16Days of activism against gender based violence GBV
Story for day 16 


Mainstreaming  gender  and  disability  in  all organizations in the North West Region

Gender  equality  and  female  empowerment  are  core development objectives, fundamental for the realization of  Human  Rights  and  key  to  effective  and  sustainable development  outcomes.  Unfortunately  individuals, organizations and institutions work with the false assumption  that  men,  women,  boys  and  girls  benefit equally from all activities. This has led to the continuous marginalization  and  relegation  of  women  to  the background especially those living with disabilities. Conscious  of  the  plight  of  the  Cameroonian  woman especially the most marginalized namely those living with disabilities  and  in  a  desperate  attempt  to  narrow  the existing gap, I work passionately to mainstream gender and disability in Program’s initiatives to enhance equal participation  and benefit of men, women,  girls  and boys living with and without disabilities from all interventions. As  the  Gender  Officer  for  the  SEEPD  program  we developed the gender policy and action plan to enhance gender  mainstreaming  and  partnered  with  other stakeholders  and  organizations  involved  in  women’s empowerment  including  the  Ministry  of  Women’s Empowerment and the Family (MINPROFF NW) to intentionally  mainstream  gender  and  disability  in  all activities.  Also,  gender  disaggregated  statistics  are analyzed and conclusions fed into planning and strategies of  implementation  in  ways  that  benefit  both  men  and women  without  any  socially  related  barriers  to  access. Awareness  raising campaigns on gender  sensitivity have been organized in Organizations, Churches and cultural associations  in  collaboration  with  positive  role  models with disabilities.  Although  considerable  progress  has  been  made  in mainstreaming gender and disability, we’ve encountered challenges  including  low  self-esteem,  low  educational qualifications for job opportunities, lack of knowledge of existing opportunities, and  limited  talent among persons with  disabilities.  On  the  other  hand  challenges  with partner organizations  include  reluctance  to embrace  the concept  of  disability  and  inclusion,  lack  of  expertise  in disability inclusion, limited capacity, inadequate financial resources, and inaccessible infrastructures. To overcome these challenges, the SEEPD Program organizes  awareness  raising  campaigns  on  gender  and disability  sensitivity,  capacity  building  workshops  on Disability and Inclusive Development, and provides technical support to partners to enhance disability inclusion.  We hope that gender and disability will be mainstreamed in all organizations in the North West Region and beyond to  ensure  effective  participation  and  representation  of men, women, boys and girls with and without disabilities in all activities for sustainability.  Integrating  gender  in  all  activities  has  led  us  to acknowledge  that  women’s  empowerment  and  the recognition of women’s rights as human rights are essential  for  sustainable  development  and  can  be empowering for everyone, women and men. The GRID Network  provides  an  excellent  avenue  for  considerable discussions on gender and DID, and makes it possible to redirect  multiple  actions  after  discussions  to  achieve objectives.
 
By Clodine Shei  

 Story for day 15

Good Health and Sound Mind is Wealth.

My dreams and aspirations were so high with me becoming a Journalist by profession. But how it shattered is a mystery am yet to unravel (understand). Yet I learnt that I must move forward no matter what. But how could I bring together the broken pieces of my Life? My name is Lilian and this is my story. I grew up to know I was the only person with high intellectual mindset in my family because  I  loved  education,  I was determined  that since my  elder  ones were  not  embracing  education, my case should be different and ‘it was different indeed’. It  all  started  when  my  father,  our  lone  bread  winner became distracted  and  irresponsible  refusing  to provide for his  family and then  finally stopped paying our school fees. In a family of 6, no one lives to tell a story of sound education. As  if  that was  not  enough,  he  got married  to another  wife.  At  this  point  all  hope  was  gone  and unfortunately he had no child with the new wife. I knew becoming a journalist is a dream that will never come true.  In  a  desperate  attempt  to  save  us  from  illiteracy  and shame, my mother  took over and decided  to educate  the three  of  us  interested  in  going  to  school. Unfortunately, her marital  problem  robbed  her  of  joy,  peace  and  health.  She  started  depreciating,  from  one  illness  to another  and  then  the  unbelievable  happened.  She  died, leaving us  in the middle of the sea, no were to run to. All hope was gone. Was I ever to become a Journalist again? Deep in me, I knew that, my father was going to have pity on us and come back. He took ill shortly after my mother had died, he became deserted. His princes the second wife ran away and abandoned him with us. In his dreads, tears of aid, guilt and nervousness, he answered the ancestral call.  I saw darkness in day light as we became complete orphans,  no  mother,  no  father,  no  bread  winner,  no education,  no  hope.  I  decided  to  be  cooking  food  and selling  in  the  market  while  struggling  to  complete  my high school. It was such a difficult task but I kept on. Then came a man with “big big” English saying he  is a teacher, lured me into having sex with him. I resisted more than a few times but thought it could be a way out. Thinking it was the best solution to our problem, I gave  in and slept with him and it was here I discovered he was a cheat and did not want to die alone; he was looking for a victim. He got me pregnant and worst of all he gave me HIV and then abandoned me.  I kept on wondering like a lion in a dry  jungle. My tears dried off, my existence was more of death than living. Fortunately  for me, my rescuer Melvin came  through his organization;  he was  just  like  an  angel. He  assisted me, counselled me, gave me hope to live.  I struggled with the pregnancy and gave birth  to  the child without her being infected because of  the medical  intervention during ante natal care. This man blocked my dreams, made me to stop school, got me  infected,  pregnant,  and  rejected me. My  pride  of being a happy wife, woman, mother was lost. I was almost mentally disabled. As if that is not enough, he got another victim in the name of marriage, infected her also. They never had a child and  it was done  to him  that he should do something. He saw me as a queen carrying his only child.  He  came  back  begging  for me  to marry  him  as  a second wife.  It was  too  late,  I had  learnt my  lessons  the hard  way  picked  up  my  broken  pieces  of  life  together. Though  I  could  not  be  the  Journalist  I wanted.  I  knew  I could be a successful woman in another field. Yes, my past was behind me, Yes  it  is never too  late to start all over,  it worked for me. ‼ I now run a business of my own, manage my  farms with yields that feed my child and siblings with excess to sell. I also teach in a primary school in the neighborhood. I took upon myself to challenge many not to dwell in their past but to fight for the future, to fight against sexual violence, and  to know  that  living with HIV/AIDS  is not  the end of life.  Melvin’s  comment:  Intervening  in  Lilian’s  situation  has greatly  empowered  and  encouraged  her  and many  other fellow young women with  similar problems  in and around her community  to be  socio economically empowered.  I  see myself  as  a  change  maker,  changing  her  life,  she  is changing  other  people’s  lives  and  this  is  changing everything for a sustainable future.

