UN Women at the forefront of Economic Empowerment for Rural Women

Date: Monday, October 22, 2018

Since its launch in 2017, UN Women’s flagship “Gender-Road Project” has contributed in the economic empowerment of over 800 rural women in the Lekie, Mbam and Kim Divisions in the Central Region of Cameroon. This initiative, “Gender-Road Project” seeks to promote gender equality and accelerate the economic empowerment of women along the road project ‘BATCHENGA-NTUI-YOKO-LENA’ which has been facilitating rural women’s access to productive resources, technical capacity building, access to financial resources and markets.

 

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Mme Mereng Bessala, trainee on improved fishery techniques using homemade fish food to feed the fish in her fish pond. Photo: UN Women/ Teclaire Same

Rural women from the different associations and cooperatives in the project area have been trained by UN Women on entrepreneurship skills, management of small businesses and improved agricultural techniques. One of the beneficiaries of the capacity building and land title initiatives, Mme Catherine Mbedja Makia explained the benefits she and other members of her association “Espoir Fraternelle” which has over 50 members have received from the project, Belonging to a women’s association made it easier for me to become a beneficiary of this important project and I appreciate all I have learnt and benefited because it has increased my knowledge and output from my farm. My association is currently working with five other associations to form a cooperative with the support of UN Women,” she explained.

 

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Mme Catherine Mbedja, harvesting fruits from her farmland Photo: UN Women/ Teclaire Same

To facilitate access to credits by the beneficiaries, UN Women has supported the creation of several cooperatives three of which are already legally registered and has finalized negotiations with a micro finance institution, ‘Microfinance pour le Development – MIFED’ for the financing of micro-projects initiated by rural women. This will guarantee access to credit at low interest rates to carry out their activities.

UN Women recently visited the Copfeplangui rural women cooperative, created in 2017 with the support of UN Women, ‘Gender-Road Project’ with a membership of 47 women residing in Nguilla. The group has already obtained 50ha of land from the traditional ruler of Nguilla and is in the process of obtaining a land title on 4ha of land through UN Women supported initiative to facilitate rural women’s access to land. They use the land to grow diverse crops such cocoa, plantains, cocoyams, yams, cassava, maize, melon and run a savings account in a traditional micro finance – ‘Caise Villagiose d’Epargne’ where the proceeds from sale of their farm produced is saved.

 

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Members of the COPFEPLANGUI cooperative in their cassava farm. Photo: UN Women/ Teclaire Same

UN Women is also providing support toward the elimination of gender-based violence and the issuance of birth certificates to enable young girls and boys to sit for public exams and reduce school drop out of girls in the area. UN Women has already facilitated the issuance of 150 birth certificates and have applied for 100 more.

The ‘Gender-Road Project’ is financed by the African Development Bank (AFDB) in partnership with the government of Cameroon, Development Bank of Central African States (BDEAC), French Development Agency (AFD) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).