Consider the consequences – peace journalism and election reporting

On Friday, the 21st of July, COMINSUD was invited to participate in a workshop lead by Professor Steven Youngblood from the Center for Global Peace Journalism at Park University (United States) in the Presbytarian Church Centre Bamenda.

During the workshop media representatives from the region were introduced to principles of peace journalism. Past experiences of Professor Youngblood were connected to election reporting from countries like India, Kenya and Uganda. Through these examples the importance of media coverage was proven and debates on current situation were initiated.

Comparison with journalists from Yaoundé proved that the risks of election provoked violence is seen as much more likely in the Anglophone part of Cameroon. Even more importantly, the workshop served as a platform for bringing together journalists and civil society representatives in order to work together on upcoming 2018 election reporting strategies. This will become a crucial cooperation next year for mitigating the possible risks of violence and lack of transparency all through the election process.

More information on the series of workshops held by Professor Youngblood in Cameroon (Yaounde, Bafoussam, Bamenda, Limbe, Buea etc.) and his impressions can be found here:

written by Krišjānis Liepa

Evaluation of Public Policy in Cameroon

“What is the role of the population and CSOs in the evaluation of Public Policy in Cameroon and at what point do they come in?”

It was in a bid in seeking strategies in enhancing civil and political rights that Ambe Michel Bruno C. (COMINSUD) attended a capacity building seminar for Civil Society Organisations and Political Parties on the theme “Follow up and Evaluation of Public Policy within the framework of the Implementation of Civil and Political Rights in Cameroon”.

Joining other 35 participants across the Nation, this seminar organised by the Human Rights Commission of the Cameroon Bar, held in Kribi on November 17th and 18th 2016, was focused on strengthening the state of law in Cameroon supported by an active civil society involvement in monitoring and evaluating public policies in Cameroon especially related to the respect of civil and political rights.

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Drilled on the steps and tools in monitoring and valorisation of results of evaluation exercises to stimulate change and action from government for the respect of human rights, COMINSUD as a rights promotion organisation and as the North West Regional Coordinator of RECODH was given the opportunity to share her experience in rights promotion and protection alongside her efforts in strengthening the respect of the rights of freedom of assembly and public demonstration in the North West Region.

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Ambe M. Bruno C. sharing COMINSUDs experiences in Public Policy Evaluation and civil rights protection

Key among the recommendations of the seminar were:

  1. Strengthening of the role of non state actors in the process of conception, implementation, and evaluation of public policies in Cameroon in a general manner and specifically in the domain of civil and political rights.
  2. Strengthening of the powers and prerogatives of parliamentarians in the process of evaluation of public policies in Cameroon.
  3. The amelioration of the legal framework guiding freedom of public assembly and public demonstration in Cameroon to avoid potential public disorder.

written by Ambe Michel Bruno C.

Historic action by Oku and Mbessa Communities in seeking peace

As an aftermath of the peaceful public manifestation walk by over 250 Mbessa a high level consultative peace meeting was held on March 3rd 2016 at the Mbessa Multipurpose Hall.

This meeting had amongst others the Senior Divisional Officers (SDOs) of Bui and Boyo (Nzeki Theophile and Oum II Joseph), the Mayors and Divisional Officers (DOs) of Oku and Belo, the Fons of Oku and Mbessa Villages and a cream of members of their traditional councils.

The historic nature of this meeting is seen in the fact that, in over 30 years, this is the first time a Fon of Oku is visiting the Mbessa Village. The over three hours meeting witnessed frank and open discussions aimed at establishing sustainable peace. Four of COMINSUD’s Peace Volunteers were also able to participate.

Key resolutions from this meeting as agreed by all the stakeholders were that:

  • The people in the disputed land boundary area should shun violence and remain calm for the governor and a regional technical team that will visit the area in the period ahead to demarcate the boundaries of the two communities;
  • More exchange visits between the Oku and Mbessa communities will be carried out to ensure continuous dialogue and sustainable peace;
  • Necessary traditional rites should be carried out by the Fons to enforce peaceful decisions and dialogue.

It is hoped that more efforts will be put to bear for more socio-cultural exchange activities among these communities for sustainable peace as the demarcation process is awaited.

Stay with us to be informed about the progress of this story.

African women development fund ready to partner with COMINSUD

Two project officers of the African Women Development Fund (AWDF) – Rosa Afful and Rissi Asani-Alabi from Ghana –  have paid a courtesy visit to the COMINSUD head office. The today’s visit was the first contact visit to the organization which was recently granted funds from the AWDF to execute a project dubbed “Women beyond Representation in the North west Region”.

