Hello Friends and supporters!
We had a moment of silence due to some internal changes and adjustments at the African Youth Alliance! We are back with updates on our activities and projects with women and girls in North West Cameroon.
February, March and April were proactive months for AYA groups. Two major activities were carried out reaching out to a total of 341 women/girls. The first activity was the training of all 7 groups on production of Medicated Aloe Vera soap.
The training aimed at improving their personal hygiene and the excess from the production was sold to generate income.
AYA 1st women advocate workshop under the theme “Discussing the challenges faced by women in terms of traditional norms and values” was organized with women advocates, quarter-heads and council chairpersons.
69 women from Aboh and Ntum groups were empowered with leadership skills for them to advocate on their rights and tackle gender base violence in the customary courts and community at large.
In May a total of 448 women/girls were reached out in 7 AYA groups. The main activities carried out were trainings on production of body lotion, completing medicated soap production in 2 groups and nestling of cabbage seeds in the group gardens.
The trainings seek to increase income generation and agricultural productivity of the groups and also improve personal hygiene.
As a follow up on the 1st women advocate workshop, restitution discussions sessions were held in all groups on the challenges faced by women/girls groups when it comes to succession.
The women advocates were encouraged to exercise patience as well as be of good conduct as they seek to address these challenges and advocates on their rights.
In June the concept of reusable sanitary pads was introduced to 7 groups as they were taught how to take care of them and by the end a total of 360 cotton pants and 620 reusable sanitary pads were distributed to each member reaching out to 237 women/girls.
The community nurse also rounded up discussions on reproductive health with focus on contraceptive and birth control methods, contraceptive method services available in the community and how to have access to them.
They were very happy and Patience Maih (34 years) a volunteer of Alinekoe group in Tumuku had this to say, in quotes
“I have benefited from the family planning method taught by African Youth Alliance especially the calendar method which goes with safe and unsafe period and I am now able to space my children”
Another major activity carried out were discussion meetings on Marriage rites and its challenges in terms of traditional norms and values. Objective of the activity was to help identify the causes of GBV faced by women/girls in marriage and how it could be addressed through rights awareness by the women advocates. A total of 177 women were reached out and they highly appreciated the knowledge gained.
Activities implementation was challenging in July, due to ongoing crisis in Anglophone regions and poor health of the field coordinator and volunteers. Notwithstanding, discussion meetings were held in 5 groups on Widows rites and its challenges in terms of traditional norms and values reaching out 127 women/girls.
Difficulties faced by widows were raised such as cessation of their husband’s properties by the successor, forcing them to remarry the successor or keep them indoors. The traditional councils and chairpersons were encouraged to brainstorm on this pertinent issue during their council meetings. On to the next activity, the groups training on production of reusable sanitary pads was move forward to August because of road blockage making it impossible to transport the training materials to the communities. With only 123 reached out to, all groups were able to transplant the seedlings in the gardens and also continue to produce and sale powder soap, medicated aloe vera soap, body lotion etc to raise income. Despite the few setbacks the President of Alinekoe group, Wointoh Evelyn (49 years) said, in quotes
“I have benefited from the trainings by African Youth Alliance which have enabled me to able to produce powder soap detergent, medicated soap and body lotion and sell to take care of my family. I am happy because AYA has removed poverty from me and my community”
We express our sincere appreciation to all our donors, volunteers and supporters!
January was amazing!
We continue to monitor our group gardens and farms
We had 2 major activities with our clubs of girls and women.
Education on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights: We reached out to 172 rural women and girls with our project on education on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights. With the support of a community nurse, discussed Common Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) and how to prevent them. She did some demonstrations on how to properly use condoms to prevent those STIs.
The participants shared feedback on being able to understand the consequences of unprotected sex, the symptoms of STIs and the consequences of untreated STIs. They also know where to seek help and treatment.
Advocacy trip to the capital city : With the support of HER VOICE fund, we had a 4 days network/exchange visits with 10 adolescent girls and young women to the capital city of Cameroon, Yaoundé.
Our main objectives were to bridge the gap through Information and experience sharing advocacy meetings between 10 adolescent girls and young women from NW Cameroon and stakeholders at the ministries of social affairs and women empowerment and the family in Cameroon for a better inclusion of youth voices in policy and programming processes. We were very grateful for the opportunity, we say a HUGE THANK YOU to the team at HER VOICE FUND for this life transforming experience.
We reached out to about 230 women and girls during the month of December. Our objectives were to:
- Train a group of girls on the production of body lotion
- Train rural women on proper hygiene and common infections due to poor hygiene during menstruation
- Evaluate some of our project activities with our groups in Bamenda.
