Adelaide Foute Tega
Adelaide Foute Tega is a trader in Douala’s Sandaga market, the largest in Central Africa with more than 1,300 traders. Though women make up the majority of market traders, only two have ever been part of Sandaga’s 42-member general association for workers. The first of these women was Adelaide.
The experience was frustrating; her suggestions were often ignored, and no concrete action was taken to address women’s daily struggles — sexual harassment, discrimination, theft.
Women at Sandaga are at a marked disadvantage. A lack of access to information keeps them in the dark about traders’ rights and the laws that govern the marketplace. Abuses often result, and women are forced to pay double or triple the standard fees paid by male counterparts.
When a fellow Vital Voices network member, Kah Walla, launched the AMA Women Project to train the women of Sandaga Market, Adelaide immediately joined.
She is now president of the Union des Commercantes du Marche Sandaga (UCOMAS), a workers association she formed with fellow traders. A “support system” for women traders, UCOMAS takes action to overcome daily challenges, further economic growth and defend equal rights among traders.
What began with a handful of women traders has expanded into an association that boasts over 200 members. Adelaide has her sights set on achieving 80 percent membership among women traders at Sandaga market.
YouTube documentary parts 1 & 2: