of CPs in providing lifesaving food and cash services to vulnerable persons in very difficult security situations. He encouraged CPs to continue working in the same spirit while exercising caution as the carryout activities. The visit at Bayelle parish hall ended at about 1pm while the delegation from WFP proceeded to meet the beneficiaries of GFD.
Lopti, edited by Dr Zama and Celestine Co – staff Juliette, Linda and Sylvia
Violence against women and girls continue to be on the rise with the onset of the socio-political crisis in the two English speaking regions of Cameroon. Negative masculinity is one of the attitudes that generate traditions of terror and encourage the use of violence against women and girls as enshrined in patriarchy. Brutal expressions of masculinity remain widespread. Though men and boys remain the main perpetrators of GBV, they can also play a fundamental role in fostering gender parity. That is why COMINSUD as the implementing partner for the UNFPA funded project through CERF titled “Achieving transformative results on social norms and practices that perpetuate gender-based violence and gender inequalities through the provision of quality multi-sectoral GBV response services and empowerment of Women-Led Organization in the Far North, North West and South West Regions” carried out capacity building workshops and dialogue sessions during the month of June in five subdivisions (Bamenda II, Belo, Njinikom, Batibo and Widikum) of the Northwest regions aimed at building the capacity of men and boys to enable them fully get involved in the fight against GBV.
Why work with men and boys, community and religious leaders (Summary)
Working with men, boys and community elders can help to dramatically enhance the effectiveness of our message on ending Gender-Based Violence
Men can substantially impart their traditions and beliefs onto younger generations. Traditional leaders have the authority needed to decrease the acceptance of gender based violence, and their voices are particularly important when it comes to reaching out to boys and men
Working with spiritual leaders has proven paramount in opening a new space for dialogue, in teaching boys’ different lessons about manhood: boys become men by seeing and supporting women as human beings.
Our choice to work with men and boys is informed by the fact that masculine perceptions show traditional stereotyped mindsets, which shape the identity and behavior of men and young boys, thereby perpetuating gender inequalities rather than breaking patriarchal norms.
In my view
Masculine construction which is the main driving force behind women and girls’ disempowerment and vulnerability requires manhood to be equated with the ability to exert power over others, especially through the use of force. Masculinity, as it is espoused, gives man the power to control the lives of those around him, especially women and young girls. For us at COMINSUD, the solution to the insidious gender-based violence in the North West is working with men and boys, religious and community leaders as key partners against the vice at the local levels. We developed and shared new and effective strategies for engaging men and boys as principal partners in the holistic respect of the rights of girls and women. We encouraged men and boys to break out of the portrayal of girl’s enjoyment of their rights as a women’s struggle only, where almost the only role available to men and boys is that of the perpetrator. Through the capacity building and dialogue sessions, we encouraged men and boys to embrace their role as advocates against girl’s and women’s vulnerability. Our work is anchored on transforming possible abusers into steadfast partners. At COMINSUD, we firmly believe that the way forward is to engage men and boys as well as the community as a whole to fight this social ill that is being perpetrated against women. This is because social transformation does not happen without community engagement. Community engagement is a necessary part of working to prevent and respond to all forms of gender-based violence. Gender norms (especially gendered beliefs and practices) at the community level are among the root causes of Gender-Based Violence.
The Coordinator of COMINSUD Mr Fon Nsoh, speaking in one of the workshops held in Bamenda, working with the community and religious leaders to end Gender-Based Violence is a good initiative because Religious and community leaders are influential people in the society so people can actually listen to them and act on what they say. One way through which this can be done is by affirmative action. As for the men and boys they can adopt peer to peer method when addressing issues of GBV and women’s rights.
However, to some participants especially in Belo and Batibo, enforcing women’s rights and equality of sexes will make women be disrespectful at home which in turn can lead to homes being broken thereby causing more harm than good. This idea was dismissed on the ground that when women are treated with respect and dignity, they turn to be more respectful and lead happy lives despite the challenges of life.
To other participants especially in Widikum, concentrating on women and young girls and their rights and leaving out the men who at times also suffer from the GBV was seen to be discriminatory. It was, however, explained that emphasis is laid on women and girls because statistics show that they are the ones who suffer the most from this societal ill.
In all, participants appreciated COMINSUD for organizing such and enriching and educative workshop. Topics discussed during the workshop touched on issues that are really of great concern to the society. One participant could already imagine the positive changes in the homes of participants after the knowledge they have acquired in this workshop. Another participant in Njinikom confessed that he had been a perpetrator of GBV without knowing. He promised to go back to his community determined to fight GBV by sensitizing the community about its ills and negative consequences using the knowledge he has acquired from the workshop, encourage his peers to leave behind practices that expose women and young girls to GBV and to connect survivors to specialized services using the referral pathway distributed during these sessions.