- Production of body lotion
About 20 girls from one of our group in Bamenda were trained in the production of body lotion. They were very excited to know that they can now produce body lotion at an affordable cost.
« I am very happy that I was able to benefit from this training because not every girl has this opportunity. And I am very happy because I am going to save my money, instead of buying body lotion, I will make it myself and I am going to put this training into practice by making the lotion for my whole family” Grateful (16 years)
- Train rural women on proper hygiene and common infections due to poor hygiene during menstruation
Over 200 rural women and girls were trained in 5 groups on how to maintain a proper body hygiene during menstruation.
They also learned the common infections that can affect them during menstruation in case of poor hygiene.
- Evaluating the impact of project activities with our groups in Bamenda.
The evaluation was carried out on the two groups that benefited from programs in Bamenda since January 2018. The various projects carried out with them involved:
- Detergent production: it has had a great impact on the beneficiaries and many now produce it for use at home and for income generation. We have had about 150 direct and indirect beneficiaries from this activity.
- Arts/craft: This was the most excited activity and most attended activity by women and girls. This was probably because they knew they were going to generate a good amount of money from the sales of the product as is the case now. Every member has successfully trained at least three family members or friends. The beneficiaries of this activity can be estimated to 80 persons.
- Body lotion: The 2 groups were trained and most interesting the younger girls in group I appreciated the lotion more than the older women. At least we had 60 direct beneficiaries and about 20 indirect beneficiaries.
- Computer training: A total of sixteen (16) women/girls have been trained on computer. Some trainees took more time to complete the training due to the socio political instability in the area, others. We are proud to say that all our girls braved all the odds to complete their training.
- Baking of Cakes/peanuts: This was a complimentary activity to motivate members of the groups. Group (I) received this with so much enthusiasm and their parents have benefited from the services during the festive period. A total of thirty three women/girls were beneficiaries of this activity.
The AYA team has impacted about one hundred thirty (130) lives through this socioeconomic empowerment programme.
Our biggest surprise during the month was a Christmas Party organized by one of our group of girls in Bamenda. 20 girls exchanged gifts. Most gifts, food and drinks were bought with money earned by them. A beautiful testimony of how they now generate some income though all the activities they learned in their group during the year!
To all our Donors, we wish you a happy new year 2019, thanking you for your incredible support in 2018. We have been working in a difficult context due to the sociopolitical crisis we face in our region. With the generous support of people like you, we were able to unceasingly continue to reach out to women and girls by providing safe spaces, resources, training and education that improves their lives.
Thank you again as we look forward to your continued support.
The month of November started up with a lot of enthusiasm from all the members of the African Youth Alliance following a suspension of activities at the end of October due to the uncertain socio political atmosphere around the election period in our region. We have mobilized about 35 girls who will join our group of girls in Bamenda next year. They are anxiously waiting for the highly motivated activities of the African Youth Alliance. A part from their regular meetings which hold twice a month and which are safe discussion spaces where the girls can interact and discuss various subjects, the groups in Bamenda had two practical training sessions.
Our groups of rural women and girls are engaged in a project that will enable them gain basic knowledge on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and menstrual hygiene management (MHM).
Our objectives for the month were:
- Organize workshops with the nurse in all the groups of rural women/girls with lesson by nurse to the groups on, puberty, the menstruation cycle and changes that occur in the body during menstruation
- organize a training session on female leadership and thinking towards success for one group of girls in Bamenda
- organize a training on the production of a snack highly consumed and commercialized in Bamenda for our 2nd group of women/girls in Bamenda
Workshops with 5 groups of rural women
In September, We started a project that will enable rural women and girls to basic information on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Menstrual Hygiene Management and access to washable sanitary pads during their period. This month, With the support of a community nurse, we discussed puberty and the biological changes that occur for girls and boys during that period with 197 rural women and girls.
95% of the women/girls engaged on the project recognize this is the first time they have the opportunity to discuss such subjects which are considered taboo in the village. They are very active during the workshops and are extremely grateful for all the lessons and all what they learn so far.
Activities with the groups in Bamenda
The lessons on female leadership and positive thinking towards success for girls were a huge success. Twelve girls benefited from this lesson. They were encouraged to be positive, confident and to take up leadership roles in school or in various groups they belong to.
They were also encouraged be creative in order to upgrade the skills learned at the African Youth Alliance. As a response to this lesson 18years old Fanuella a student, vowed to change her way of reasoning i.e. to overcome fear and learn to sacrifice for her goals.