By: Melvin Songwe and Lilian
 

Story for day 14


Double-Double
My Christian name is Danielle, but when my friends started  calling me  Double-Double,  I  liked  the  nickname. They called me Double-Double because I have a disability and  I  am  also  HIV  positive.  I  say  that  Double-Double means  that  I  have  double  the  satisfaction with  life,  and double the friends and fun.  I am now 37 years old, and have had my first disability for 30 years. When  I was 7, my  leg was  caught under a  car, and was seriously damaged. So now I usually walk with a walking stick or crutches. When I was  in my early 20’s, I became HIV positive. So for the last 15 years or so, I have been  living with HIV and my walking problem  (what we now call a mobility impairment). When I first became HIV positive,  almost  no-one  in  Bamenda  was  talking  about how  people  with  disabilities  can  become  HIV  positive. Even today, there aren’t many who speak out about these things.  I  have  so  many  ideas  and  so  many  questions  when  it comes  to  disability  and HIV/AIDS.  It  used  to  be  that we hardly saw people with disabilities in the AIDS programs, but  I  have  come  to  know  so many  people who  are  now infected that I decided to just speak out about it. I thought, What  can  I  lose?  It  can  only  help  other  people like me. People with disabilities are just as much at risk of getting the HIV as others, maybe even more so because of some  of  our  vulnerabilities.  We  just  don’t  have  good information about what the experiences are. I have heard stories  of  women  with  visual  or  hearing  impairments who are positive but afraid to tell even their closest family and  friends,  trying  to do all  they can  to hide  their status.  
As time goes on, I am having other impairments from the HIV  and  the  medications.  Sometimes  my  legs  hurt  toomuch, and I cannot walk around town –  this neuropathy (my leg pain) is common for people with HIV. Sometimes my  eyesight  is  blurred.  Sometimes  I  have  fatigue  and diarrhea. I do not let those things stop me.  Now,  I  am  not  shy  to  tell  people  that  I  became  infected back  then  because  I was  involved with  a man who was HIV positive. Like so many men in this region, he told me he  was  being  faithful  to  me,  and  so  we  did  not  use condoms.  I  trusted  him  so much.  But  in  fact,  he  had  at least one other girlfriend, maybe more, I don’t really know. And he says he doesn’t really know when he became positive. I loved him and shared much with him – my hopes, my dreams, my time, my money, my whole life really. The way he deceived me  - Would  that be considered  the “gender-based  violence”  that  everyone  seems  to  be talking about? I don’t really know. I was very sad when I found out  all  about his  situation,  and  I did  feel  violated, but everyone told me it is just “normal” and what I should expect. But  I moved on.  I got  stronger. What  I do know  is  that  I am  glad  that  I  can  now  speak  out,  because  it  helps  so many others. I am happy that there are programs that help me to have my voice heard. I have been on the radio and on television sharing my experience and telling people that HIV can get even people with disabilities. I get hope and strength from telling my story, and getting support  from  people who  care  about me. And  in  turn,  I can support others.  Double the satisfaction, Double the hope. 
Double-Double, that’s me.

By: Anonymous  


Story for day 13 


It is not the end 
I am 44 years now. You cannot believe what I have gone through. Looking at me,  I am  strong and healthy, but  let me tell you what happened to me. I  grew  up  as  a  young  girl with  all  sorts  of  ambitions.  I went  to  primary  and  secondary  school  and  then  I  even went out of the country and was working abroad. My family trusted me and was proud of their offspring.  I  contracted  malaria  at  one  moment  and  felt  like everything was over for me. I went to a nearby local apothecary and  received  treatment hoping  to  get better. Discharged  after  two  days,  the medication  given  to me started  producing  terrible  symptoms.  I  had  burns everywhere on me: the palms of my hands, my toes, fallen nails, and worst of all, I started losing my sight.  I was taken back to Cameroon and it was discovered that I had taken a wrong medication. I completely recovered from the sores but I had lost my sight. I had to go back to my village with the conclusion that I had been completely incapacitated and  there was no way  I  could do anything again for the rest of my life. I received all forms of verbal violence  from  the  village.  Everyone  considered  me  a witch who had been driven from everywhere. It was a traumatic experience for me It  was  earmarked  that  I  could  be  ostracized  from  the village on  the count of witchcraft. Life  to me only meant getting up, basking and begging, and waiting for any good Samaritan  to  give me  food  to  eat,  and  sleeping  at  night after facing all sorts of odds during the day. 
 My life turned around when I attended a workshop on the participation  of  persons  with  disabilities  in  the  socio economic life of the community organized by a disability organization.  After  this  I  discovered  I  could  also contribute in the life of my community. For example, I participated  in  the  water  project  in  the  community  by contributing my own quota of the fees that were levied on everyone in the community.   At one moment I went to church to thank God for my life. I organized a church thanksgiving service which became a turning point because many people attended. I became a heroine and people started seeing that I could contribute in one way or the other to the development of the society.  
To make sure I kept supporting myself and my community,  I  decided  to  start  a  small  scale  business.  I started  selling  foodstuff  (like  Maggi,  salt,  matches,  and palm oil). People trusted buying from me because I never cheated them, and I was always available. I have also started a pig farm with the support of funding from a disability organization.  Now  I  am  a respected person  in the  society,  I  am consulted  on development  issues, and  I  support children  going  to school.  I  am  even thinking  of  joining politics as many are ready to vote for me in the upcoming elections to represent them in the council. 

