The 23rd edition of the World Rural Women’s Day celebrated under the theme ‘Empowering rural women through the development of effective partnerships’ has given the Bangangté Local Council the opportunity to revitalize local governance approaches to better align rural women to its empowerment mission.
For quite some time now, this Local Council in the West region of Cameroon, which covers a population of about 215 000 inhabitants, has realized the need to act more sincerely to improve the situation of women in all fields. The women of Bangangté are the essential actresses of the construction of life in society. They make up close to 60% of the population of this Municipality and their main activity is agriculture and small business. Aware of this social function, they are placed at the center of the Bangangté municipal policies of international cooperation, as to say that the fight for the empowerment of rural women began long before this theme.
Their roles in the social economy are sensitive, day by day, in households and families. They ensure health, education, the development of children and the family as a whole. They are the ones who drive the economic activity of the Ndé division and Cameroon as a whole, which is largely backed by the agricultural sector, a still unstructured sector that absorbs more than 92% of this workforce.
The Bangangté municipality has since then initiated and successfully empowered the women in several fields through a multitude of projects:
- At the social level, thanks to the partnership with UN AIDS and the ‘Mother To Mother’ project, the Municipality assisted the women victims through a psychological, material and financial care of their status.
- In terms of energy, the municipality through a partnership with UN Habitat has trained rural women in the manufacture of improved ovens and the assembly of streetlights and solar lanterns.
- The project entitled ‘women and sustainable energy’ that’s ongoing in the municipality has seen the construction of a mini hybrid power station at the District Hospital for the electrical autonomy of the surgical and maternity wards.
- During the month of October 2018, the month during which rural women’s day is celebrated, the women gathered in associations benefited from the subsidy of the City Council for training in processing cassava into cassava pudding, garri, starch, vinegar and even whisky, thanks to the supervision of the final year pharmacy students at UDM (Université Des Montagnes) of Bangangté who focused their academic research projects on cassava.
To ensure the sustainability of this transformation, the municipality found it useful to find space for a community field for cassava cultivation that will be run by the women of RAFABANG (Network of women’s associations of Bangangté sub division). It takes off effectively this February 2019.
In the Bangangté Local Council, women need more support in the realization of income-generating micro projects and the development of infrastructure projects as well as decent job opportunities.
Thus, the municipality is committed to continue to defend equal opportunities for rural women, their empowerment and social justice, to build a municipality where life is good, progressing in peace towards sustainable development.
Mrs. TCHOUNGA Ide Carine is the author of this contribution. She is the Chief of Station for Radio Medumba, a community station in the city of Bangangté in the West Region of Cameroon. Within the framework of a partnership with the Local Council, the radio station produces programs and communicates on all the development activities within this Municipality.