Advocacy for Social Inclusion in 15 Councils of the North West Region

Social Inclusion, a process of ensuring equal opportunities for all persons so they can achieve their full potential in life, is the main focus of the Democracy and Empowerment (DEW) project. Within this phase of the project we cover 15 councils (Bamenda II, Bali, Bafut, Ndop, Babessi, Kumbo, Oku, Nkambe, Ako, Belo, Fundong, Batibo, Njikwa, Wum and Benakuma) out of 34 in the North West Region.

Several advocacy discussions with Council officials (Municipal and Traditional) and other stakeholders were organised in these Municipalities. Councils were encouraged to increase the percentage of their annual budgets for the underprivileged (youths, OVCs, PLWHA, widow(er)s, elderly by at least 40%.From these meetings it was realised that:

  • Babessi Municipality with 25 Councillors in its draft budget for 2016 has allocated 6,000,000 frs CFA for needy persons and has gone as far as identifying them in the 4 Fondoms.
  • Batibo Council too has set up a strategy to identify needy persons and has promised to assist at least 100 in 2016.
  • Njikwa acknowledged the fact that besides the holiday jobs offered to 25 youths in the Municipaity, they have not been very committed in addressing the needs of vulnerable persons. As such the 1st Deputy Mayor in his concluding speech said they would take the concept as a challenge and even though they have adopted their 2016 budget they are very flexible and ready to assist some vulnerable persons.
Batibo Lord Mayor encourages both Municipal and Traditional Councillors to be sensitive to the needs of the underprivileged .

Batibo Lord Mayor encourages both Municipal and Traditional Councillors to be sensitive to the needs of the underprivileged .

First and Second Deputy Mayors Njikwa welcome the concept of Social Inclusion in their Municipality.

First and Second Deputy Mayors Njikwa welcome the concept of Social Inclusion in their Municipality.

Member of the Traditional Council Bali talks about the situation of underprivileged persons at the village levels.

Member of the Traditional Council Bali talks about the situation of underprivileged persons at the village levels.

Babessi Municipal and Traditional Council members commit to social Inclusion.

Babessi Municipal and Traditional Council members commit to social Inclusion.

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14 Municipal Councils commit in increasing of budget for the underprivileged

It was following lobbying and advocacy meetings with municipal and traditional council authorities in 14 Councils in the North West Region within the DEW Project of COMINSUD that the dire challenges of vulnerable and underprivileged persons in the municipalities were identified and strategies proffered in the spirit of programme budgeting in tackling these needs over the years.

A huge number of women, orphans, children under 14 years specially the girl child, physically challenged persons, persons from minority groups, PLWHA, widows and the elderly in the communities were identified to be facing critical challenges of discrimination, limited access to basic needs for survival, extreme poverty and much more. Through partnership agreements (MoUs) signed with COMINSUD, the Councils’ decided to increase their budget head for assisting the vulnerable in 2016 by varying percentages: Ako Council 60%, Oku Council: 25% and lots more….

The councils envisaged a minimum of 100 underprivileged persons benefiting from sustainable impacting assistance per council per year, giving 300 in three years thus 1,400 for 14 councils per year and a total 4,200 in three years. This cumulative impact is very significant which when properly implemented, documented and communicated wouldn’t go unnoticed. We encourage other councils to engage and do better.

Councils Involved: Bali, Batibo, Oku, Kumbo, Ndu, Ako, Ndop, Babessi, Belo, Fundong, Njikwa, Bafut, Wum, Benakuma

Municipal and traditional authorities in Oku

Municipal and traditional authorities in Oku

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Municipal and traditional authorities in Ako

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Mayor of Ako committing the collaboration of the council

Oku Traditional Council breaks a taboo

Oku-Elak is widely known as one of the communities of the North-West-Region of Cameroon that holds tradition at a very high esteem. Especially when it comes what is considered sacred the exclusion of women was obligatory. A gender analysis (COMINSUD, 2010) revealed that women were forbidden to be members of the Oku Traditional Council (TC).

With the changing times, women’s participation and contribution in all spheres of life could not escape their presence in the TC. The community realized that women play an important role in addressing women related cases.

Now the present Fon of Oku together with the 15 male members of the TC fully accepted female membership in the TC. The following criteria was placed to select these female members

  • Should be at least 45 years of age
  • Should be fully of Oku origin
  • Should be influential to move community development
discussing in the TC meeting

discussing in the TC meeting

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Oku Traditional Council with its six new female members

A Cameroon void of Discrimination!

The situation of vulnerable people in our local communities from observation, is a serious call for concern reason why some COMINSUD staff within the week, are gathering information to establish a data base on the situation of vulnerable people in the Benakuma, Wum, Ndu, Ako, Kumbo, Bali, Babessi and Oku council areas for the implementation of the Democracy and Empowerment of women (DEW) phase V project which aims at enhancing participation of communities in the decentralization process in collaboration with their various councils for effective local development benefiting the disadvantaged population.

We will keep you posted as activities unfold within this project…

Basis information on women empowerment published

IWD-BookletOn accasion of the 104th International Womens Day, COMINSUD published a booklet informing around that important day. Inside the booklet there is also information on the “Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, 1995“. This conference ended up with the “Beijing Declaration” that promulgated a set of principles concerning the equality of men and women that is found inside the booklet in a simplified form.