By Louis Mbibeh

Story for day 12



Seeing GBV  in  the North West Region  from a global context
Have you heard of the AWID Forum? The Association for Women's Rights in Development or AWID is an international,  feminist,  membership  organization committed  to  achieving  gender  equality,  sustainable development, and women’s human rights –  including the rights of women with disabilities.   Every 3 or 4 years, AWID has a  forum – and  it holds  in a different part of the world each time. Ruth had been to the AWID forum in Turkey in 2012 and so she had an idea of what to expect. In 2016 it was held in Brazil, and both of us (Ruth and Commy) were able to go. Such a privilege and what a thrill! It  was  an  incredibly  exciting  time,  and  we  made  new friends  and  learned  about  what  is  happening  about women  and GBV  around  the world. There were women, feminists, activists from all over the world. There were dedicated sessions for women with disabilities.  It was  not  easy  for  us  to  get  to  Brazil, we  had  days  of travel and much sacrifice, but eventually we made it.  Ruth says: I was happy when I learned that CommyMussa, a  well-known  Cameroonian  journalist,  would  also  be attending, and was happy to connect with her  in Brazil. I made a detailed presentation about our issues as women with disabilities in Cameroon, and what we have learned. Through  participating  in  this  Forum,  I  learned  about more networks within the AWID network.  I came back to the North West with more energy and ideas  about  how  we  can  continue  to  work  together  to improve the situation for women and girls here. I take what  I  learned and what  inspired me and apply  it  to  the NW Women’s Forum. Our  activities  in  the NW Women’s Forum focus on helping women and girls to  learn how to protect  themselves,  and  on  reducing  the  number  of children  being  born without  choice  by PWD.  Everything we  do  is  connected    it  all  relates  to  improving  self-esteem and empowerment for women and girls.  
The AWID program helped to shape our professional and personal lives. Being part of the AWID and from the Women with Disabilities platform, has developed my communication  skills  and  influenced  the  way  I  interact with  others.  I  am  aware  that  certain  aspects  of  life will translate into different things for different people. I have become more open-minded and appreciative. I have become more  involved  in community building  initiatives, I have been equipped with skills of organizing and coordinating,  but most  importantly  I  am  amazed  by  the power of collaborations which I have been exposed to by the program. 
Now, I am more of a servant  leader. I take pride  in doing meaningful work for my community without expecting anything  in  return.  I  am  amazed  by  how  doing  good automatically attracts more good into one’s life.  Commy says: I was so inspired by the photo and story exhibition  I  saw  at  the AWID Forum  about women with disabilities. I also came back with more energy and ideas, and  know  that  in  the months  to  come we will  do more together  to  advance  the  rights  of women  and  girls with disabilities  in our region, and to reduce the violence that they are subject to.  The work  to  end  gender  based  violence  for  people with disabilities continues, and it is by being connected to global  communities  that  we  can  find  the  tools  and  the strength to continue.  Attending this kind of event helps us to remember that we  are  not  alone  in  our  experiences,  and  that  many others around the world are also working for  justice and to reduce gender based violence. We hope that many more from Cameroon will be present at the next AWID Forum
To read more, go to this link:
https://www.awid.org/awid-international-forum 

 By Ruth Acheinegeh and CommyMussa
 

Story for day 11  


Safe  Schools:  Learning  without  fear  of violence 
In  Government  High  School  Ghotobi,  Mr.  Finkeh  is  a Maths teacher in Form 5. He has been teaching for 8 years but  has  just  been  transferred  to  that  school.  He  has already  been  nick-named  “Mr.  Ten  Strokes”  because  he punishes students with at least 10 strokes for the least crime.    Sometimes  female  students  are  asked  to  bring  a big bunch of traditional broom to his house as punishment.  Mr. Finkeh is aware of the fact that corporal punishment is forbidden in schools in Cameroon.  On  one  Friday  afternoon, MrFinkeh  is  riding  home  and meets with Glory (16 years). He opted to carry Glory on his bike to “Cool Down” where many teachers drink after school. Glory thanked him but refused the offer.  During the next Math class, Mr. Finke who was conscious of the fact  that  Glory  had  a  hearing  impairment,  explained  an easy method of solving problems in “functions” a topic in Mathematics. This, he did  in a  low  tune while writing on the board and Glory, who did not have any hearing aids, was  left out. None of her classmates would help her with the  instructions.   When Mr.  Finkeh  gave  the  sequential test, Glory had 7/20. Glory felt she was now in his net. On her buttocks, Mr. Finkeh gave Glory Ten strokes that have left scares till date Glory who  loved Mathematics  so much,  soon  developed hatred  for  the  subject.  Each  time  it  was  the  period  for Mathematics,  Glory  will  look  for  every  excuse  to  stay away from the class. The discipline master noticed Glory’s behaviour towards Maths and Mr. Finkeh and questioned her. With a clear and strong voice, she revealed  the root cause to the Discipline Master.  She was immediately taken to the school counsellor and a query was sent to “Mr. Ten Strokes”. Although  Glory  still  does  not  want  to  attend  his  math class, she does so under the watchful  eye of the school administrators. She hopes for the days in the future when she  can  return  to  learning maths  in  a  safe  environment, and is determined to get there. As  a  worker  who  advocates  for  child  protection  in  the region, I visit many primary and secondary schools in the region. It is still common to see teachers beating children mercilessly in schools although there is a law that forbids corporal punishment in schools. 

By Anyangwa Sylvia  


Story for day 10



Sandra, speak out!
Sandra lives with her aunt. She is 10 and lives in the same house with her male cousin John. Sandra was attacked by polio when  she was  2  years  old which  affected  her  legs leaving  her  with  a  physical  disability  affecting  her mobility. She walks with the help of a stick. Sandra  loves school  and  goes  to  school  every  day,  despite  the  taunts that she sometimes receives from classmates. Her  male  cousin  is  a  primary  school  teacher  and  has made  her  to  think  he  cares  about  her  since  she  was rejected by many people around her. Sometimes the male cousin would  heat water  and  invite  her  for  a  bath,  in  a bathroom  fenced  with  palm  fronds  behind  the  house.  Over  a  few  weeks,  John moved  from  massaging her “bad leg” to rape. The first  time  this  happened, John  warned  her  not  to tell  anybody  and    gave her 3 coins  (300frs CFA). It always happened when the  aunt  and  other members  of  the  family were out of the house. Sandra  could  not  speak out  for  fear of  losing  the only person who  “cared” about her. Each time John had an opportunity to rape Sandra, he did so.  A  youth  forum  meeting  was  organised  in  Sandra’s community and an effort was made to include youths with disabilities. Sandra reluctantly came for the meeting. One topic was discussed during the meeting: Child protection.  During  the  meeting,  emphasis  was  laid  on reporting child abuse issues. Sandra left the meeting with one thing ringing in her mind- SPEAK OUT! SPEAK OUT!  That night, Sandra couldn’t sleep. She thought of reporting  the  issue  to  her  aunt but  feared  that her  aunt would  beat  her  (as  she  had  done  so  in  the  past)  and announce it in the whole community to humiliate Sandra. Sandra  thought  and  cried,  and  finally  decided  to meet  a female  counsellor  in  her  community  very  early  the  next day.  With tears streaming down her cheeks, she narrated her story. The female counsellor wrote a report and deposited it at Social Affairs office in her area. When  the  social  worker  from  Social  Affairs  spoke  with Sandra’s aunt, the aunt made attempts to stop the case to protect the family name but the facts were very clear. Justice took its course and Mr. John was arrested.  Meanwhile Sandra was given medical attention, counselled, and encouraged to continue her education. Now, she says when she is older she hopes to be a social worker to help other children like herself. 