Our second group in Bamenda learned how to produce peanuts a snack highly consumed in Bamenda.
Most women who benefited from the training said they are going to produce it for income generation during the festive season in December.
We remain grateful to all our sponsors, supporters and community based volunteers for the support and all the hard work despite the difficult conditions we live in North West Cameroon.
The activities for the month of October were briefly suspended for 10 days due to the uncertain socio political atmosphere around the election period in our region. Despite that we successfully reached out to about 280 women and girls with whom we:
- Completed our computer training
- Discussed female leadership, goals setting and peer group pressure
- Discussed menstruation
- Trained on irrigation techniques for sustainable gardening during the dry season
We successfully completed the computer training with our last batch of trainees.
Some trainees are happy to say they can produce basic leaflets and cards for their businesses.
Activities with rural women and girls
We rounded up our series of discussions on goal setting, peer pressure and female leadership.
We are gradually entering into the dry season; we worked on irrigation to ensure a successful gardening in one group community garden.
We started some preliminary discussions on our project that will enable rural women and girls to basic information on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Menstrual Hygiene Management and access to washable sanitary pads during their period. We shared more information about what menstruation is, the ages and how it happens
We appreciate all our volunteers and supporters; they continue to support us despite the crisis and difficult conditions we work in our region. The women and girls we work with are very active and count on us. Reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in partnering with us.
Hip hip hurray!!!
The entire team at the African Youth Alliance, volunteers, girls and women we work with are humbled and appreciative of our selection for the “Small Grant Competition” for NGOs by Proposalsforngos!!!
The announcement on their website is on the link: http://proposalsforngos.com/announcements/announcing-the-winner-of-proposalsforngos-small-grant-competition-2018/
The month of September unlike other months witnessed a slowdown of activities due to the socio-political unrest in the Region; some few tensions were observed in some communities due to the upcoming presidential elections of October. Amidst the tension, we were still able to reach out to our clubs of rural women and girls and to complete the computer training with our last batch of trainees in Bamenda.
The objectives of the month were
- To start a new garden with a group of rural women and girls
- Mobilize rural women and girls for a new project on SRHR and MHM
- Arts & Crafts : Production of sandals
- Complete and evaluate the computer classes with a last batch of 4 trainees
Creation of a new garden with a club of rural women
We supported a new group with 13 hoes, 13 cutlasses 4 watering cans and 250 seedlings of cabbages. They will start a community garden and will as well receive some technical support from our volunteers of how to produce organic manure, composting techniques and land preparation/management during gardening.
Mobilization of rural women and girls for a new project on SRHR and MHM
We mobilised about 380 rural women for a project that will enable rural women and girls to basic information on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Menstrual Hygiene Management and access to washable sanitary pads during their period. The women and girls mobilized look forward with a lot of excitement to this project. It will help solve the challenges they face with the crisis in the region that led to the displacement of many women and girls, now cut off from access to sanitary and hygiene products.
Arts & Crafts: Production of sandals
10 girls learned how to produced sandals from local materials and plastic beads.
Marianne (16 years) “I am so excited because I can make my own sandals for whose and some for sale to generate income”
The computer training continued in the two training centres, that is Foncha Street and Futru in Bamenda. As regard to how she felt about the training the 25yrs old Elizabeth says” I am so happy to have this opportunity to learn new skills, they will be very useful for my studies. “She expressed her gratitude to the AYA team.
The second set of 4 trainees have so far trained on Microsoft WORD, EXCEL and were about to start PUBLISHER.
However, towards mid-September, due to the tensed atmosphere in and around town, the training and all meetings of clubs in Bamenda were temporarily suspended.
Highlight to the Visit of the Coordinator of the African Youth Alliance to Women’s groups in Rwanda
Roseline Kamdem, the Coordinator of Programs for the African Youth Alliance had the opportunity to do some networking and learning visits to women’s organisations in Kigali Rwanda this month.
The visit to RESONATE Rwanda (https://resonateworkshops.org/ ),
Tubahumurize Association (https://rwandanwomencan.org/ )
and Nyamirambo Women’ Center (https://www.nwc-umutima.org/ )
was indeed a major learning curve. The warm welcome, sharing of knowledge, experiences and work procedures was amazing, it will greatly improve our programs and services. We extend our sincere gratitude and appreciation to the staff team of these organizations for all the support received during our visit.
We give a big shout to all our volunteers and supporters, whose relentlessness and untiring efforts do not cease despite the crisis and difficult conditions we work in our region. The women and girls need us more than ever and we look forward to working with all. Reach us at email@example.com if you are interested in supporting our activities.