Working in Syngery with Human Rights Service Providers

“We are equal in rights and dignity” – a summary of human rights and what social inclusion is out to promote.

To ensure this, COMINSUD in its Democracy and Empowerment of Women (DEW) Phase V project is holding series of meetings in 15 council areas to give an opportunity for the community to understand the services of individuals, organisations and institutions assigned to address issues of human rights.

With a goal to contribute to a socially-inclusive, non-discriminatory and gender sensitive society, the DEW V project at the beginning conducted, a baseline survey on the perception of human rights and the demand and protection of human rights by COMINSUD Part analysis showed that 72% of persons belonging to vulnerable segments do not know the structures that are responsible to render services to them. This baseline report thus paved the way for meetings that brought about service providers like the Divisional Officer, Lord Mayor and some Council staff, Forces of Law and Order, Inspectorate of Basic Education, Delegates of Social Services, Chairpersons of Traditional Councils, Doctors and Religious authorities. Also present were duty bearers especially vulnerable persons like; women, widows, youths, persons living with disabilities, persons belonging to a cultural minority group and orphans. Interesting questions that came up included:

  • Does the traditional council have the right to exile one from a community?
  • Where can one report a case of land dispute?
  • How much is set for bail from a police / gendarme post?
  • Do parents have the rights to corporal punishment over their children?

So far, 10 out of 15 meetings have taken place in 10 Municipal Councils bringing over 230 participants. At the end of the meetings, participants expressed heartfelt thanks for creating a forum wherein people could freely express themselves in issues concerning their rights. This is the second time that these meetings are taken place the first being in May 2016 and the second on going. All meetings were coordinated by DEW staff and other consultants of COMINSUD.

Written by Ijang Sandong

Advertisements

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.

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

2015-11_02

Municipal and traditional authorities in Ako

2015-11_03

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

15-10-12._Oku

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.

15-02-27

Participants of the LGC workshop in Santa