By Anyangwa Sylvia 

 

Story for day 9
Boys too have their stories 

Many people know that Gender-Based Violence includes all  acts perpetrated  against women, men,  girls  and boys on the basis of their sex which cause or could cause them physical, sexual, psychological and economic harm. But  most  actions  to  eradicate  Gender  Based  Violence largely address women and girls’ vulnerabilities. Women and  girls  are most  often  seen  as  victims,  and  boys  and men are seen as perpetrators because these are the most common  situations,  and  men’s  power  is  reinforced  by society.  However, we  also  need  to  attend  to  the ways  in which boys and men are wounded by violence, and can be targets of gender-based violence.  Sidelining male victims can  have  negative  consequences  on  the  efforts  towards preventing  Gender  Based  Violence.    Such  a  one-sided approach  casts  a  shadow  on  the  plight  of  the men  and boys who find it difficult to talk about their predicaments. And it leaves out men who need to find ways to heal their own wounds and trauma.
One example  in  the North West Region  is what happens when  poor  boys  and men  get  involved with women.  In our region, for a man to admit being sexually harassed by a woman or for a young boy to accept being harassed by a “Sugar Mama” is disgraceful.  So, many boys and men would not  like  to  talk  about how  they have experienced violence. Talking about the situation of these males is not to lessen the issue of violence against women and girls at all  -  which  remains  a  major  issue  in  the  North  West Region.  Rather it helps us to see the links between poverty, emotional distress, abuse and violence. During my field work in one of the smaller communities in  the  region,  I met Gaston,  a  14  year  old  young man.  I met  him  in  a  training workshop with  a  youth  group  on child protection. Gaston was one of the participants and followed the training closely. A lot was said about sexual abuse  faced by girls and how  it can be  reported. We did not spend much time on how the issue affects boys.   A few weeks later Gaston came to talk with me in my field office and had this to say: “I went for holidays to live with my  uncle in Bamenda town. While in Bamenda we had a neighbor who was living alone. From the quality of her house and the type of her car,  it was obvious  that she was very rich. I was told she had lived in America for many years and had come to settle in Bamenda.  She used to send me to the market to assist her buy food stuff and also run other errands. Each time I rendered services  to  her  she  would  appreciate  me  and  give  me some money. I respected her and called her “aunty One  day  she  invited  me  to  watch  TV  with  her  and  I agreed. At one point  she brought  rice,  chicken  and  juice for me to eat. I can’t remember what happened after that. What  I  can  remember  is  that  I  found myself  on her bed and it was clear to me that I had had sex with her. I wanted  to  scream  but  I  was  confused  on  what  people around were going to think and say about me.  In  fact,  I  thought  nobody was  going  to  believe me.  She gave me much water  to drink and  told me  she  loved me very  much.  She  even  said  I  shouldn’t  call  her  “aunty” anymore. She said I should rather call her by her name  - Estella.  I was traumatized and was ashamed to talk about it to my uncle.  I decided  to come back  to  the village. This  trauma hunted me  even  in  the  village,  to  the  extent  that  I was afraid of my female teachers and  other big influential women around.  I have lived with these feelings, and have never told anybody.  I don’t know where Estella  is but  I  think other boys  around  her  are  going  through  this  same  abuse. There are surely other women who are doing this to boys or men and they are ashamed to talk about it. Since you advised  us  to  report  cases  of  violence  for  our  good  and that  of  the  community,  I  thought  I  should  speak  out  to you. It took me sometime to decide to talk to you about it.”   After listening to Gaston’s story, I encouraged him to still do  some  medical  checks  which  he  did.  Thank  God  his results were good.  Gaston was also sent to a psychologist who counseled him and he got over  the  trauma. He still does not  like  to  talk about it to people but knows that not every woman is like Estella. He desires to get married one day.  Since then each time I talk about gender or Gender Based violence, I also pay attention to some of the things boys and men go through. Many of our boys and men have had invisible  wounds  and  traumas  that  have  not  been  well dealt  with,  and  these  can  lead  to  emotional  disabilities that are not easily and well recognized.  

By Anyangwa Sylvia


Story for day 8
Linda  saves  her  own  life:  Tradition  and violence versus Girls’ empowerment. 



 Linda  lives  in  a  local  community  in  the  North  West Region. She is very beautiful but has some intellectual disability. She succeeds to graduate from primary school.  During  her  early  years  in  secondary  school  she  was impregnated by one of her teachers. She  abandoned school  because  of  stigma.    Her  parents  and  community members do not see the need of pursuing the author of the  pregnancy.  They  are  happy  that  their  daughter  is productive.   
After 2 years at home taking care of her baby boy, Linda decides  to go back  to  school. One afternoon, on her way back from school two men from another community meet her and forced a traditional bracelet meant for queens on her hand. She is surprised but was made to know that she had  been  made  the  9th  wife  of  a  Fon.  Her  dreams  of becoming a trained seamstress are shattered.   Informed about  this new development, her parents  start celebrating and warn her not  to  resist going  to her new home because according to their tradition, when the Fon has chosen a girl for a wife, it is a taboo to dare to refuse. She  is  compelled  to  succumb  and  moves  to  the  palace with  her  baby  boy. For  2  years  she  bears  the  trauma  of sleeping with an old man and having maids that can be of her grandmother’s age. Once  she met  a male  classmate  from  her  younger  days, and simply stopped to greet him. Her husband heard about  this,  got  her  well  beaten,  and  did  not  spare  the young man. It is worth noting that each time Linda refuses  to  go  to bed with  the Fon  for one  reason or  the other, she will be beaten and red lines visibly seen all over her body.   
While  on  field  visit,  we met  Linda  and  she  told  us  her story  and  the  fact  that  she  couldn’t  bear  the  pains  any longer. She was directed to the Social Affairs office where she unveiled her story. While her file was being processed she  received  counselling  from  the  social  workers. According to Linda, her life was at stake as she confessed. “If I continue to live with that old wicked man, he will surely kill me”.   Linda made up her mind and escaped from the palace one early morning. On her way to her parents’ home, she made a stop at the Social Affairs office and was  informed that  her  file  was  being  processed  for  onward transmission to the state council. This resulted in her living in her own home after legal interventions. Linda is now in her own home with no traditional bracelet on her hand. Her parents have finally accepted her. She has completed her  training  in  tailoring and  is about  to open her own workshop. She is healthier and full of life.

By Anyangwa Sylvia





Story for day 7 

Disability + Gender Based Violence = Multiple disabilities 
In a  rural  community  in  the North West Region, Aisatou (14 years girl) is living with multiple disabilities. She was born an albino, with visual and hearing  impairment.   She lives with her extended family in a compound with many people.   Aisatou suffered Gender Based Violence in her community. She was accused of theft very often in school and at home because she was the only person who hardly went out with others to play. Men in the community, and sometimes even community leaders, would come and rape her and her family would not defend her. When she complained the response was "Who can come to carry a curse from you? Do you consider yourself a valuable woman?”  Aisatou  felt  very  lonely,  and most  of  the  time was sad and confused.  
She became pregnant and gave birth through cesarean section. Believe me, that it was a scene for spectators and passers-by  as  she  could  breast  feed  the  baby  only with assistance. Her  family also helped her  to bathe  the baby. You can understand the degree of her disability. At 15
years, she continues  to experience abuse at  the hands of her family but takes pride in her baby. She is determined to be the best mother for her child.   Aisatou  has  been  identified  as  a  vulnerable  girl  and  a psychosocial assistance plan has been developed to give her  and  her  baby  girl  a  bright  future.  This  is  within  a Socio-Economic Empowerment project in her area. She is strong and  responding well  to  the positive attention  she is receiving. She is young, and much is possible in the years to come. 

