As National Vice President of Nkumu Fed-Fed, a leading organization that seeks to combat trafficking in persons and slavery in Cameroon, Beatrice Titanji works to sensitize her community on the issues surrounding human trafficking.
As a women’s rights advocate from Cameroon, I feel that there is very little talk about gender-based violence and violence against women in my home country. To prompt a discussion on these human rights issues, specifically labour trafficking and sex trafficking, Nkumu Fed-Fed created an awareness campaign that informs young women about their rights and empowers them to create a future that is different from that of their elders.
Prior to the creation of Nkumu Fed-Fed more than twenty years ago, Cameroon’s economic and political life was dominated by males; males controlled the crops, the land and even the women. The women were left with little choice, but to take direction from men who would often beat them. The goal of our organization is to provide women with the necessary tools and skills to become economically independent and to minimize their financial reliance on men.
Since 2012, October 11th has been the International Day of the Girl Child (IDG). On this day, our organization gives a small amount of money to each of our branches to facilitate this celebration.
IDG has led to the creation of multiple girl clubs throughout our community; we invite and encourage older women to attend these meetings to facilitate discussions with young girls about violence against women as well as to teach them transferable skills such as writing and public speaking. This approach to gender-based violence makes us unique because it is the first time that older women have brought our female youth to the forefront of the community to discuss these issues.
One of our women, Nabula, a labour trafficking survivor, spent one year with our program and as a result, has developed the necessary skills to become an embroiderer. With two children of her own, Nabula looks forward to starting a small embroidery business that will create the economic stability she needs to provide for her and her two boys. I have been dedicated to solving these problems for many years because my community has never viewed the woman as equal to her male counterpart.
Our community is very chauvinistic and continues to place the man in front of the woman. Having received a higher education, it has been my dream to help young girls achieve the same; I have admirers who want to be like me.
We continue to engage men in our efforts by inviting them to attend our meetings. On the International Day of the Girl Child, we invite both girls and boys to the event; the boys are very vocal and involved in the day’s activities. Similarly, a university is organizing its own 16 Days of Activism, which was started by a young man who has been with our organization since we first celebrated IDG. Through him, we have had other young men called “The Medics,” and plenty of other boys join in our fight for the girl child.
African governments have not yet seen the need to worry about violence against women and refuse to accept that violence against women even happens.
If there is one thing that the international community can do, it would be to increase the funding for NGOs that are already working to end gender-based violence in their communities.
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