The North West and South West Regions of Cameroon have since 2016 face an armed conflict. The crisis has been characterized by school shut downs, wanton killings with many children caught between rape and forced marriages amongst other vices. This has necessitated humanitarian actions to protect girls who have faced significant forms of violence and are still highly at risk to see more violation of their rights if increased measures are not taken.
Statistics from UNICEF (Nov. 2019) indicate that more than 855,000 children remain out of school in the North West and South West Regions, ReliefWeb (April. 2020) reported over 14 children killed. COMINSUD field reports from April to September 2020 indicate that 38 girls have been victims of rape, 69 others suffered sexual assault, 74 succumbed to physical assault, 61girls have been forced into early marriages, 90 girls have been denied resources and services while 98 girls have gone through psychological/Emotional violence. The numbers are from 10 of 34 council areas in the North West Region.
COMINSUD on October 11th 2020 joins in the commemoration of the International Day of the Girl Child under the theme: “My Voice, our Equal Future,” with activities in 15 localities across Mezam, Menchum and Momo Divisions of the North West Region. We reached out to over 1,000 girls aged 9 – 17. With a series of activities and drills, we shared ideas that will enable them in voicing their rights to life, health, education and protection as well as envisioning a better future.
Some girls expressed joy with the new window of opportunity they have to go back to school after staying home for over 4 years. They regret some of their peers who are deprived from accessing education due insecurity, lack of means, unplanned pregnancies, forced marriages and even deaths.
COMINSUD working extensively in the domains of inclusion, fight against Gender Based Violence and child protection is very concerned with the rights of the girl child to return to safe schools. The International Day of the Girl Child as a platform for us to amplify the voices of voiceless girls across the North West Region in their quest for the right to education and an equal future.
These activities were realized thanks to the partnerships with UNFPA, UNICEF, Bread for the World – Germany and the Cities of Gorinchem/Dordrecht – Netherlands.
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