By Gladys Ekie 



 Story for day 6 



The missing role of the  judiciary  in  fighting against GBV
Tatiana, aged 16 years old,  lived with a cousin  in Douala for 4 years. Tatiana was a pleasant girl, who did all she could to help in the house as she was asked. Although she had a clubfoot, and was not able to run as other children, she was very hard-working and learned quickly. She was not able to go to school because of the work in the house. Despite her efforts to please the people  in the house, she suffered from domestic, sexual, and motional violence. She  could  not  bear  the  pains  any  longer  because  each time she cried out in the house, the mother of the home ignored her and never  took her  seriously. With all  these pains, she decided to run back to the father in Bamenda for refuge. Little Tatiana, being with her father for some months, felt more secure.   Unfortunately,  the  ordeal  of  the  past  continued,  where she felt all frustration on her. This violence began all over and the result was early pregnancy. Tatiana  had  a  baby  girl  but was  stigmatized  by  friends and even close family members. Once she was beaten and thrown  out  of  home with  her  baby  to  go  and meet  the father of the child. Thank God, she found a neighbor who took  her  back  home,  begged  her  parents,  and  informed her of  social  services.   With  the help of 2  social workers from  the  Divisional  Delegation  of  Social  Affairs,  Tatiana was  able  to  accept  her  situation  and  open  a  “call  box”. After some time, she found a husband who cared for her, and now she is happily married.   But  given  the  inconsistencies  in  the  judiciary  system  of the country, the case had a fruitless end despite the charges  levied,  imagine  how  frustrated  one  becomes  to know that these perpetrators are still in the region. However we are glad that Tatiana keeps moving on with more hopes. Despite all the challenges, we can still make it.

  By Gladys Ekie 


Story for day 5
Patience and her Guardian Angels 



I remember one of  the  first visits  I had  to a home with a Community  Based  Rehabilitation  (CBR)  worker  in  the North West Region many years ago. He took me to a small village, and then to a small house. Once we were inside, I was  introduced to a woman I will call Patience, who was probably  in her  late 20’s, and her mother, who I will call Hope. Hope welcomed us in, and apologized that she had no  food  to  share  with  us.  She  explained  to  me  that Patience  had  both mobility  and  sensory  disabilities,  and could not see or speak well.  Hope was  a  farmer who,  like many women  in  this  area, had to walk a  long distance every day to get to her  farm. Hope  left  Patience  in  the  house  when  she  went  to  the farm. Hope’s husband had either died or left long ago – it was not clear. Some  of  the  men  in  the  area knew  that  Patience was  home alone during  the day. Patience had  been  raped  several  times. Her  mother  described  how Patience  seemed  to  be  more agitated  on  some  days  when  she  came  back  from  the farm, and on those days, Hope knew what had happened.
At  the  time  that we were meeting Patience,  she had  just given birth  to a healthy baby girl. The new grandmother was now taking care of the baby as if it was her own child. She  bundled  her  on  her  back  and  took  her  to  the  farm when she went. She loved and cared for her. This little family was very poor, and it broke our hearts to see how they were struggling to survive and get through each day. But somehow, Hope was doing it    she maintained food in the house and love in her heart. In the short time I was there, I came to see her determination and  her  fierce  love  for  her  daughter  and  her granddaughter, despite her fatigue. The baby was, at least at the time of our visit, thriving. 
Hope  had  female  friends  and  neighbours  who  were coming by the house more during the day to check  in on Patience. They too were poor, but they realized that they could  stop  by  and  play  a  type  of  guardian  role  for Patience. They did not have any regular pattern of when they would come, and word soon spread that  it was no longer safe for men to visit Patience because the aunties could drop in at any moment. I don’t know what happened to Patience or her mother, or her baby. But I often think of Hope, and how she became  a  grandmother.  I  think  of  her  powerful determination to keep going, to farm, and to find friendship and care despite the odds.
 From  the  work  that  we  have  done  over  the  years,  we know  that  this  is  not  a  unique  situation.  Unfortunately, women  are  still  being  kept  at  home  in  vulnerable situations. But we also know that more and more mothers are  finding  their  strength  to  speak up on behalf of  their daughters and granddaughters who can’t speak for themselves, just as Hope spoke up for Patience, and asked for help.   
More and more community workers are becoming aware of these kinds of vulnerable situations, and working with communities  to  change  attitudes.  Where  ever  Hope, Patience, and that little girl are now, I hope they are doing better. I wish they knew how much meeting them affected my understanding of the resilience of women in the NWR, and that they still give me courage for creating change all these many years later. 

By Lynn Cockburn 
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Story for day 4 
 

Helen’s hands 


I am a woman with disability today because my husband died. Before he died, he shared his property among us.  I
was the last of his five wives. Two years after his death, my  stepson,  the  child  of  the  second wife,  a  37  year  old
man left Sangmalima, a small town in the Center region of Cameroon,  and  came  to  my  village,  in  the  North  West
Region.  As  he  came  back,  he  came  to  my  compound  and compelled me  to  be  his wife  or  else  ‘I will  kill  you  and your children.’  After he said that, he was doing all possible  things  to have  a  sexual  relationship with me.    I
refused  the  first  day  and  ran  to  the  palace  and complained  to  the  Fon. When  the  Fon  called  him  to  the
palace and asked him, he refused and said he did not do anything  like  that.  Then  the  Fon  said  to  him,  ‘We  know
she’s your father’s wife but you don’t have to force her to be a wife because you don’t force a woman to be a wife.’ 
But he did not obey the Fon and kept coming after me. I went back  to complain  to  the Fon. The Fon said  I should
go to the police station and give a complaint to the police. Even  though  I  took  the  complaint  to  the  police,  he  kept coming after me. He set my  farm on  fire  to burn me and my children. The police came and saw everything
After  this he  continued his evil  schemes and one day he hid himself on a tree and watched my children leaving for
school.  I was  alone  at  home. He  jumped  down  from  the tree  into  the house and  told me,  ‘since you refused  to be my wife  and  you  have  exposed me,  I will  cut  your  head and put in my bag’. He had a machete, dagger, and a bag. ‘If  I  am  able  to  kill  you,  I  will  be  able  to  kill  all  your children and own everything my  father gave you.’ As he was speaking to me, he was  cutting me  at  the same  time.  Because  I was  protecting  my neck  from  the machete,  that’s  how  I got  injuries  on  my hands.” “He  was  cutting  me. Nobody was around to help  me.  When  I  fell down  and  unconscious  and  bleeding,  he  thought  I  was dead. He left. When I gained consciousness, I was lucky to find myself among people.” “The police came and took me to the health center. They stitched me  to  stop  the  bleeding.  They  believed  if  they didn’t stitch me,  I would die. After  that,  they  transferred me  to  the  People’s  Clinic Ngomngham where  I  received proper medical care.  I stayed at  the hospital  for  three  to four months. .” When we  talked  the bones were  still not yet healed and she still had to have bandages on her arms. “What happened to the stepson?” I asked her. “He’s now in prison at up Station. But his family is against me and thinks I’m lying.” Helen temporarily  lives  in a home given to her at the out skirts of a town in the North West Region of Cameroon. She  has  ten  children  (her  own  children  and grandchildren) with her. She still lives with the effect of the violence but they are surviving and thriving. 
 
