Humanitarians working in the North West region have hailed humanitarian women working to bring relief to the many affected by the ongoing armed conflict despite the many challenges they face on daily basis.The women received their accolades from the United Nations UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs OCHA and partners Saturday August 17 during activities to mark the 2019 edition of World Humanitarian Day in Bamenda.
“You know that the humanitarian day is commemorated every year and each year there is a theme. It happens that those who designed that theme saw the important role that women play in humanitarian work… in the context of this crisis I have witnessed it myself.” Tanda Theophilus OCHA representative for the North West region noted adding that during a joint UN humanitarian mission to Mbengwi recently, “I tell you all the community humanitarian workers that we met were all women. These are people who are face-to-face with the challenges. All the challenges we saw come from reality and these are the people who face the reality. We imagine that majority are women. Is that not worth honouring? He questioned.
“Our major concern especially talking about the role of the woman, the women is actually the weaker sex and she is more vulnerable and prone to gender based violence. Very often they are those who are the victims even when they are survivors, they find it difficult to express their difficulties to those who can assist or help them. We have had the opportunity to meet a couple of them! A good number actually who were unable to express this difficulties.” Rev Fr Njokikang Paul Fru Director of Caritas Bamenda one of the organisations working with the vulnerable, displaced and suffering corroborated.
In search for a solution to the women challenges Rev Fr Njokikang announced the opening of doors by Caritas Bamenda to women who are suffering due to gender based violence. “We are ready to assist them; we are ready to provide them psycho social support to help them come out of the trauma. Some of their homes have been burnt; some of their husbands and friends have been killed and they are living in a very traumatic situation.”
At institutional level, the challenges were also raised with Plan Cameroon noting that with the regular road blocks prevent access to most affected areas in need of humanitarian aid. Mentioning Boyo, Bui and Menchum Divisions including parts of Momo like Batibo, the representative for plan Cameroon added that the continuous displacement of people from these places also constitute a major challenge.
Focused on the protection of children especially girls, officials of Plan Cameroon told the commemorating assembly that despite the challenges, they have continued to provide psycho social support to as many as possible internally displaced children in the region through the provision of workshops for counseling and skills acquisition in beading. According to Plan Cameroon officials, this will provide an appropriate response to issues of empowerment and aid sustainability. In addition, they have created safe spaces for displaced children in the region, provided water, sanitation and hygiene Kits to close to 30500 people in about 20 WASH clusters in the North West and South West where close to 80% of persons are in need.
In addition, the World Food Programme WFP also raised concerns on the lack of storage facilities for food which is getting bad as a result of untimely distribution due to transportation difficulties.
Celebrated every year on August 19, though celebrated on August 17 in the NW due to the uncertainty that characterize Mondays in the NW, World Humanitarian Day honours effects worldwide aimed at supporting people in crisis with OCHA speaking for the entire humanitarian community worldwide. This year’s edition celebrates women humanitarians and their contributions to making the world a better place.
“Women Humanitarians hold a sense of unparalleled uniqueness, one that adds to the global momentum of female strength, power and perseverance. It is time to honor the women who have acted as first responders to the darkest hours of crisis. This year’s campaign on Women Humanitarians supports the recognition that women deserve in the strengthening of global humanitarian response as well as in protection efforts under the international law. This August 19, rituals of everyday life will be used to showcase the contrast of what our humanitarians encounter on a daily basis. As we would map moments of everyday life against women humanitarians all across the world, these special women’s experiences would seem all the more relatable and real.” OCHA explained on their website.