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05 March 2013

Over 150 women schooled on their rights to access and benefit to natural resources

Posted in News, Views 1289

Tofala Women were present!

Over 150 women schooled on their rights to access and benefit to natural resources

Preparations towards the celebration of the 28th edition of the International women's day are already on top gear. Just almost 3 days to go, over 150 women drawn from 15 groups in the South West Region of Cameroon have been schooled on their rights to access and benefit from the rich natural resources ranging from forests to non- forests products.

The event which took place on the 4th of March at the Youth Center in Buea was organized by the German Cooperation in Cameroon the GIZ. The event was in line with the organization's sixth edition of the "Strong Women and girls" organized every March to mark the celebrations of the international women's day and help empower women in various aspects. This year the objectives of the event was to inform women on how they can have access and benefit from natural resources and to empower them take their own strategic decisions to be self employed. The event brought together women involved in different arts and crafts who displayed their competences in the transformation of natural resources into finished goods. Amongst these were forest products such as "bush mango, njansah, eru" just to name these. Women equally demonstrated how they use palm nuts for the production of soap and other detergents.

Tofala women 2When time came for demonstrations, two women representing the Tofala Women's group from the Lebialem highlands stole the show with their demonstrations on how they use palm oil to produce soap and how they use palm kernel oil and other ingredients to produce other detergents. The president of the group, Ms Sophie Awundiyi explained that the production of detergents using natural products is an age long activity. "I started doing this a long time ago. I have learnt to use palm nuts to produce soap, sell in the market and in turn use it to take care of my family. Even other forest products like njansah and country onions, I harvest with the authorization of forest guards, transform some and feed my family"

Other Women groups demonstrated how they could use cassava to produce flour and chips while others showed their competences in the transformation of fruits into fruit juice.

Cross section of women taking part in the podiumSpeaking at the start of a podium discussion, the GIZ Co-ordinator of the Strong women and girls program, Katharina Pfeifer welcomed all the participants and explained that the aim of the occasion was really to educate women on their rights to these natural resources which sometimes they are discriminate upon by men and help foster gender equality. The SW Divisional delegate for Women's empowerment and the family, Ms Moffah Juditha Luma, on her part lauded the initiative and urged women to stand up to their rights to land, water and the resources therein.

The celebrations were also in line with the 2010 Nagoya Protocol which stresses on local community's rights access and benefit sharing to natural resources for sustainable development.

By Regina Fonjia Leke