By Rachel Chaikoff and Helen 
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Story for Day 3 
Bih’s Story: Embroidering a beautiful life


Some  people  believe  that  the  situation  of  women  with disabilities  is really different  from others because how a woman lives is framed by her community and her family. A woman with a disability  is not alone  in  this world, yet people often do not really support her. Many people still believe  that  if a woman who  is  living with a disability  is raped she should consider  it as a gift.  It does not matter the kind of disability. They say she should not complain, because  no man would want  to  get married  to  her,  and she  should  just  accept.  With  these  myths  and  beliefs around,  women  with  disabilities  have  so  many  stories. Here is one more, as it was told to me:  Bih is a woman with a physical disability. She is 35 years old. Because she was not allowed to go to school, she did not  know  how  to  read  and write  and  neither  could  she skillfully do a  trade. Her  family usually  just made her  to stay at home and take care  of  household chores  while  her siblings were  sent  to school.   She  recounts  that while performing her household  tasks,  she  noticed a boy who passed around their house every other day but she had no  idea where he came  from and where he was going to. He just always passed by and talked with her.  After  sometime,  this  same  boy  came  to  the  house when no one was home, and forced her to have sex with him. He did this many times. Bih on her part did inform her family of the occurrences but nobody  listened nor  considered  it  serious. After  five months her family took her to the hospital and discovered she was pregnant. She eventually had a baby, and raised her child with no support from the boy. A  few years  later, another boy got Bih pregnant and  ran away  from  the emerging responsibilities,  thus giving her the daunting  task of  raising  two children with no means of  livelihood. Confronted with this situation, and without consultation with Bih, her  family  took a decision  to  stop her from getting another baby by consulting with a doctor who arranged it. Determined  to  do  her  best  to  raise  her  children,  Bih eventually,  learned  how  to  read  and write  and  acquired vocational training. She learned how to run a small business. Now she is doing hand embroidering. Like other business people, Bih is able to manage the challenges that come with business while raising her children. She provides for their education and their basic needs. She buys  food,  and does  all  she  can  to  give  them  everything they need. She  finds  joy and  strength  from her  children, and from the other women she knows. 

By Ruth Acheinegeh 

Story for Day 2
 I knew the choice to speak out would be Agnes’s alone. My colleague Agnes was drowning in depression. At 32,  she  had been  trapped  into  a  forced marriage  for close  to  a  decade.  She  met  her  husband  when  he arrived  in  her  village  one  day  for  temporary  work. Soon after, he invited her to visit him in the city. At  the  time, Agnes was exhausted by  the pressure  to marry and believed this  invitation would answer her prayers for a husband to save her family from shame. There were no marriages among Agnes’s siblings and no in-laws, the pride of most homes.  
Like many young, industrious women, Agnes was pressured  to  marry  and  compelled  to  stay  in  her marriage  to  a  heartless  man  to  preserve  ‘family dignity’. Her story is part of a larger problem of forced marriage in Cameroon—an issue that especially  affects  our  country’s  youth.  UNICEF reports  that more  than  1  out of  3  girls  in Cameroon are married before they turn 18. Agnes  suffered  domestic  and  sexual  violence  at  the hands of her new husband. Like many women in her situation,  her  outcries  fell  on  deaf  ears.  Family members blocked her attempts to walk away from her woes. They believed leaving the  ‘marital home’ is a taboo. “No  one  leaves  their  marriage  no  matter  what.  It can’t  happen  in  our  family,”  they  claimed.  This  lack of support compelled Agnes and her two children to stay  in  an  abusive  home.  I  have  witnessed  women like Agnes die in silence, while their stories remain untold.  I  told  myself  I  would  not  watch  my  fellow sister die. But what could I do to help her? I tried to let myself into her world of trauma and pain, but she would not confide in anyone, not even me. I  persisted,  knowing  just  how  calamitous  Agnes’s destiny was. But my attempts to get her to speak out looked  like  throwing  water  on  a  duck’s  back.  She appeared  to  have  given  up  on  her  life.  Neighbors pleaded  with  me  to  help  if  I  could,  adding  to  my burning determination. I went to the organization where Agnes works and advised them to refer her for psycho social  counseling.  I  tried  everything  I  could think of, but I knew the choice to speak out would be Agnes’s alone.  As  cumbersome  administrative  procedures  delayed the much-needed intervention in Agnes’s case, I watched her deteriorate. Her husband continued verbally  and  physically  assaulting  her.  Whenever  I saw her, she was shivering, she could barely walk, and  she  was  no  longer  oriented  in  her  speech.  I invited  her  to my  house,  where  I  challenged  her  to either  speak  out  or  die  in  silence.  That  day,  she opened up to me, recounting her ordeal: “I  am  a married widow…  I  am not  even married. My ‘husband’ has not paid my bride price  and does not care  for me  as  a wife. He  knows  I will  soon  die  and does not want to bury me in their family compound as  tradition  demands.  He  says  this  will  mar  his chances of remarrying soon after I’m gone. "We’ve been  ‘married’  for  9  years  and  it’s  been  all  years  of pain. I wonder if other marriages are like mine. He is a  drunk  and  a  smoker.  He  had  been  married  twice before  but  two  of  his wives  before me  died.  He  has children everywhere and imposes them on me.” She paused, as tears ran down her cheek.  “I  didn’t  even  know  he was HIV  positive  until  I was pregnant with my first child. Every month, he seizes all my salary and  leaves me with nothing because he thinks  I’ll  send money  to my parents.  "I’m dying but he’s vowed not to use any money on me. He tells me outright that his wish is for me to die soon so he can remarry.  He  insists  I  bear  children  for  him  but  my CD4  count  is  so  low  and  I  fear  I  may  die  in  the process. He is also HIV positive and has refused to take drugs. He doesn’t believe AIDS is real. He  rapes me  always  and when  I  cry  he  tells me  it’s  satisfying when women cry during sex. I hate sex, I hate him, I hate marriage, and I regret ever knowing him. I attempted  several  times  to  leave  him  but my  family insists I must stay in the marriage. "To my  family,  people  know  that  I’m married  and  I must stay in the marriage even if that will cost me my  life. One  time when  I  took  ill,  I pleaded with him to assist me to the toilet but he blatantly refused, cursing me  to die  so he can get another wife.  I crept to the toilet like a baby. Please, help me! I’m now HIV positive and I don’t want to die!” Agnes’s story sunk deep  into my heart.  I went  to her husband  to  ask  about  his  plan  for  his  wife’s treatment.“Let  her  die,”  he  said.  “She’ll  be  buried  in their home, not ours. I can’t spend a dime on her. She claims she is wise but I’m wiser. I have bought a farm in  the  Southwest  Region  and  I’ll  abandon  her  to  die here while I go start a new life. Madam, don’t waste your  time!”  His  words  fell  on  me  like  a  bomb. However,  I  was  unstoppable  in  my  fight  for  the vindication of this fellow sister. I rallied Agnes’s family members. Once more, I went to the organization  she  works  for.  This  time,  a  delegation was  dispatched  to  her  house  and  she  was immediately taken to the hospital. Her husband was given stern words of caution. Agnes’s organization transferred her to a different city to work  far away  from  this man who  treated her with  disdain.  With  her  employer’s  support  she  is starting a fresh beginning. She now manages her own finances without bullying. She’s even able to save for the  rainy  days  through  a  micro finance  institution.  She is alive. She is an overcome. Each day she celebrates her health and success Agnes has renewed my passion to work toward the emancipation of women  and  girls  who  are  losing  their  pride  and voices to oppressive systems. My motto is, “Free my sisters  from  bondage.”  Let’s  shout  this  loud  until  all our sisters are freed. 

