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MAHSRA Engages Local Leaders in Ending Sexual Violence within Vulnerable Localities
Under the initiative titled: Enhancing Local Leaders’ Capacities in Preventing Sexual Violence Against Women, the official public presentation ceremony that held on Friday the 27th of March 2015 at the city council hall in Bafoussam, once more proved the organization’s commitment in transforming high level policy prerequisites into locally understood contexts and easily enforced measures.
Under the distinguished patronage of the governor of the West Region, the occasion was graced by the presence of the deputy British High Commissioner to Cameroon Mme HALIMEH Allison Marriott, the senior divisional officers of Mifi, Bamboutos, Koung-Khi and Hauts Plateaux divisions, and over 14 paramount chiefs from the localities of Bafoussam, Bamougoum, Baleng, Balacthi, Bamessingue, Babadjou, Bagang, Baham, Bamendjou, Bameka, Bahouan; Bayangam, Bandjoun and Batoufam.
After the welcome come speech done by the representative of the delegate of the city council, the CEO of MAHSRA, Dr Kelly NGYAH extensively elaborated on the interwoven nature of current gender violence priorities that affect vulnerable women populations and the scope of their contributions towards poverty eradication and rural development as a whole. Citing the Cameroon government’s will as duly transcribed through its ratification of several international conventions such as: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR); the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW); the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women and the Declaration on the Right to Development, the CEO reminded the audiences and authorities present that as a legally registered entity both nationally and internationally and with a consultative status to the United Nations Economic and Social Council, MAHSRA had a duty to ensure that global growth objectives are transpired through experience-based interactive sessions between the targeted beneficiary victims and the responsibilities of their governing authorities.
Following the enumeration of gender violence acts such as rape, child abuse, defilement, incest, sexual abuse and exploitation, forced prostitution, sexual harassment, humiliation and confinement, female genital mutilation, underage and early marriages, the CEO pinpointed to the local leaders that with their leadership influence over their people, they have a duty to enlighten and ensure such people and women do not continue to suffer in ignorance meanwhile retarding the local development expectations of their communities. In so doing, he reminded them that they had a duty to uphold and enforce due legal accountability measures against the perpetrators of sexual violence acts against women and other illegal gender discriminatory practices.
On the part of the deputy British High Commissioner, she congratulated the efforts of MAHSRA and appreciated the local government and traditional authorities to have taken out time and engaged their voluntary consent to come together in unity to combat the sexual violence practices that are faced by the community women in their localities.
The local chiefs on their part, though some were skeptical about the nature and contexture of the advocacy commitment they were going to make with the local government authorities and MAHSRA, the Secretary General to the Governor’s office strenuously explained to them, the necessity of such commitments in line with the constitution of Cameroon through its ratification of international conventions.
At the tail of the long debate which was aroused to foster the understanding and further the implicative will of some of the traditional authorities after the signing process, all paramount chiefs present finally signed the agreement to “End Gender and Sexual Violence Against Women”. The other two overseeing signatory officials were the senior divisional officers of the concerned divisions and the CEO of MAHSRA.
Also, as a ceremony that crowned a series of advocacy campaigns and capacity building activities (inclusively: training sessions, media interviews and football) within the concerned localities, football trophies for the female football competitions against sexual violence women were handed over to the winning team representatives.
As a crowning statement in the CEO’s discuss, he expressed his aspirations that the initiative will duly institutionalise a solid foundational will to eliminate all forms of gender violence and gender discrimination within the West region and beyond, and also evoked that those who participated in one way or the other to the success of activities receive bountiful blessings and become true ambassadors to the course to unite humanity in peace, mutual respect and positive wellbeing for all.
Download the CEO’s Speech HERE