National Women's Convention for Peace in Cameroon
Report on the Three Days Maiden Edition of the National Women's Convention For Peace in Cameroon
Women who care deeply for the peace of the nation, its people and its posterity, it's prospects and its prosperity. Their rich experiences and excellent ideas were discussed in a three day conference. The Center for Advocacy in Gender Equality and Action for development CAGEAD is one of those organizations that take peace processes right to the grassroots. And as such some women form CAGEAD office and its Peace clubs participated in the convention.
CAGEAD Women at Convention
The convention according to its organizers Friedrich Ebert Stiftung is sending a strong signal that Cameroonian women are longing for #peace. More than one thousand women from all corners and groups of society are in yaounde to unite their voices; women peace activists, displaced women and girls, victims of war-related violence, female traditional and religious leaders, female soldiers, women entrepreneurs, domestic workers, women from civil society and political patients and more converged on Palais des congrès. After fulfilling their duty to register themselves as participants, Men from the far north region of Cameroon accompanied this women as they played their drums for them to walk in. This women looked ready to discuss these issues and nothing could silence them or slow them down as they have come along with unwavering commitment to bring peace to Cameroon.
The Convention hall with participants
Thereafter participants were ushered after the sounds of drum dance with a moment of silent reflection calling on peace in Cameroon. These women drawn from diverse ethnic groups, religion during the moment of silence which lasted for five minutes, were urged to pray their God (s) grants them the knowledge and grace towards building sustainable peace in their Communities and Nation as a whole which was followed by the chanting of their anthem with great joy as the conference kicks start.
Day one was characterized with the Singing, Speeches and much more. In her welcome address the resident representative of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation Nina Netzer called on women to be part of history. She said peace is essential for the development of every human society. "Women have to unite for peace, let's work for peace for us and our nation", Nina added
Her speech was then followed by another from the Minister for the Promotion of Women and The Family, Madame Abena Ondoa nee Obama Marie-Therese , who officially opened the first National Women's Convention for Peace in Cameroon. According to Minister Abena nee, Women continue to be the most undermined in peacebuilding processes during crisis situations yet they are the most affected.
While thanking these women peace crusaders from different regions and all those who have worked hard to see that these conference is a success to enable peace to return to the country , the Minister also noted that the government of the Cameroon is available and willing to partake in any work geared towards achieving lasting peace in country.Upon gaining more inspiration from these women, Cameroon Women's Peace Movement (CAWOPEM) President, Madam Yvonne Muma talked about how fear, worry , burdens brought by conflicts in different regions pushed participants to attend the Peace Conference to seek ways and strategies used to consolidate peace. Thanking the 38 Women Led Networks who worked whole heartedly to ensure that the Conference holds successfully, she task the participants to form a coalition because United voices can change the narrative as day one came to a close.
The convention which as expected to run for three days, walk participants through different sets of workshop with presentations on the role of women in Peacebuilding, normative framework for women's participation in Peace processes amongst others on day two. The second day of the first National Women's Convention for Peace in Cameroon started with the Singing and Dancing of the Women's Anthem by the choir and the participants. These session was followed by promotional videos showcasing how 38 women Led Networks in Collaboration Friedrich Ebert Stiftung put in efforts in different aspects for the last six months to ensure the first ever women's National Peace Convention is a reality .
Acknowledging the 38 women led networks
These was followed suit with several workshops on Peace, Sexual Violence, trauma healing and crisis situations. Participants were tasked to bring out solutions to such topics.
Workshop session on peace, sexual violence, CAGEAD youths at workshop
The workshops which had four topics , had different speakers, different locations and groups. The exercise lasted for about 2 hours and at the end participants were promised that their solution or resolutions will be tabled to the Minister.
Given the fact that the crisis has affected a-lot of people, some few women were given the chance to shared their stories to participants and it was subsequently a video was played.In a video message to the women attending the first National Women's Convention for Peace in Cameroon, Ms Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie a deeply committed woman to the plight and place of women encouraged the over 1000 to act fast in their peace crusade to save future generations.
Women have an indispensable role to play in peace building and can make a difference she added. She described the convention as adorable adding that the journey to peace cannot happen overnight. The determination by women in action can change the narratives and peace the end result.
Her speech, marked the end of day two.
On day three, the resolutions to seek solutions to the crisis and other situations which has cost the peace of Cameroon , we're handed to the Minister of Women Empowerment and the Family Madam Abena. While receiving the document which contained solutions to the different problems brought together by the participants, the Minister promised the over one thousand women that it will be looked into and actions taken.
Mr Nina then went on stage to acknowledge each and every participants who contributed to the success of the Conference and hopes that the resolutions are put into action. Her talk led to the official close of the Conference with participants chanting the Women's Anthem.
By Verina Mondua and Laurata