By Mbuli Clodine


Story for Day 1 

 Finding my way:  I couldn’t see, I didn’t know where I was  I have never been this touched; listening to Beri speak about  her  life  I  changed  my  perspective  of  viewing women with disability. 
Listen to her story:   
This is a young and beautiful lady in a small village in the region.  Living with visual impairment from birth,  she  is
also  an  orphan  as  she  lost  her mother  (the  only  parent she had) when she was about 14 years old. She struggled
to  care  for  herself  with  very  little  success  especially because  of  negative  attitudes  towards  her.  “Witch”  is
What they would often call  her.  In  fact,  people  believed she had killed her parents. Beri found solace in church
and believed one day she was going to see again. Many people admired her because  she was kind,  cheerful, and
loving. However, many more people kept saying she had killed her parents. She often felt sad and confused about
how they could say this about her.  One  day  as  she  was  coming  back  from  her  prayer sessions,  about  10  pm,  something  happened  that  was going  to  change  her  life.  She  heard  a  group  of  boys murmuring  from  the  nearby  bushes.  She  could  get  the scent of smoke meaning these boys were taking Indian hemp (marijuana).  She kept moving ahead with her cane till she had a knock on her head.  Let me continue the story in her own voice:  
“I  felt  someone grab my waist and another held my  legs and they carried me into a bush. I could not shout as they
blocked my mouth. They kept  threatening  to  kill me  if  I shouted.  Since  I  could  not  see,  there  was  no  way  to
identify  them. They  took  away my  very much  cherished virginity.  I  did  not  know who  did  it  because  they were
many.  I  was  dragged  back  to  the  road  and  left  by  the roadside. I heard someone walk pass again and I shouted.
Please help, please help. I can’t see, I don’t know where I am” 

When she told me this story, tears ran down from her eyes, and we had to wait a bit for her to regain her breath.
Then she continued her story: “A man again came by. Listening to me, he took me straight to hospital and offered to pay for all my tests. Thank  God,  I  had  been  afraid  I  already  contracted  HIV. This was not the case. So I was determined more than ever before to succeed in  life despite  the  loss of my virginity and all the violence on me.  I  started  a  small business  selling sweets  and  biscuits along  the road.  In  two years I became a very popular seller making at least 30 to 40  thousand  francs  a  month  from  my  sales.  Someone advised me  to go  to school.  I made my way  to study  in a government  school,  where  I  met  other  students  with visual  impairment. By  then  I was getting older.  I became one of the best students in the GCE Advanced level. I am very sure I will move higher and as of now, I am really satisfied.  I  thank God  for protecting me and  for giving me the strength to move ahead. I believe everyone can succeed only if we are determined and honest in our dealings.” This is how she ended her story. I was speechless, looking at  the  young  lady  and  the  enthusiasm  in  her. Her  story motivated  me  and  I  reminded  myself  that  my  own challenges  were  nothing  compared  to  what  she  had passed  through.  So  I  picked  up  courage  and  I  am  also determined  even  now  not  only  to  fight  against  gender based  violence,  but  also  to  forge  ahead  in  all  forms  of discrimination against women. 
By Louis Mbibeh 


The  GRID  Network  Gender  and  Disability

Inclusive Development Group  The Gender and DID group consists of people in the North West Region who are collaborating together as part of their  professional  development  work  to  address  the gender  based  violence  experienced  by women  and  girls living with disabilities. The vision to create the GRID Network  came  from  prior  activities  including  the  Best Practice Project spearheaded by a team led by the SEEPD Program  of  the  Cameroon  Baptist  Convention  Health Services (CBCHS). For the  GRID Network, the intention was  to create a Community of Practice  (CoP)  that would bring together professionals interested in different themes  related  to  disability  inclusive  development  and rehabilitation.  After creating several other GRID Network groups, there was  continuous  demand  for  a  group  that would  discuss women  and  girls  with  disabilities.  This  focus  was  still limited given  the  sustainable development goals and  the twist in disability inclusive development. We confirmed that  the  theme  would  include  gender  and  disability inclusive development. We think this group is unique in the North West Region in that while many initiatives are focusing on gender we believe  that  women  with  disabilities  have  been  kept aside;  so  with  this  group,  we  are  focusing  more  on empowerment  and  inclusion  of  women  and  girls  with disabilities  in  mainstream  development  activities.  The GRID group discussions are very  interesting,  focusing on sharing knowledge for professional development, reading for  empowerment,  and  intervening  in  given  situations when members discover cases of abuse in one way or the other.  The  group  also  focuses  on  the  UN  sustainable development goals. Many more people are becoming interested in joining the group  and  we  are  thinking  of  a  strategic  direction  by 2018  in  order  to  restructure  the  group.  Due  to  limited funding we cannot accommodate more than 10 members. But given the interest that is being expressed we want to be responsive to the community.  The 12 members who come  from  different organizations  are  so passionate  about  the subject  matter.  We are  proud  to  note that  the  Regional Delegate  for Women’s Empowerment and  the Family  is  a member  of  the  group  as well  as  the Divisional Delegate for  Mezam  (of  the  same  ministry).  Their  prompt  and thoughtful contributions have given the group the boost it deserves  and  younger  professionals  are  learning  just  so much from them.   

