Sixteen Days of Activism against Gender Violence

Women Diplomats give voice to survivors of violent extremism in the Far North Region of Cameroon

Date: Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Rosalie Nganawa, a GBV survivor and founder of a local women’s association advocating for the elimination of GBV and education of the girl child in Mokolo recounting her experience to the women diplomats in Maroua. Photo credit: Teclaire Same/UN Women


Over 10 women diplomats in Cameroon have called on gender-based (GBV) survivors and activists in the Far North Region to stand up for their rights and continue to fight end all forms of violence against women and girls in the region. The call was made during the visit of a delegation of women ambassadors and wives of ambassadors to Maroua to show their support to survivors of violent extremism and GBV.


Adidja Hassan, a GBV survivor and community relay worker supporting and orientating other GBV survivors to get support from GBV call centers and gender desk also shared her story with the women diplomats. Photo credit: Teclaire Same/UN Women

The visit which brought together over 50 GBV survivors took place on Friday November 30. It was organized with the objective of showing solidarity and support to survivors of GBV and violent extremism by providing a platform for the survivors to share their stories and experiences and raise awareness of the consequences of GBV in conflict zones.

The survivors shared their horrifying experiences lived from teenage ages including; most of the survivors were deprived of an education, forced into early marriage as early as 13 years and were constantly battered by their spouses, rejected by parents and family members and abandoned with no economic support to cater for themselves and their children. Others have been victims of Boko Haram attacks, kidnapped and raped by their assailants amongst others.


Tchived Marie-Noelle survivor of forced marriage, physical and psychological violence brought everyone to tears as she shared her experience with the women diplomats. Photo credit: Teclaire Same/UN Women

GBV actors in the region also had a brief meeting with the women diplomats to share their experiences and challenges faced in delivering effective GBV support services in a situation of conflict: insufficient safe houses and structures to facilitate the reinsertion of survivors such as call centers to receive and counsel survivors, training centers for economic empowerment; need for additional capacity building support for actors; the socio-cultural and religious context which prevents survivors from denouncing violence and accepting psychosocial support and treatment.


GBV actors in the region sharing their experiences and challenges with the women diplomats. Photo credit: Teclaire Same/UN Women

The visit of the women diplomats which was led by the Resident coordinator of the United Nations in Cameroon, Allegra Baiocchi, as part of the activities of the 16 days of activism to end gender-based violence in Cameroon, ended with distribution of different types of economic kits to the survivors. The economic kits which were distributed based on preidentified skills, training and needs of the survivors were aimed at supporting the economic reinsertion and empowerment of the beneficiaries.


Survivors receiving economic kits from the women diplomats at the end of the event. Photo credit: Teclaire Same/UN Women

The delegation of diplomats was comprised of: the Canadian High Commissioner to Cameroon, H.E Nathalie O’Neil; the Ambassador of Brasil, H.E. Vivian Loss Sanmartin; Operations Director of the World Bank, Mme Elisabeth Huybens; Mme Christine Maria Schadek Geb Bousse, wife of the Ambassador of the European Union; Mme Caroline Jeanne Ernst, wife of the Belgian Ambassador; Mme Hayat Jidou, wife of the Morrocan Ambassador; Mme Snoussi Hajer Chiboub, wife of the Tunisian Ambassador, Mme Thibault Fabienne Marie Therese Macquet, wife of the French Ambassador; the Resident Representative of UNFPA, Mme Siti Batoul Oussein; and UN Women Governance Program coordinator, Mme Beat Paulette Songue.