Quarterly updates (July to September 2019)

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Dear friends, followers and supporters, our updates will now be published quarterly as you would have noticed from the last publication we did. Thank you for you for the love always.

July and August were set aside for final training sessions and evaluations of a one year project launched last September 2018 to enable rural women and girls from 4 communities in the North West Region of Cameroon gain basic knowledge on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR); menstrual hygiene management (MHM) and provide access to reusable sanitary pads.

The last training for the project was done in all 7 groups on the production of reusable sanitary pads.  Over 266 women trained highly appreciated the skill. They are now able to manage their menstrual hygiene properly through the produce and consumption of the sanitary pads by themselves. They also supply other women in their community.

Another major activity for the month was the distribution of clothes to pregnant women/breastfeeding mothers and women thanks to a material (mostly babies’ clothes and few for women) and financial donation made by one of our supporter. With the donation, these provided relief assistance to the beneficiaries who lack access to such basic facilities caused by the ongoing crisis in the region.

All beneficiaries 62 people from Tumuku and 83 people from the 2 groups of Twang and Muchuni in Chuaku amongst which 37 were breastfeeding mothers/pregnant women with their babies thanked AYA immensely and promised to keep the memories of all good deeds so dearly in their hearts.

We held a second workshop with the presidents of all groups, volunteers, quarter heads and council chair persons where they met and discuss on  gender based violence in terms of marriage and widows rights. Participants highlighted the challenges faced by women/girls as they advocate against such traditional practices.

The male participants promised to continue the fight to end GBV against women and to promote gender equality in the community. It was remarkable to have 107 women and volunteers, and several community leaders  and traditional leaders present, it is rare such topics discussed in the presence of traditional authorities. We appreciate the gradual shifting of attitudes in the communities since the start of the project last year.

 

In September, not even the heavy and continuous rain fall could stop the women advocates we have to attend traditional council session at Chuaku with the general supervision of the field coordinator. They met with the traditional rulers to discuss GBV with emphasis laid on women’s right to have access land properties, influenced gender biased customary laws at the level of traditional councils and customary courts in villages.

The traditional council members had already started the advocacy campaign on GBV in their council meetings as well as in their communities, since they attended the past workshops with the women advocates. The quarter head of Chuaku encouraged the African Youth Alliance to continue with awareness raising and sensitisations for the women advocates,  and the whole community he feels encouraged to have for the first been invited to discuss such issues with women. He recognises that some  and promises to take the lead in fighting GBV his village.

The gracious support of a new partner in France  enabled us to carry out trainings on powder soap production, medicated soap and body lotion for new members in the group at Elemighong and the 2 groups of Twang and Muchuni in Chuaku. The trainings continued to provide access to basic needs as well as improve on livelihoods with the scarcity of those basic commodities in their communities caused by the Anglophone crisis.

We extend our profound gratitude to all our supporters. Contact us aa africanyouthalliance@gmail.com if you are interested in supporting our activities.

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6 Months Updates (Feb to June 2019)

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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.

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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

Patience Maih 34 years Volunteer Alinekoe group

“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

Wointoh Evelyn 49 years President Alinekoe group

“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 2019 updates

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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.

 

December 2018

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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.

 

  1. 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) 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

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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.

November 2018 updates

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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.

October 2018 activities

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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

 

Computer training

We successfully completed the computer training with our last batch of trainees.

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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 africanyouthalliancegroup@gmail.com if you are interested in partnering with us.

Winner of the “Small Grant Competition” for NGOs by Proposalsforngos!!!

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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/