Women for a Change, Cameroon participates at 3rd African Union Summit
Women for a Change, Cameroon participated at the 3rd African Union High Level Panel on Gender Equality & Women’s Empowerment and the 28th session of the Gender Is My Agenda Campaign (GIMAC) – from July 7 – 11 2016, in Kigali, Rwanda.
Below is a brief highlight to what was discussed/adopted as recommendations at the GIMAC Meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, which held under the theme: “2016: African Year of Human Rights with particular focus on the Rights of Women”.
Peace and Security
It’s almost 16 years since heads of governments adopted the groundbreaking United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 which talks about political participation of women in sustaining peace. In order words, this implies that we do not need war in order to implement the resolution. Unfortunately, the thinking and understanding of most governments is that until there is war, before they can apply the resolution. However, one would think that at war/ post-war times, the number of women participating in the peace negotiations is more than men. Far from it. Instead, it extremely low. In fact only 19 African countries have adopted and developed a National Action Plan for the implementation of UNSCR1325. As such, CSOs at GIMAC urged member states to;
- Ensure women’s active involvement and participation in peace and security processes.
- Put in place mechanisms to stop he insecurity on woman – for instance, in the situation of South Sudan, Central Africa Republic et al
Young Women’s Leadership
There is increasing level of poverty and unemployment and this hampers on young women’s leadership and empowerment. As such, member states were urged to;
- create enabling space for young women through internship, mentorship and coaching to excel in their unique leadership capacities.
- Ensure a complete end to Child, Early and Forced Marriages which continue to curtail girls and young women from fulfilling and enjoying their rights
- Understand that young women’s leadership is a reality and an essential factor to sustainable development.
The growth of any society depends on the quality of education it offers to its people. At GIMAC, CSOs urged the African states to;
- Create space for a conducive learning environment which is challenged by insecurity and terrorism;
- Ensure learning institutions are responsive to the needs of all students, including time of conflict;
- Promote girls involvement in to technical and STEM disciplines;
- Review school curriculum to include peace and security at all level;
- Make school safe for all, and eradicate discrimination, sexual offences on women in schools.
Without a health society, there can be no development. A healthy population is essential for Africa’s progress, as well as attainment of the agenda2063 demographic dividend. In this light governments were urge to;
- ensure that everyone is given the space to realise and enjoy their sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR);
- ratify and domesticate immediately the maputo protocol and those which have placed restriction should remove
- legalise abortion and ensure women’s and rights are respected and protected
- Advance date revolution and accelerate implementation of age appropriate comprehensive sexuality education
- work with civil society organisations (CSOs) to repeal all national laws that restrict their active efforts towards effective work.
Women’s Human Rights and Economic Empowerment
The big Question here Is “Where is the Money for women?” Governments were urged to;
- ensure access to credit and financial supports as well as capacity support to small and medium enterprises led/owned by women
- encourage organic food production for rural entrepreneurs
Accountability is essential to development.
This could either be through regularly reporting on the progress made in the implementation of programs and treaties. In Africa, 48 countries have submitted reports on the Solemn Declaration, but only 4 have respected the reporting guidelines.
NB: The Campaign #FollowTheProtocol was launch and is currently on-going. A full version on the recommendations will be made available shortly.