The Official Programs Assessment Event of the Western Chiefs Sexual Violence Initiative
On the 11th of March 2016 at the royal palace of Batoufam in the western region of Cameroon, under the patronage of the governor of the west region and in the presence of the British High Commissioner in Cameroon and the Attorney General of the appeal court in the West Region, a series of administrative authorities, paramount chiefs, queen mothers, traditional council notables and several other dance groups witnessed the western chiefs sexual violence initiative field assessment ceremony. The arrival of authorities was welcomed with a touristic tour in the Batoufam palace.
The occasion was realized as a crowing event that follows a number of other national and local level field training opportunities for the paramount chiefs, their sub-chiefs and other community women leaders. The training opportunities were meant to furnish these local leaders with adequate knowledge tools to combat and mitigate sexual violence against community women and girls.
Summarily, the major events that institutionalized and materialized to the official programs assessment event of the 11 of March 2016 on western chiefs sexual violence initiative include:
- 1)The official advocacy accord signing ceremony of the 27th of March 2015 during which 14 paramount chiefs undertook to make their community norms more reflective within the universal human rights and as well to ascertain that community women and girls are treated better in respect to their sexual and reproductive health rights;
- 2) The national level 2days training session in Yaoundé during which 10 paramount chiefs and their notables received knowledge on the socio-anthropological causes and consequences of sexual violence against women, the judicial implications on the perpetrators of sexual violence acts and the necessary strategies for field intervention in generating community awareness, follow-up and penalization on sexual violence acts within the community. During the occasion, the trained paramount chiefs were received in the British High Commission residence in Yaoundé and were later offered participation certificates of the event; and
- 3) The local level training events of the sub-chiefs by their trained notables and their paramount chiefs under the supervision of MAHSRA and other local government authorities.
At the heart of the March 11 2016 event, the CEO of MAHSRA, Dr. Kelly NGYAH highlighted some major worries that still trouble the chiefs. This included among others, their collaboration with the local government authorities. For example, he expressed that some chiefs still complain of not having copies of their signed agreements because their Senior Divisional Officers had not yet signed them. He went on and reminded the said officers to quicken their procedural options in order to properly assist the committed chiefs in the global fight to end sexual violence against community women.
The British High Commissioner in Cameroon H.E Brian Olley as well praised the good works of the chiefs and promised them that the British government will not relent its generous efforts in supporting girls and women education and well as other further field initiatives to combat sexual violence against women.
The Secretary General at the Governor’s Office representing in full capacity H.E. Awah Fonka Governor of the west region expressed the profound support of the government in respect to MAHSRA’s project on sexual violence against women in the west region. He thanked the British government’s support to the initiative and encouraged MAHSRA to continue to provide moral and technical support to the chiefs who have already taken the relay in building the field interventionist capacities of their local leaders or sub-chiefs and other community women group leaders.
The queen mothers also took turns with the chiefs to express the impact of the project upon their daily lives and how much they had learned and were ready to support other vulnerable community women and girls such that their sexual and reproductive health rights will no longer be abused. Later gifts of peace symbolic leaves were offered to all authorities present.
The ceremony tailed with a taste of some of the traditional dishes in the western region.
End of Ceremony