UN Women Cameroun

UN Women Cameroon builds capacity of partners: Government (Ministry of Women's Empowerment and Family, Ministry of Economy, Planning and Spatial Planning, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Commerce, Commission National Human Rights and Freedoms, Elections Cameroon); and NGOs (CSO, media, political parties) for the institutionalization of gender.

UN Women Cameroon works in four themes: Leadership and Political Participation, Economic Empowerment, Violence Against Women, and National Planning and Budgeting.

Current programs in Cameroon:

  • The Program of Women Involved in Cross-Border Informal Trade (PAFICIT)
  • Prevention and care of victims of gender-based violence through the establishment of a One Stop Center
  • H4 + / AIDS Collaboration on Accelerating Progress in Childhood, Newborn and Child Health Fund for Gender Equality
  • UNGTG Gender Project (UN gender thematic group)

Cameroon's population is currently estimated at 24.6 million, with over 55% residing in urban and semi urban areas. Per the 2015 UNDP Human Development Index (HDI), Cameroon’s HDI value for 2014 was 0.512, which puts the country in the low human development category, positioning it at 153 out of 188 countries and territories. Between 1980 and 2014, Cameroon’s HDI value increased from 0.405 to 0.512, an increase of 26.4 percent or an average annual increase of about 0.69 percent. In 2014, the Gender Inequality Index of Cameroon was 0.587 and the country was ranked 132 on a total of 188. The Gender Development Index (GDI) ratio of women against men was 0.879.

Cameroon has been experiencing an unexpected large-scale influx of refugees and displaced persons since January 2014, due to the civil war in Central African Republic and the Boko Haram insurgency in Northern Nigeria and Chad. The three regions hosting these refugees - Far-North, Adamawa and East regions also have the highest poverty indices in Cameroon - 65.9%, 53% and 50.4% respectively. Despite on-going operations by the Multinational Force, the security situation in the Far North Region remained unstable in July 2016 with growing incursions by Boko Haram fighters and suicide bombers. This situation is worsened with women and girls especially former Boko Haram hostages used as suicide bombers.

The ongoing Anglophone crisis which started in November 2016, with a strike in the justice and education sectors, escalated into a real socio - political problem, with the two Anglophone regions (North West and South West) asking for a return to federalism or secession from the francophone zone.  The socio-political situation has resulted in the closure of schools, violence and armed conflicts resulting to deaths, incarceration of many civilians, allegations of rape and displacements of thousands who are fleeing their homes.

Thematic Areas:

1. Women leadership and participation in politics is improved

Though women’s political representation in Cameroon’s national Assembly has increased in the last ten years (31.1% compared with 8.9% in 2007), women’s political participation remains low overall, with significant differences between national and local levels (only 8% of local councilors, and less than 2% of political party leaders, are women). UN Women is supporting the promotion of women’s political empowerment through awareness campaigns, and by giving technical support to the national institution for referendums and elections (ELECAM), political parties, and women leaders. Two main outcomes are envisaged; The programme will address the structural and socio-cultural challenges to women’s participation at all levels of decision-making. In this respect, the partnership established with ELECAM, political parties and women political aspirants and elected leaders, will be pursued. The proposed activities under this programme are aligned with the “Women and political participation” 2017-2020 strategic plan, which was developed by UNWOMEN and UNDP to support to ELECAM.

In terms of data, gender responsive planning and budgeting, Cameroon is engaged gender responsive planning and budgeting evident in the existence of gender sensitive national sector strategies and action plans amongst others. The MEWGC flagship program will address the challenges relative to production and use of gender statistics. The programme seeks to promote the generation and use of gender mainstreaming principles into statistical processes; improve statistics for gender responsive planning and budgeting and to improve accountability of government. Quality gender statistics will be produced and used to plan and monitor SDGs at national and local levels.

2. Women economic empowerment

In 2010, 58% of women in the Cameroonian labour force were employed in agriculture and 87% of them are in vulnerable employment. UN Women’s experience has shown that strengthening income security and economic autonomy requires an integrated approach that simultaneously addresses the issues of land tenure and access to other productive assets and higher value chains, within the context of a changing climate. The agricultural sector in Cameroon is one of the richest and most diversified agricultural producer in Central Africa making the country the main food supplier accounting for 70% of the central African regional market. UN Women will work to improve the productivity and reduce time and labor burdens of women smallholder farmers by ensuring equal access to climate-resilient productive resources including land tenure; and increase capacity to access timely information and extension services. The interventions will also promote opportunities for women farmers to participate in and move up the green value chain through organization and structuring of women groups in cooperatives; improvement of storage and selling facilities and capacities; establishment of linkages between the producers and the buyers. The country office will support the establishment of rural extension services to rural women, facilitating partnership between women cooperatives and rural equipment pools and financial institutions. Special attention will be put on making the digital platform “buy from women” women-friendly and on increasing the income of women by using the digital platform.

3. Prevention of violence against women and girls and delivering essential services to survivors

Though progress has been made to prevent different forms of violence against women and girls: criminalization of Female Genital Mutilation practices by the penal code (Act. 277-1), legal age of marriage at 18 for men and women. There are still concerns about the contents and effectiveness of the legislation intended to prevent sexual violence and provide protection and justice for the victims. To complement to the country office response in the LEAP, UN Women’s interventions will focus under this thematic area will mainly be prevention and law enforcement.

The country office will build on its four-year experience in providing holistic services through women cohesion spaces to women and girls affected by sudden onset emergencies. The interventions will target internally displaced persons, refugees and the host communities. The country office will also focus on building resilience and coping mechanisms of affected women and girls by providing access to the required skills and assets and be linked with supportive social practices and services for access to livelihoods, income generation and job opportunities, including through second chance education.

4. Knowledge management

UN Women Cameroon has set up a Gender Knowledge Center as a knowledge hub which produces, collects, stocks and disseminates knowledge products on gender related issues to the public. Within 2018-2020, UN Women Cameroon will invest in producing more gender knowledge products on its key thematic priorities. UN Women will engage in more outreach events like open door days to disseminate these products.