This partnership was with the context of the implementation of the project ‘Improving the Protection of Women and Girls Affected by the Conflict in the North-West Regions of Cameroon’ is funded by the Italian Government (Italian Agency for Development Cooperation) through the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Women Empowerment (UN Women), implemented by the Centre for Human Rights and Peace Advocacy (CHRAPA) in 04 Divisions of the North West Region.
Pic.01 CHRAPA Staff and UN Women Representative on a Radio Talk to Combat Gender Based Violence in Bamenda, Friday 06th December 2019
The project was aimed at Combatting Gender Based Violence, Supporting IDPs, IDP Host Communities and Gender Based Violence Survivors.
The implementation time frame of this project started from September 2019 to 13 December 2019. It commenced with a planning meeting to assess the training needs of CHRAPA by UN Women National Expert for Livelihood Mr Fuh George Cheo and the GBV National Expert Mrs Mary Nyuyinui on the 24th of September 2019 and later on with a training of CHRAPA’s staff on the exact project expectations and needs on 27th September 2019 where CHRAPA Staff /Project team were orientated on the project expectations and strategies to be employed in the implementation of the project due to the accelerated nature of the implementation of the project.
This training and planning meetings, then gave CHRAPA the leeway as the grassroots implementing partner for this project to embark on the implementation of the project in 04 Division of the North West Region, that is in Mezam Division: Bafut, Bamenda I, II and III, Tubah Sub Divisions, Ngokentunjia Division : Babungo/Environs only, in Boyo Division: Fundong and Belo Sub Divisions and in Momo Division: Mbengwi Central Sub Division.
The implementation involved both GBV and Livelihoods components as detailed below:
Conducting Public Sensitization, Education, Community Mobilization, Combatting GBV, and Identification of GBV Victims/Survivors, IDP and IDP HOST Community Component of the Project:
The project started with this component and achieved the following results. A total of about 16,835 were directly sensitized or educated by CHRAPA through its community mobilization, education and sensitization programs. This comprised a total of 4,708 Youths, 5207 Women, 6,044 Men, 547 Mbororos and 349 People Living With Disabilities (PLWD). On the overall, CHRAPA and its media partners estimates that at least 76,500 persons were sensitized or exposed to messages containing GBV/Women Empowerment messages in the course of the implementation of this project, that is through mass media campaigns (radio, newspaper publications, online news articles), social media campaigns etc.
Pic 02: Paralegal for Mbengwi carries out community mobilization, education and sensitization with youths in Mbengwi, Momo Division, NW Region, Cameroon.
This estimate was arrived at on the Saturday 07 December, 2019 where CHRAPA invited all its media partners and bloggers for an end of project evaluation meeting based on the various media house outreach scope/regular consumers. This meeting was also to enable CHRAPA to collect all publications that have been published by its media partners during the implementation of the project period that will eventually be handed over the project funders that is UN Women and the Italian government. In attendance, we had 13 Media organs, CRTV, CBS Radio, Abakwa Radio, Afrique Nouvelle Radio, the Mbengwi Community Radio Station, The Guardian Post News Paper, Le Messager, Equinox TV, The Horizon Newspaper, The Eden Newspaper, The Watchdog Newspaper, the Voice Newspaper, and the Sun Newspaper.
In relation to the identification of GBV cases the following cases were identified:
- 16 SGBV ( 01 pregnancy as a result of rape, 1 teen who was pregnant as a result of SGBV had miscarriage at 06 months but 03 had infants as a result of rape),
- 831 women/ children who suffered other forms of GBV abuses were also identified,
- 163 very desperate cases from host communities that is members/households hosting more than 10 to 18 IDP in their houses with very meagre resources to afford for them and
- 149 Persons Living with Disabilities and
- 1,505 IDPs were identified all together.
- 441 Mbororos identified
Giving a total of 3014 persons identified during this period.
During the identification process, 500 dignity kits were distributed to various GBV cases(very desperate cases), the physically challenged women and those women traumatized by the crisis that needed counselling to raise their hope/give dignity (as we identified cases of many women with kids whose husbands were murdered in front of them and have undergone lots of torture leading to trauma) and above distributed to abandoned old persons especially women, whose families have completely abandoned them, some with complicated health challenges.
CHRAPA employed the strategy of remote programming method, where they recruited and trained 14 community paralegal officers, who are members of the project communities listed above, to reach out to the various communities. They conducted community outreach activities including door-to-door, educational talks, group /church trainings and identified the most desperate /vulnerable cases and recommended them for the livelihood support package.
And lastly, CHRAPA then proceeded to support identified beneficiaries economically using RIGA as detailed below.
The Livelihood/RIGA Component Implementation of the Project:
In relation to the implementation of the Livelihood component, CHRAPA successfully implemented the following activities:
- BENEFICIARY SKILL ASSESSMENT: CHRAPA organized a needs and skill assessment in partnership with the Women Empowerment Centre with the beneficiaries expressing their particular skills and business needs so that beneficiaries who needed skills could be placed at the Women Empowerment Centre and those who did not skills could start receiving their support almost immediately, but after as we started supporting beneficiaries who needed no skills to start up, the other beneficiaries changed and chose trades that they did not need skills for fear they might not be supported at the end of their course, thus they preferred immediate support for areas they had developed skills in that waiting, despite our consistent assurances they will be supported at the end of their course with the Women Empowerment Centre.
