World Environment Day 2022: Women's rights examined, eco-businesses showcased

By Bakah Derick 

Women's Environment rights were at the center of a round table discussion organised in Bamenda on Wednesday 8 June 2022 by the not-for-profit non-governmental Cameroon Gender and Environment Watch (CAMGEW) as part of activities to mark World Environment Day 2022. 
World Environment Day 2022 eco-business fair in Bamenda 

According to the Gender and Women Empowerment officer for CAMGEW, it was important to give a gender approach to the observance going by the much work women do and can do to protect the environment. 

"CAMGEW has been working since creation conserving the environment and promoting gender; mainstreaming everything thing gender in all their activities. Today, we saw that it was very important to bring together those women who are acting on the ground, those community organisations that are working towards the environment and that are promoting Women's actions." Ernestine Sevidzem said 
CAMGEW Gender and Women Empowerment officer Ernestine Sevidzem talking to 

The round table gave room for reflections and experience sharing on best practices through which women have been working on conserving the environment and how this can be replicated by others. Women's environment rights featured prominently with the hope of making room for more women into environment work. 

"Women have their rights and when we talk about environmental rights, it shouldn't just be thinking about what a man can do that becomes a right for everybody. What is it that a woman can also do? This workshop was important so we get the rights from the women alongside proposals on ways through which they can promote these rights through their various actions like recycling, getting involved in eco-businesses, networking, attending events, sharing knowledge amongst others" Sevidzem added 
Ernestine Sevidzem presenting the sample of a recycled plastic bottle

Considered very practical, the recycling of plastic bottles to create home gardens was largely recommended for women. Those who made the recommendation explained that by using plastic bottles, waste is reduced from the environment due to the possibility to reuse the bottles. According to the actors, this can be easily done by the women who are running of homes and frequently come in contact with these plastic bottles and should they not use them properly, it becomes a problem to the environment. 
Participants of the round table discussion 

"This planting season, we are working on a project recycling plastic bottles for tree nursery. For the past years we have been using polythene bags and it is a little expensive, so we decided to go deep into the environment to see how we can save the environment. We are working on collecting the bottles, from and around the market, We buy the bottles from hawkers and then the women work on it by cutting, perforating and filling the ground. This is working well for us and I think it is a good project because we are reducing waist from the environment and it is very much sustainable than the polythene bags we have been using over the years." Tata Charity of the Society for the Promotion of Initiatives in Sustainable Development and Welfare (SOPISDEW) explained. 
Tata Charity of SOPISDEW talking to at the one of the round table discussion 

"Plastic is not just waste; it is a resource. We need to recognise and work with this resource to improve on our livelihoods, create jobs and promote organic farming around us in little spaces in the community. At CAMGEW, we use these plastics to grow various vegetables, food spices, medicinal plants organically. This has attracted so many people. We have people who come here just to watch the plastics to go and emulate in their own little spaces. This is something that rather than having these plastics liter around, block our water ways, pollute are beautiful rivers and environment, we should put it into use by developing urban gardens in little spaces and enjoy the goodness of nature right in the urban center." Ernestine Sevidzem corroborated

Joining CAMGEW and partners was the representative of the Ministry of environment and nature protection who appreciated all conservation efforts being engaged by the organisations. 
On the sidelines of the round table was an eco-business fair that permitted participants to present various environmentally friendly businesses amongst them productions of jewelry from plastics, packaging of food in leaves and different products on the honey value chain.  According to CAMGEW sources, over 200 persons visited the fair and exchanged with exhibitors. 
Exhibitor at the Eco-business fair 
Exhibitor at the Eco-business fair with environmentally friendly beads 
NWCA Kola coffee represented