For the past years, Community Initiative for Sustainable Development (COMINUSUD) in its quest to promote community engagement, development and accountability has been building a strong network of community volunteers in the North West Region. Little did it even foresee that this network of volunteers may subsequently serve in a situation of crisis?
But it has come to pass with the outbreak of the now Anglophone crisis in November 2016. From a socio-political crisis it metamorphosed into a deadly armed conflict. This has resulted to thousands of displaced persons either moving out of their usual habitat, out of the Region and some to neighbouring countries especially Nigeria.
To adapt to this new dispensation, COMINSUD developed a project titled “TRANSFORMING PEOPLE IN DISTRESS TO POOLS OF KNOWLEDGE”.
To have a network of community volunteers to contribute in Community Engagement and accountability
Contribute to transforming those in distress to pools of knowledge.
We now have a network of 50 trained volunteers (5 of them who are now permanent) from all 7 Divisions of the North West Region. 21 of this community based volunteers are internally displaced persons who were empowered during a workshop and later integrated into the transforming people in distress to pools of knowledge project.
Most of these volunteers have taken part in the following trainings aimed at re-enforcing their knowledge, skills and attitudes to enable then to be veritable community agents of change especially in a crisis situation.
Volunteering training organized by COMINSUD in August 2018 to enlighten the volunteers on what volunteering is and is not, the advantages of volunteering etc.
Workshop on Project Proposal Writing held at COMINSUD conference hall and organized by COMINSUD from the 8 – 10 August, 2018. This workshop was aimed giving more understanding to the volunteers on the various steps and aspects in project proposal writing.
Workshop on the provision of Psychological First Aid to Internally Displaced Persons – IDPs in North West Region, notably women, girls and boys on the 17 October 2018 at COMINSUD in Bamenda.
Workshop on Social Inclusion, Humanitarian Action and Peace Work in the Context of Conflict organized by COMINSUD and funded by UNFPA
CHANGES/IMPACT OF THE ACTIONS
Having a network of volunteers covering all the 7 Division of the North West Region has greatly increased our access to certain inaccessible communities.
Through the TRANSFORMING PEOPLE IN DISTRESS TO POOLS OF KNOWLEDGE initiative, we have been able to empower at least 21 IDPs giving them hope.
Community development is valuable to the targeted communities when Community Engagement and Accountability is promoted.
Internally Displaced Persons shouldn’t be only seen as needy people but persons with pools of knowledge that can be transformed into agents of change.
The difficult and insecure working environments across the region.
Most of the transformed IDPs cannot give the optimal best due to lack or insufficient financial means.
In spite of the challenges COMINSUD is striving to ensure that community engagement and accountability should be promoted through the engagement of Community Volunteers and members of the concerned communities.
“More women in my Council” was COMINSUD’s key message for this year’s international women’s day celebrations across the North West Region. Everyone who wants to see more women in their council is encouraged to wear a yellow ribbon until they have enough women in their Council. This campaign is linked to the work COMINSUD has been doing for more than a year to mobilize Women, Youth and Minority Potential Candidates across the Region.
To let their voices be heard in society, women in the region joined their counterparts worldwide in various celebrations of the international women’s day on 8th March. This day is dedicated to celebrate economic, political and social achievements of women and to create more awareness of future challenges, while appreciating progress made in the struggle for equality, justice, peace and development.
COMINSUD animators and promoters used the day to call for “More Women in Councils” by distributing yellow ribbons, badges, leaflets and placards to various groups in 25 sub-divisions of throughout the Region.
According to Sarah Koye of Ndu Sub Division “Women were excited and badges got short we ran out of ribbons and men also joined the march pass and put on badges. The only female Parliamentarian from the North West Region Esther Ngala should be encouraged by bringing in more women, I will love to be one” In Bamenda, men and women reached out for yellow ribbons and placards carrying messages of encouragement for women standing for elected decision making positions as their own way of supporting women into leadership positions.
This campaign painted the whole event yellow making more news for the day. Different groups who marched under this idea with their yellow ribbons and posters felt happy to create impact on decision makers and motivate women who are standing for Council elections.
The Divisional Officer in Babessi presented a speech in which he encouraged women to support other women standing for decision making positions. Mrs Ngen Florence Chinya, COMINSUD’s promoter in Babessi, noted that almost everyone present was wearing a yellow ribbon and that many people were talking about the campaign.
In the North West Region there are currently 177 women councilors out of 1,088 Councilors, let there be 330 or more women Councilors after the 2012 municipal elections. The situation in Parliament is even worse with only 1 woman Parliamentarian out of 20 for the region, let there be 5 or more women Parliamentarians after the 2012 legislative elections.