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Northwest Gender Equality Project Launched 

By Chris Mbunwe

A gender equality project, sponsored by UNESCO SONY ERICSON WTA TOUR, was launched in Bamenda at the Baptist Church Centre Nkwen recently.The project is aimed at enhancing gender equality and promoting women’s leadership in Cameroon, beginning with the Northwest Region.

Caroline Bongwa: Regional Chief of Service

While presenting the project to the Northwest administration, traditional authorities and other NGOs, the President of a Bamenda based NGO, Light Africa’s representative, Prudencia Sallah Nakeh, said Light Africa’s vision is to facilitate Cameroonian women’s participation in project planning and management.

The project, she said, will support and promote local women’s leadership and gender equality in business, local governance and sports. Nakeh said Light Africa is joining Cameroon’s First Lady Chantal Biya, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Education and Social inclusion, to champion the course of gender equality in Cameroon. For her part, the Regional Chief of Service for Women Empowerment and the Family, Caroline Bongwa, lauded the initiative of Light Africa Organisation in presenting the project on gender equality.

She identified certain privileges such as inheritance right which remain a preserve for men.
She, however, expressed happiness that female children have proven their worth. "Accolades in fondoms, which were mostly for men have been extended to women because of their meritorious services to their communities," she stated. Bongwa prescribed continuous sensitisation and education on gender equality. She was confident that the gender equality project by Light Africa will broaden the knowledge and build capacities on gender equality.

In an earlier welcome note, the Mayor of Bamenda III council, Prince Pius Ngwa Amandou, advised local NGOs against being self-centred. He urged them to work for the good of the population. He regretted that the organisers of the launch sidelined Nkwen women.
The Second Assistant Senior Divisional Officer, for Mezam, Charles Muma, on behalf of Northwest Governor, called on men and women to jointly set up projects for meaningful development, and promised total support from the administration.

Fon S.A.N Angwafor III of Mankon, on his part, challenged women to work harder to catch up with the men, rather than complaining. To the Fon, men will not wait for women if women think they can only sit during seminars and complain of gender bias."The answer to gender equality is with you the women. Educate yourself and the girl child," said the Fon.

He stated that he instituted a reform as far back as 1960, that both boys and girls should enjoy equal education throughout his Fondom. However, Fon Angwafor blamed the women for sending their daughters to baby seat or work for long hours in the farm, instead of sending them to school.

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