Reach Out Cameroon
“The massive involvement of the grassroots women in this activity revealed how devastated they are with the ongoing crisis.”
– Reach Out Campaign Report
Reach Out launched the She Builds Peace campaign with a peace walk in Kumba in response to the October 24, 2020 shooting at a local school. The goal was to denounce the killing of children, unite women’s voices against the ongoing crisis within the country, and seek actions that would amplify the voices of rural women to bring an end to the ongoing crisis. The program started with a church service in memory of those who died. In addition, select participants visited some of the to help provide psychological support. Reusable masks were distributed to participants to mitigate the threat of COVID-19.
Reach Out originally planned for 300 participants, but 3,000 women across Kumba, Buea, and Bamenda joined the walk to show their support and condemn the attack, showing the strength and solidarity of women’s groups and networks. The peace walk led to the creation of the Voices of Community Women Network and encouraged the Kumba Divisional Officer to address the public on the shooting for the first time. Many activists made strong statements denouncing the targeting of women and schools, and the event was covered extensively by the media.
Reach Out held a campaign event in Buea on February 9, 2022, at the conference hall of the Pan-African Institute for Development West Africa (PAID-WA). The event brought together 67 state authorities and other stakeholders including traditional rulers, state security forces, faith-based leaders, UN systems, artists, academicians, the Regional Council, and media personalities, to learn about the role of women in peacebuilding. Women peacebuilders explained the challenges they face in the peacebuilding with respect to their recognition and protection.
The stakeholders signed a pledge of commitment centered around three frameworks of the campaign: 1) promoting women’s participation in peacebuilding processes 2) guaranteeing their protection and safety and 3) mobilizing funds for women peacebuilding activities.
Outcomes and Impacts:
- The regional delegate of the Ministry of Women Empowerment and the Family (MINPROFF) promised her continuous support towards the recognition of women peacebuilders.
- The director of PAID-WA pledged to support women peacebuilders by providing a discount on rental on their conference hall spaces for the organization of meetings and other peacebuilding activities.
- Authorities from the state security forces pledged to protect women peacebuilders during the implementation of their field activities.
- Local government actors, including the municipal council authorities, committed to mainstream peace and mediation activities into their annual operational and institutional plans.
- The various women peacebuilding networks felt reinvigorated and committed to expand their activities within their communities.