22 February 2012

Cameroon: International Women's Day 2012 - Rural Women Mobilised against Poverty

The Minister of Women's Empowerment and the Family launched activities in Fundong on Tuesday.

Improving the status of women in all spheres and eliminating discrimination against them are in focus as the nation's women mobilise to celebrate the 27th International Women's Day on March 8.

Launching activities ahead of the day in Fundong, Boyo Division in the North West Region on February 21, 2012, the Minister of Women's Empowerment and the Family, Mrs. Abena Ondoa nee Obama Marie Therese, appealed for collective efforts to end hunger and poverty which are not helping matters for women who already suffer illiteracy, childbearing and heavy workload.

Referring to this year's theme, "Empower Rural Women: End Hunger and Poverty", the Minister appealed to Cameroonians for concerted action to assist rural women as development agents and strategic players in efforts to alleviate poverty. According to Minister Ondoa, government has taken the lead with measures that provide women with the means for effective and efficient participation in nation-building. It is against this backdrop that the government in the last two years trained some 16,968 women in project planning, preservation of agricultural products, dress-making and Information and Communication Technologies, ICTs.

She also revealed that grants of about FCFA 75 million were allocated to women's associations nationwide and agro-pastoral material and other equipment worth about FCFA 43.7 million were offered. New women's empowerment centres were created, taking the number to 89; with the inauguration of the Fundong Women's Empowerment Centre during the Minister's trip to Fundong.

Accompanied by the Coordinator General of Circle of Friends of Cameroon, CERAC, and wife of the Prime Minister, Mrs Linda Yang, the visiting Minister of Women's Empowerment and the Family went encouraging some of Boyo's 687 widows in neighbouring Atoini village. The team also visited and encouraged the BERUDA Bee Farming and Honey Production Group and later took time off to commission the Fundong Women's Empowerment Centre. The awe-inspiring crowd of women groups that filed out to cheer the event later retired with farm tools as gifts to improve production.

Activities ahead of the International Women's Day on March 8, 2012 include public discussions on the theme and sub-themes, training for rural women in various areas of development, holding of specialised clinics, open-door days, experience-sharing encounters and panel discussions. North West Governor, Abakar Ahamat was also around for the national launching event in Fundong.

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