Raising my voice for young women’s rights and empowerment
Each day, I raise my voice so that young women and girls are counted and heard in this crowd of toxic patriarchs. I also raise my voice so that, laws and cultural norms that discriminate against women can be eradicated.
As part of Women for a Change, Cameroon (Wfac) Staff Capacity Strengthening Policy, in 2017, I was recommended to participate in a three-month online course organized by Women Thrive on fundraising, communications, and advocacy, especially around successful advocacy campaigns and visibility for SDG5.
The online training was grouped into four clusters and each ran for around four weeks, culminating in three months for all four. The four clusters included:
- RAISE YOUR VOICE which Prepares advocates to understand the advocacy process and develop a feminist advocacy campaign.
In this first training, I learned the power of storytelling, not just personal stories but organizational stories. And as a young feminist organization, we too have a story. And that story is all about uplifting young women and girls and ensuring their active participation and involvement in decision-making processes, nationally and globally.
At this first segment of the training, two things stood out very strong to me. These include The power of storytelling through photographies and the used of hashtags in amplifying young women’s voices and informs and influence policies and change. For a hashtag doesn’t only tells stories but is capable to offset patriarchy – just like the #MeeToo campaign and women’s march which continues to connect, support and empower women and girls as well as influence and advance women’s human rights.
2) RAISE YOUR VISIBILITY equips activists with the skills to build their presence online to effectively communicate impact and reach new supporters.
As an organization with a huge online presence, we are never shy to bring visibility to the remarkable works of young women and girls across the country including sharing experiences and challenges faced working and advocating for change. Taking this training was strengthening as it simply reinforced the work we do at Wfac and also how with the support of digital technology, grassroots are able to connect people, feminist groups, young women, and girls, reach out to new audiences, as well as creates alternative platforms for young women and girls to find empowerment and be heard in places where they were often marginalised.
3) RAISE YOUR FUNDS empowers organisations to identify and reach donors to fund their gender equality work.
Before joining Wfac some years ago, I had limited skills and experience in fundraising for nonprofits or social justice. Though I had participated in fundraising for church activities. This training was definitely important for me especially in terms of identifying potential donors and private partners who can support our girls and young women’s human rights projects in and out of schools.
The big lesson learned here is that having a unique voice to tell your story is very important as any reader could be a potential donor.
4) SPEAK THE SDGS prepares organisations to further their visibility, fundraising, and advocacy by leveraging the new Sustainable Development Goals.
Given Wfac’s significant role over the years in popularising and mobilising public participation, particularly engaging youth and women in the post2015 process – both at national, regional and global levels. This training was very instrumental to my role and work at wfac as it did not only help improve my skills on identifying donors and writing successful grant proposals, but also on creating and developing campaign strategies, organise “give-back” internal capacity building training with Wfac staff/ volunteers and most importantly keep the engagement and momentum on the popularisation and campaigning for the full implementation and realisation of the SDGs (especially SDG5).
In conclusion, the training helped me gain more knowledge as it challenged me to be more proactive and engaging online especially within the gender equality and feminist movement.