Economic Empowerment of Women
In Cameroon a majority of women are unemployed and thus living below the poverty line. The economic challenges faced by women are disproportionate to those faced by men owing to the privileged access to education and vocational training given to the boy child. The alarming unemployment situation of women affect their offspring negatively in what could be described as a generational vicious circle of poverty. This scenario can be clearly illustrated in the life of an unemployed single mother/widow whom due to financial hardship is not able to educate her children or see them through any form of vocational training/business orientation. The tendency is that such children grow up as school dropouts being unemployed like their mothers and having very slender means as such being unable to properly support their own children; thus, the vicious circle of poverty continues in several generations. According to a 2019 Report on Cameroon by The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs: While 39% of the national population lives below the poverty line, this rate rises to 51.5% for women. 79.2% of them are underemployed. Only 3% of women own a house without a property title and 1.6% own a property title in their name. Women make up 71.6% of workers in the informal agricultural sector. 32.5% of women over 25 have some level of secondary education (39.2% for men) Boys have a privileged access to education: Their gross enrollment rate is 125% in primary school (110% for girls). 65% are enrolled in secondary school (53% for girls). The worsening poverty situation of women has been further compounded by the ongoing socio-political Anglophone crisis in Cameroon in the North and South West Regions; Boko Haram Insurgency in the North and attacks in the East by arm rebels from the Central Africa Republic which causes women to flee their comfort zones to take up stay in unusual destinations with their dependent children.
To build resilient communities by ensuring both urban and rural economic empowerment in the lives of the most vulnerable women by engaging women in to large scale commercial agriculture; cash transfers to assist small business startups and vocational training. The end result will be women becoming financially autonomous and less independent; reducing the risk of gender-based violence that they face due to their vulnerability caused by poverty.
Our ongoing efforts
- Assist women in rural communities with the tools; knowledge and resources to engage in large scale commercial agriculture.
- Set up a resource farm dobbed the Bridgers Farm to serve as a training ground for women to be schooled on appropriate farming techniques in both food and cash crop sectors.
- Provide start up capital; capital material donations and capacity building on business management to vulnerable women within the urban setting especially Internally Displaced Women to assist them start up small businesses that will improve on their livelihoods.
- Put a Rotation Fund Scheme to enable women to save money and thus have access to borrow money from the Fund to increase their businesses or start up new businesses.
- Enroll women to undergo vocational training programs and set up workshops after the completion of their training.
We have the plan to construct an ultra-multidimensional vocational training center that will not only train vulnerable women in different trades but will equally offer an opportunity for some who are completely illiterate to take adult literacy lessons to help our beneficiaries to be more apt as they move on to start up their small enterprises upon graduation, however, we lack adequate financial resources to realize this goal that will help touch many lives in a more holistic manner.
We equally need more experts to come in with innovative knowledge and ideas to help scale the impact of our work.