- ORGANIZATION OF TRAINING ON RIGA/BOOKKEEPING: Then after that CHRAPA alongside UN WOMEN organised training on setting up RIGA ventures, basic bookkeeping, and the management of RIGA ventures was organized in Bamenda, grouping beneficiaries from 03 Sub Divisions that is Bamenda I, II and III all from Mezam Division of the North West Region. This training took place on Thursday 31/10/2019 and Friday 01/11/2019 at the Mondial Hotel Complex in Bamenda. 119 persons that is 02 Mbororrors (an indigenous group), 18 Hausas, and the others were destitute persons from the mainstream society. All together 04 men and 115 women benefitted from this training, with 59 on the first day and 60 benefitted from the second day of training.
Similar trainings were later organized at community levels as follows in Belo on the 12/11/2019, Fundong on the 09/11/2019 all in Boyo Division, Mbengwi on the 07/11/2019 in Momo Division, Babungo on the 09/11/2019 and 12/11/2019in Ngo-ketunjia Division and Bafut on the 09/11/2019 in Mezam Division.
- DIRECT SUPPORT OF BENEFICIARIES ON RIGA: CHRAPA supported a total of 168 RIGA businesses for both groups and individuals. That is a total of 163 individual businesses and 05 groups of women in Belo, Fundong, Babungo, Mbengwi, and Bafut making a total of 304 direct beneficiaries. That is supported 141 members through women group/cooperative RIGA businesses and 163 individual businesses (see details in point 2.2 below).
- ORGANISED A GRAND PROJECT SYMBOLIC HAND OVER OF THE RIGA ACTIVITIES TO BENEFICIARIES:
On the 02 of November 2019, the beneficiaries, the Press and Project stakeholders were actively mobilized for the symbolic handing over of the micro project items at the Mondial Hotel Complex (see details in point 2.2 below).
The above constitute the summary of activities carried out within the framework of the implementation of the project “Improving the Protection of Women and Girls Affected by the Conflict in the North-West Regions of Cameroon’ funded by the Italian Government via UN Women, implemented by CHRAPA. The challenges, solutions and results obtained so far can be seen in Chapter 03 below.
- CONTEXT OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PROJECT
Early 2018, UN agencies (UNFPA, UN Women), local government institutions (MINPROFF, MINSANTE), and NGOs conducted a rapid GBV (Gender Based Violence) needs assessment in both the northwest and southwest regions of Cameroon. In November 2018, a cover survey was conducted in Bamenda I and II on GBV by Medicin du Monde Sussie in Collaboration with CHRAPA. The results of these assessments indicate that the incidences of GBV have increased and the most prevalent form was sexual assault and exploitation, rape, trafficking for economic and sexual exploitation. The effects of these have been untimed pregnancies, teenage pregnancies to trauma. Many IDPs, who have come into Bamenda, have lost their means of livelihood and it is difficult to come by jobs. The crisis has affected the economy and the economic susceptibility of women and girls has increased given that they are often the first to be retrenched from jobs even in normal peace times. This has forced some girls and women to resort to prostitution to meet basic survival needs, thus exposing themselves to STI/HIV/AIDS, and GBV. Some girls who have come to the urban centres to live with relatives are also being sexually trafficked. The situation has also increased the incidences of Child Sex Trafficking (CST) in the community. Findings from the survey equally indicated that, very few cases of GBV were being reported.
The necessity of this project was very imperative to mitigate the calamitous situation and bring about solutions the problems outlined above, thus this project was implemented with 02 principal components as outlined below.
- COMPONENTS OF THE PROJECT:
The project was divided into 02 principal components that is the RIGA component(Livelihoods) and the GBV components all supervised by the UN Women National Expert for Livelihood Mr. Fuh George Cheo and UN Women GBV National Expert Mrs. Mary Nyuyinui respectively.
First and foremost, the first aspect of the project was the GBV component, which mandated CHRAPA to focus on the following areas:
- Conducting massive sensitization, creation of public awareness and social mobilization against gender based violence, targeting GBV Violence Victims and Survivors, IDPs and IDPs Host communities to adequately expose to them GBV prevention activities and methods.
- Planning and conducting of several sensitization and awareness meetings with community members, supported educational outreach and communication activities through local media, organized community outreach sensitization /education programmes in various communities in Bamenda I, II and III, Bafut, Babungo, Fundong, Belo and Mbengwi
- Developing educational material that included but not limited to leaflets, posters etc
- And above all identifying, documenting cases of GBV, creating a database for identified cases and providing necessary support to victims/survivors
And secondly, after the massive public sensitization, creation of public awareness, community mobilization and social mobilization against gender based violence many very desperate cases for GBV were identified, trained and supported with the economic support kits.
The livelihoods aspect of the project was implemented with focus on the following areas as per the project document expectations that were as follows:
- Identify 5 super-fast income generating activities
- Setup Quick impact projects to economically support GBV survivors and women groups
- Organize multiple hands on trainings with beneficiaries to provide required skills.
- Identify and select cooperatives through precise selection criteria and support them