Why Cameroonians need to be empowered?

Anne Pelagie Yotchou 
is showing us Cameroon, its inhabitants and their issues in other light. Anyone interested in 
attending the WIN conference can change the idea about NGO´s in our countries and share clear vision of modern world with happy children and many micro business driven by women.Anne ;)

Anne, can you introduce your work for women in Cameroon?

My name is Anne Pelagie Yotchou Tzudjom and I am Coordinator of LADIES CIRCLE, a national network of women and young girls leading social and economic change. I am committed to women’s economic and political empowerment. I have managed to bring back to Cameroon what I learnt from International Conference, training programs, forums and congress on women issues and share it with women in Cameroon in order to build stronger partnership with feminine organization committed to meaningful advancement of the economic, social and cultural rights of women. I’m involved in several activities at national, regional and international levels that aim to Support more women participation in politics beyond voting to candidacies.

I have the dream for a positive and authentic feminine leadership in my country. I contribute in my daily life with LADIES CIRCLE, to the socio-economic empowerment of women and girls in Cameroon. I want to see women in the lead, as the main actresses of the social and economic development in their communities. I am also an expert on transitional justice and gender issues, human rights educator. I do also lead several charitable activities for vulnerable women and girls.

My dream is the construction of a just, equal and inclusive Cameroon. Since 2005, we have been implementing some projects such as “Preventing gender based violence in schools”, “Capacity building for rural women”, “The reintegration of prisoners after prison” or Caucus “Generations de femmes”, a multigenerational meeting that gather monthly women and young women for three hours of debate, discussion and strategies to empower young women and let them benefit from experienced women’s success stories (and many other projects).

We have been organizing since 2008, an annual women leadership and entrepreneurship conference . The next conference is from 20-23 November 2013 and we are looking for speakers (experienced leaders, managers and entrepreneurs) to come and share their success stories and best practices with Cameroonian women.

Who are your partners, colleagues, supporters, volunteers?

In this journey, we have about 150 volunteers around the 10 regions of Cameroon that are giving  us with technical support for the implementation of our projects. Our organization has an executive bureau with 18 members and an Advisory Board with 47 members. I can say without any doubt that I’m leading a motivated team that gives me energy and courage to move forward despite of difficulties we are facing in our daily work; I am really proud of that.  I do have also a strong partnership with colleagues from other women networks and groups at local, national, regional and international levels; we are often working in collaboration because we know that „ together, we are strong and we can achieve great things“  and

„ when people struggle together, they can change the UNIMAGINABLE into POSSIBLE“.

We do have a little financial support from some partners like : the Embassy of Swiss in Cameroon that have been supporting us since 2010 for  the implementation of two projects for the economic empowerment of women in prison and rural women. We have also a strong partnership with the Ministry of Women Empowerment and the Family that gives us technical support in our programs for the social and economic empowerment of women and girls.

Why Cameroonian woman need help? In which meaning?

Please, allow me to redefine your question, I would to say „Why Cameroonian need to be empowered?“  I don’t like the word „help“ when it comes to address women issues because it maintains women at a vulnerable position. Now, I can answer the right question (laughs); As same as other women in Africa, Europe, USA, Asia,… Cameroonian women are about  52% of the Cameroon population and they occupy less than 8% of the political and decision-making system of the country. Women and girls remain the most affected by poverty and other societal ills. The fight for the empowerment of women is still at the heart of the international process because we all know today just how important that empowerment is for women, for the well-being of their families and the future growth and prosperity of the whole world. Rural women in Cameroon play a great role for the eradication of poverty and food safety, but there are still challenging gender inequality in access to resources in rural areas. Now you can understand easily why Cameroonian women need to be empowered.

You told me you gonna try building the educational centre, anything new regarding this project?

 We are still looking for financial support to make this project comes true for the advancement of women and girls in Cameroon. I will use this opportunity to call on all grantmakers to support this project and help us to touching lives, empowering  vulnerable women and girls in Cameroon. The estimated budget for this project is 15 000 US Dollars.

How difficult is the fundraising part of this creative entrepreneurship?

The fundraising is not easy in our context here in Cameroon.

I have seen leather bag (which I have passed for trade fair shop in my town as a gift), what is the complete production like?

Thank for asking me about our bag project that help us to raise fund for our projects. In fact these bags are made in traditional way with local material. We would like through these bags not only to raise money, but to promote also Cameroonian culture. It is true that to market them at international level, we need to add some modern design in order to catch the attention of European women for instance; for that, we are open and need the support of anyone that can help us to ameliorate the design of our bags.

What is the best satisfaction to you which you are gaining from such work?

I feel more powered when I empower other women. That’s the best satisfaction.

Thank you Anne for sharing your amazing story.

Do you want to contact Anne?

PO BOX 35303

Yaounde- Cameroon

Office : +237 22 04 81 83

Mobile : +237 75 48 42 25 / +237 97 06 98 72

Emails : pelagie_y@yahoo.fr / cefap97@yahoo.fr / womenforumcameroon@yahoo.com

Photos: Anne Pelagie Yotchou


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