Sixteen Days of Activism against Gender Violence

Government of Cameroon launch 16 Days of Activism to end violence against women and girls

Date: Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Minister Abena Ondoa Marie-Therese, Minister of Women Empowerment and the Family officially launched the 16 days of activism campaign in Cameroon with a call for the community to pay attention to the voice and sufferings of survivors. Photo credit: Teclaire Same/UN Women
Minister Abena Ondoa Marie-Therese, Minister of Women Empowerment and the Family officially launched the 16 days of activism campaign in Cameroon with a call for the community to pay attention to the voice and sufferings of survivors. Photo credit: Teclaire Same/UN Women

The government of Cameroon and the UN System officially launched the 16 days of activism to eliminate violence against women and girls with a call to all actors to pay attention to the sufferings of survivors. The launch event with brought together over 400 participants from the university, women associations, CSO’s, UN Agencies and government officials was organized on Tuesday 27 November 2018, at the Hilton Hotel in Yaoundé.

A cross section of participants at the official launched of the 16 days of activism campaign to end violence against women and girls in Cameroon. Photo credit: Teclaire Same/UN Women
A cross section of participants at the official launched of the 16 days of activism campaign to end violence against women and girls in Cameroon. Photo credit: Teclaire Same/UN Women

A conference on sexual harassment in the university milieu was moderated by Professor Jean-Emmanuel Pondi was organized during the launch to raise awareness on the epidemic of sexual harassment in Cameroonian universities, the causes and the consequences including the long term psychological impacts of sexual harassment on the victims and inability to evaluate the potential of the students who graduate from universities.

During the conference, Professor Jean-Emmanuel Pondi called on students to denounce harassment and made a call to the university community to guarantee equal treatment of boys and girls. “Sexual harassment is a crime punishable by law. The punishment is a double for teachers. A GBV call center has been setup in the University social medical Centre to receive cases and reports of sexual harassment. Students have the courage to denounce harassment” Professor Pondi advised. He also used this opportunity to call on the university communities to incorporate African values which gives pride of place to women.

Professor Jean-Emmanuel Pondi, Vice Rector of the University of Yaoundé I, moderating the conference debate on sexual harassment in the university milieu during the ceremony to launch the 16 days of Activism campaign in Cameroon. Photo credit: Teclaire Same/UN Women
Professor Jean-Emmanuel Pondi, Vice Rector of the University of Yaoundé I, moderating the conference debate on sexual harassment in the university milieu during the ceremony to launch the 16 days of Activism campaign in Cameroon. Photo credit: Teclaire Same/UN Women

Several survivors and activists of gender-based violence shared testimonies and called for the actions to be taken to support survivors and end the vicious circle of GBV in our communities. Winnie Eyono-Ndong, a GBV survivor shared her testimony of breast ironing and rape at the age of 8 and the long-term consequences of this in her life. “my personal struggles and the support I received from RENATA an association working with GBV survivors and teenage mothers helped me to overcome the trauma and inspired to support other teanage girls facing similar challenges” Winnie testified.

Barrister Mbatoung Bertile a GBV activists made the call to women and appealed for the adoption of legislations that facilitate access to justice for survivors and punishment for perpetrators. “Women stop crying and start thinking” she advised women to start acting and denounce all forms of violence.

Winnie Eyono-Ndong, GBV survivor and activist shared her heart-wrenching testimony as Mme Abena Ondoa Marie-Therese, Minister of Women Empowerment and the Family and other dignitaries listened to her story. Photo credit: Teclaire Same/UN Women
Winnie Eyono-Ndong, GBV survivor and activist shared her heart-wrenching testimony as Mme Abena Ondoa Marie-Therese, Minister of Women Empowerment and the Family and other dignitaries listened to her story. Photo credit: Teclaire Same/UN Women

The UN Resident Coordinator in Cameroon, Allegra Baiocchi called also used this opportunity to renew the commitment of the United Nations to work with all stakeholders to eliminate violence against women and girls. “We know the problem, we share your burden and we pledge to do more to help survivors of violence. I call on you women to dry your tears and take Action” Mme Allegra advised.

Allegra Baiocchi, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations System in Cameroon, Delivering her welcome address during the Official launch of the days of Activism campaign in Cameroon. Photo credit: Teclaire Same/UN Women
Allegra Baiocchi, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations System in Cameroon, Delivering her welcome address during the Official launch of the days of Activism campaign in Cameroon. Photo credit: Teclaire Same/UN Women