The booklet also contains information of the COMINSUD campaign “Voices of 100 Women” that describes priority areas for action in the North West Region of Cameroon.

The booklet will be made available to the 25 Local Governance Center (LGCs) that have been established in the framework of the DEW Project. From there it shall be sold for 100 frs each to inform men and women in their area about important basis of the fight for the empowerment of women.

Workshop on the role of Local Governance Centers (LGCs)

DEW Project: In February and March a series of sensitization workshops will take place. Out of 25 Local Governance Centers (LGCs) there are some whose capacity still seems to be low. 15-02-27_02The first workshop took place on the 26./27.02.2015 in Santa. The members of the LGC Santa were informed on the origin of the DEW project and the role and responsiblities of an LGC. The revised “Local Governance Center Guide” (2015 edition) has been distributed amongst the LGC members. Furthermore an introduction to the LGC focus areas (promoting respect of Human Rights, promoting good governance practices, promoting the empowerment of women and girl children) was given by the facilitätors of COMINSUD. For all the topics case studies have been elaborated. The next step for the LGC Santa is now to develop their own action plan for 2015, and for COMINSUD to accompany closely these activities.

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Participants of the LGC workshop in Santa

 

CHANGING LIVES FOR THE MARGINALISED AND LESS PRIVILLEGED IN COMMUNITIES

The Development and Empowerment of Women Program (DEW) has continued to be a source of creating opportunity bases for more women and marginalized in around the North West Region.

Today the project can boast of 70.000 persons who have been sensitized and equipped with adequate skills and support to bring about social and economic transformation in communities. One of such initiatives is that of Mrs Nkambi Julia who after her training created Heritage Bilingual and Primary School Upstation, Bamenda.

 

The school opened its doors for the first time in 2009 and is run by an active PTA body.

Today the school can boast of a nursery and primary section, with a total of 84 pupils. The nursery section has 34 pupils and primary section has 50 peoples.

It has a staff of five with one minority grooming 84 pupils, 60% girls, 40 % boys, and 35% being of Muslim minority.

According to the Head Teacher, the minority groups hardly send their kids to school, so the school body at times walks up to them for sensitization.

The school has placed three students on scholarship from very poor backgrounds and orphans who are presently being educated on no tuition fee. They are:

Fosi Clinton (8years) – Class 5

Sayon Collins (5 years) – Class 1

Ali Ibrahim (6 years) – Class 3

For the past three academic years the school has been monitored by the Inspector of Bamenda one and a team of Inspectors from Yaounde.

The Proprietress, Mrs Nkambi has a vision to raise the school to international standards in the nearer future.

Monitoring human rights and governance issues

The DEW Project also aims at contributing to human rights and the promotion of good governance practices at all levels of the society, through the transformation of power relationships and structures that promote discrimination and oppression against women in particular and the marginalized in general. COMINSUD’s work on human rights monitoring is designed to provide objective, well-supported information on the human rights practices, businesses, private groups and organizations so as to provide a basis for advocacy and future protection of human rights.

Promoters are trained to tap into the potential of Information so as to increase citizen participation, monitor human rights violations, carry out sanitizations and also inform and educate its constituents and the public, on various human rights and governance issues. This groundwork has been deeply rooted in communities across the North West Region, such as Bello, Bali, Batibo, Wum, among others.

 

 

 

 

 

 Various human rights monitored and classified in different scopes and scale

The Scope of Human Right The scale of  Human Rights
Political Rights( participation) International treaties , covenants and conventions
Civil rights ( Dignity)
Economic Rights (production /Income)

African Charters, Human rights, women and children Rights.

Social Rights (safety and protection (belonging)
Cultural Rights ( identify)
Womens Rights

National Laws and the Constitution

Children Rights
Minority Rights
Rights of people with disabilities
Rights of people living with HIV. Customary laws, norms and practices

 

Instances of interventions

A mentally retarded girl was discovered to have been left naked at home by her father. We instructed the father to understand that this was a violation of the child’s rights and that the child is entitled to her rights to protection and privacy. Consequently he gave in to our pleas and the girl cleaned up, dressed up and given more attention.

Njeko Victor: Lead Promoter in Bali

Two pregnant girls in Forms I and Class Five were thrown out of their homes by their parents. DEW promoters in Batibo succeeded to reconcile these girls with their families and counseled the families to provide their girls with gestation care. After the negotiations, the girls were received and accepted back home and we have been paying home visits to encourage their parents to the take care of them.

A native of Batibo we noticed was always drunk and very sick. Talking to this man, it was discovered that he had a prolonged unsettled dispute with his family and consequently had been abandoned. We succeeded to trace out his sons where about after which we brought in Rev Pastor to talk them to reconciliation. Unfortunately the reconciliation failed and this man finally died. His corpseswas   abandoned by his sons in the mortuary. After close to a week, we had to call the Fon’s attention who intervened for this man to be given a proper burial.

Madam Esther: Promoter in Batibo

This program aims at seeing that individuals,  local community based groups and particularly women have improved understanding of commitment to building a human rights society; engage citizens in dialogue within the context of democratic governance, to ensure a drop in human rights violations

To keep track of work and to facilitate the success of these promoters and animators, COMINSUD provides Monitoring Human Rights and Governance Issues reporting forms. In these forms, animators fill in their activities, observations and recommendations. This enables the office to evaluate the results of the training put on ground and to intervene and carry out follow-ups in targeted areas.