Second meeting of GRID Gender and Disability Inclusive Development Group 



By Sylvia Anyangwa and Louis Mbibeh
 


An  overview  of  North  West  Region  of Cameroon
 
The  Northwest  Region,  of Cameroon  is  found  in  the western highlands of Cameroon. It  is  one  of  the most  populated  regions  in  Cameroon.  It has  one major metropolitan  city,  Bamenda with  several other smaller towns. In 2001, according to the Statistical Regional  Services  of  the  North-West  Region,  the population of the Region is young, with over 62% of its residents  being  less  than  20  years  old.  Therefore,  the dependency rate in the Region is high, particularly in the rural areas. The Northwest Region has many ethnic groups, including immigrants from other regions and countries. The native population comprises a variety of ethnic and linguistic groups. In the Region, the social organization recognizes a chief  as  its  head,  also  called  the  Fon.  The  Fons, who  in their tribal area may be more  influential than the official administrative  authorities,  have  to  get  married  to  as many girls as possible even against  their wish. The girls and women  from  this  touristic  region are exposed  to all forms of gender based violence, because their decision-making  power  is  quite  minimal  and  they  have  limited bargaining  power  because  of  the  patriarchal  society  in which violence against women and children fits  as a tolerated cultural practice. Though there is still much to be  done,  the  government  and  the  civil  society,  have contributed  to  a  considerable  improvement  in  the perception of women, resulting in a greater respect for their rights.  


INTRODUCTION
 Interview  with  the  SEEPD  Program  Director
Prof. Tih Pius Muffi 

 1.  Overview of the SEEPD Program
The  Socio  Economic  Empowerment  of  Persons  with Disabilities (SEEPD)  is a disability  inclusive development program  implemented  by  the  Cameroon  Baptist Convention Health Services (CBCHS) in partnership with CBM  and  AUSAID.  It  has  as  goal  to  contribute  to development through breaking the vicious cycle of disability  and  poverty.  The  Program’s  comprehensive activities reach out to a population of about 2 million people in the Northwest Region of Cameroon and provide a wide range of services to persons with disabilities, their families  and  communities  in  the  areas  of  medical  and rehabilitation  services,  education  for  children  with disabilities,  livelihood, social  inclusion and research. The program’s  purpose  has  evolved  from  socially  and economically  empowering  persons  with  disabilities (2009  to  2011)  through  enabling  persons  with disabilities exploit their full potential in inclusive settings (2012  to  2014)  to  enabling  development  actors mainstream  disability  in  their mandate  (2015  to  2018). The GRID Network  is a Community of Practice project of the  SEEPD  Program  which  focuses  on  collaborative learning and professional development. 
2.  Gender and Disability Mainstreaming
SEEPD acknowledges that women, men, girls and boys with  disabilities  all  have  the  same  rights  by  virtue  of being human. Understanding how disability and gender intersect is key to identifying and dismantling root causes of discrimination for women, men, girls and boys with disabilities.  The  journey  for  both  movements,  gender equality and disability, has faced and continues to face many  of  the  same  obstacles.  Both  women  and  persons with disabilities face challenges to exercising control over their  own  lives.  They  face  prejudice  and  discrimination across many areas of  their  lives with  lower participation rates  in  development  initiatives,  therefore  having  fewer benefits from interventions. The SEEPD Program ensures sustainable equity for men and women with disabilities to access and benefit from available services.
3.  Gender and Disability Inclusive Development
Community of Practice TheGender and DID CoP brings together professionals involved in the empowerment of women, men, girls and boys with and without disabilities and uses Social Media (WhatsApp mainly) as a platform for knowledge and experience  sharing on development and practices which facilitate the equal participation of women and men with disabilities in mainstream development efforts within the Northwest Region of Cameroon. This is done through the documentation of case studies, success stories, emerging practices,  SOPs  and models  for  the  inclusion  of women and men with disabilities in development.
4.  CBCHS’ Position on Gender Based Violence Based  on  her  Christian  values  and  development paradigm, the CBC Health Services upholds and promotes human rights with even greater attention on the rights of women,  children  and  persons  with  disabilities. 
Gender-based  violence  is  not  only  one  of  the  most  pervasive Human Rights violations, it also jeopardizes development efforts.  Culturally-justified  violence  against  women  and all  its  manifestations  cannot  be  condoned  or  tolerated, henever  and  wherever  they  occur.  CBCHS  strongly condemns  the violation of  the  rights of women and girls because of their sex, vulnerability or/and disability.
Interviewed by Fru Rita Ngum and Mbuli CLodine

PREFACE
Groups for Rehabilitation and Inclusive Development  Building Communities of Practice for Rehabilitation and Inclusive Development North West Region of Cameroon The GRID Gender and Disability Inclusive Development Group.This  collection  of  short  stories  was  compiled  by  the Gender and Disability  Inclusive Development Group of  the GRID Network of  the SEEPD Program  for  the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence in 2017. We choose 16 Stories to represent the wide range of responses that women and  girls  with  disabilities,  and their allies and advocates, have shown in the face of difficult  situations.  These  are  difficult  stories  to  read because of the brutality and violence contained within them – but they are also stories of compassion, strength, resilience and hope for improvement. Each story is about a girl or a woman with disability, who has  overcome  violence  in  some  way.    The  names  are fictitious; we have not identified the woman or girl unless she has expressly given her permission to be identified. Our goal is to show that women and girls with disabilities have  difficult  situations,  yet  they  keep  going  with optimism and courage. We hope the stories will inspire other women and girls to live their best lives, to reach out to  support  others  and  to  show  that we  are  not  alone  in efforts to overcome gender based violence. We hope that you read them and use them in your own work.
 Let us know if you have any feedback. Contact the GRID Network at nwrcommunitiesofpractic@gmail.com/mbibeh16@yahoo.com
Lynn Cockburn
Derick BAKAH

Derick BAKAH

Bakah Derick is a Broadcast Presenter and Multimedia specialist with focus on sharing with the rest of the world the daily happenings in the Northwest Region of Cameroon. You can contact us on +237 675460750 or debakah2004@gmail.com.

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