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They sought to understand the organization better and get insights into the project which was submitted to their organization in October 2014. The guests were briefed on the objectives of the organization, its vision, mission strategic objectives and some ongoing and past projects. They also enabled the staff of COMINSUD to understand their areas of work.

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At the end of this brief but engaging meeting, they visited the activity communication boards where they saw some pictures, posters and flyers visualized.

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COMINSUD looks forward to implement this project in the months ahead – we will keep you informed.

THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING MORE WOMEN IN COUNCILS!

So, Women Let Your Voices be Heard and Let Your Actions Be Seen!

COMINSUD started an advocacy campaign on the International Women’s Day (IWD) 2012 which was extended to 2013 to raise awareness and increase the political confidence of women with the goal of increasing women participation in politics and to achieve the 30% quota of women participation set by major political parties. The symbolic “Yellow Ribbon Campaign” called on men and women to wear a yellow ribbon to “Support More Women in Councils” The final election results for the North West Region in 2013 had 285 women in councils (up from 179) and reaching 26% (up from 16%), 2 female mayors (the first for the region) and 4 parliamentarians (up from 1).After 2 years of advocacy for a quota of 30% women in councils in the Northwest region, there has been a significant and rewarding change with 26% of women now represented in councils in the northwest region , what is COMINSUD up to these women’s day 2014?

With respect to these results, COMINSUD is carrying out a ‘Thank You Campaign’ on the 8th of March 2014. Following commemorative activities towards women’s day 2014 COMINSUD has carried out a number of activities as an organisation and in collaboration with partners like the Delegation of Women Empowerment North West under the 2014 theme: challenges and achievements of the millennium development goals for women and girls. In a Round table forum organisation by the Delegation of Women Empowerment and partner organisations, reflecting on the theme, COMINSUD resource persons talked on Women in Leadership And Participation In Politics pointing out the achievement, challenges bringing our recommendations on achieving more in this domain in conformity to MDG3 that calls of gender equality and empowerment of women. COMINSUD participated on a radio talk on the CRTV Highlands morning show on Tuesday the 4th of March 2014 wherein the Coordinator of COMINSUD appreciated and underscored the significance of what has been achieved so far towards attaining the MDGs. He equally highlighted some challenges with significant recommendations for a way forward. This year women in leadership and those who have been elected into office have been challenged to work towards realising positive change in their communities, and by this open more doors for more women in future elections and more leadership positions.

This year  2014, as the international women’s day is being celebrated under the theme ‘challenges’ and achievements of the millennium development goals for women and girls’, COMINSUD in this forum appreciates partners, collaborators and  the public for Supporting More Women in Councils.

Ready to Stand

Forty women in the North West Region have been trained to boast their political confidence and capacity in view of the 2013 Parliamentary and Municipal elections in Cameroon. On the 26th and 27th of March 2013, these women were trained on topics such as networking, visibility Inside the party, campaigning skills and women working strategically together. Nominated by their political parties, participants were of the main political parties in the region; the CPDM and SDF. They included Deputy Mayors, Councilors, campaign managers and others intending to stand as candidates in next elections.

This training was sponsored by VSO and delivered by COMINSUD with the assistance of VSO volunteer to COMINSUD. In previous months COMINSUD has delivered this training to 406 other women in the region sponsored by UN Women and   the British high Commission

These participants were reinforced with resourceful material including training manuals, simplified copies of the Electoral Code and work books to guide them on topics covered.

In the North West, the representation of women as councilors stands at 16 % with only one female parliamentarian seat out of 20 allocated for the region. Currently the two major political parties have set voluntary quotas for women of 30%. With knowledge gained from the  training, these women promised to prove their worth and to see that gender quotas are well designed and well implemented for more development in their communities.

EQUIPPED TO LEAD

COMINSUD with support from VSO Cameroon has completed step one of the project “Young Women Empowerment” on the 24th and 25th of January 2013. Conceived and run by 3 in house volunteers of COMINSUD, 63 female youths in Bafut and Bamenda II council areas have been equipped through the initiative with knowledge and skills on local governance activities, project management along side developing their leadership capacities.

Their awareness was raised on issues of under representation, inadequate active youth engagement and the need for community volunteering. The workshops brought together Young women between the ages of 20-30 from the community, church groups and volunteers from Civil Society Organizations

This initiative enhanced the skills of national volunteers on developing and implementing projects with community volunteers and youths while strengthening their abilities in facilitation, project development and community mobilization.

With the knowledge gained, participants proposed action plans to intervene in areas such as school toilet sanitation, waste manage, helping disabled and vulnerable persons in their communities.

LOGONET community volunteers have been engaged in an early stage to ensure continuous coaching of these young women toward the realisation of their proposed initiatives along side other issues in community life.