Santa-Cameroon: CAWOPEM engages local administrative, traditional, Religious authorities into Youth, Women inclusion peacebuilding project

By Bakah Derick 

Cameroon Women's Peace Movement (CAWOPEM) has successfully engaged local administrative, religious and traditional authorities in her women and youth inclusion project. CAWOPEM recorded the resounding success during the launch of the localization of the women and youth Peace and security agendas to sustain Peace and Empower Women and youth in Cameroon project on Thursday 27 April 2023 in Santa Subdivision, Mezam Division, North West Region..
Group picture at the end of the project launch 

"Together with these key stakeholders that today have taken the commitment to partner with the project, we will determine the upcoming phases and activities of the project. We believe in participatory community egagement and development. We don't believe in designing projects to come and impose on the community. We are still in the launch phase and that is why in the coming days we will be having meetings with women and young people, we will be conducting interviews with key informants, more and more focus group discussions and these will determine the next steps will look like." Wazeh Nicoline Tumasang the project coordinator said. 
The coordinator expressed gratitude to the local and traditional authorities in Santa for the warm reception and acceptance of the project. While acknowledging their readiness and hunger for peace, inclusion and Empowerment, Wazeh Nicoline has appealed to the authorities to go back home and engage their respective communities so as to fully localized the the WPS/YPS agendas to sustain Peace and Empower Women and youth in Cameroon. 
Fon of Akum HRH George Ngwashi Ndikum receiving his engagement signage

Taking the commitment on behalf of his fellow traditional authorities, the Fon of Akum, noted that the CAWOPEM project was not only unique but relevant at this point in time. HRH Fon George Ngwashi Ndikum who is the dean of Fons in Santa Subdivision stated his readiness to take the message from the meeting back to his community for examination and eventual implementation. Corroborating, the DO and the Mayor of Santa underscored the important role women have been playing in the lives of all and admitted that it was time they be given a significant placement in public life. 
Wazeh Nicoline Tumasang Project Coordinator 

According to the General Coordinator of CAWOPEM, women and youth represent a good size of the population and should therefore be part of major conversations.

Speaking during the Santa event, Caryn Dasah indicated that in as much as young people constitute a good number of those who fan flames of discord and insecurity in the country, majority are those who are ready to work for peace if given a chance. 

A panel discussion on Women Peace Security agenda as handled in the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 and Youth Peace Security Agenda (UNSCR) 2250 and overview of the implementation of the WPS/YPS agendas in Cameroon was key during the event. Wazeh Nicoline Tumasang, Caryn Dasah, Florence Munteh, Ramatou Abdu and Bechem Bechem Margrette as panelists with Maforni Gladys Mbuya as moderator expressed the need for a bypass of traditional and social misconceptions  about women and give them a deserved place on the peace building table. 
Panel Discussions

Sharing her experiences from Wum in Menchum division, Elizabeth Kang Nsih, leader of a community based organization illustrated with practical examples her belief that women can play an important role in peacebuilding. 

"By nature, women are very peaceful. Women are the first teachers of every human being. God did not make a mistake to give them that role. It is pur local tradition that has decided to set the woman aside but I tell you if we follow the women and bring them to the lamplight, they will do a lot of things. In their homes and communities, women are peacebuilders. They own big associations and they lead peacefully." Elizabeth Kang Nsih noted. 
Elizabeth Kang Nsih from Wum, Menchum division 

Localizing the WPS Agenda to Sustain Peace and Empower Women in Cameroon project is a partnership of CAWOPEM and Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP) supported by the U.S. State Department Secretary’s Office on Global Women’s Issues (S/GWI) to be implemented in two pioneer localities, Santa Subdivision and Maroua.

With support from the Global Women Peace Network and the US State Department for women issues, CAWOPEM hopes to convince local government and traditional authorities  to believe in the competences of women and youth as a formidable force in development and peacebuilding considering that Cameroon is facing multiple security challenges including the Boko Haram insurgency in the Far North of the country since 2014 and the over six years old armed conflict in the North West and South West regions. 

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