#OrangeTheWorld: Promoting women’s rights and building women’s movements in Cameroon
“Systematic and structural inequalities and weaknesses that tend to sustain cultural discrimination cannot be corrected by interventions dotted here and there.”
The Rural Women Center for Education and Development (RuWCED) has launched a project in the North-West Region of Cameroon to address violence against women and girls through awareness raising, community participation and networking. The project is supported by a UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women (UN Trust Fund) grant awarded under the EU/UN Spotlight Initiative.*
We spoke with Glory Lueong, Founder of RuWCED, about the importance of movement building in the work to eradicate all forms of violence against women and girls.
What is your organization’s long-term vision of change? How is the UN Trust Fund grant under the EU/UN Spotlight Initiative supporting this vision and your work in ending violence against women and girls in Cameroon?
To focus on women-led, local mobilization to achieve the respect, protection and fulfillment of women’s social, economic, cultural and political rights and the development of their communities.
The grant helps us to:
- Identify the behaviours and attitudes of women and girls experiencing violence that impede them from breaking free of the cycle of violence;
- Improve their knowledge and agency around their right to bodily integrity, autonomy and freedom from violence; and
- Garner public support to end violence against rural women and girls using allies in the media, local administrative authorities, traditional authorities and school teachers.
Through this grant, we are gaining a better understanding of the root causes of the drivers of violence against women and girls. In this way, we are developing robust and coordinated action across different sectors in collaboration with different actors while informally promoting women’s and girls’ voices and leadership locally. For example, during the project we are also working with traditional authorities to educate community leaders on rights-based approaches to ending violence against women and girls.
How has the COVID-19 crisis impacted your work?
We are currently working in the context of a twin crisis of conflict and COVID-19. The measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, including lockdowns, meant that we needed to shift to working more from home, using hotlines and providing personal protective equipment for staff and the women’s groups with whom we work. This requires additional technical and financial resources, which was supported by the UN Trust Fund.
What is movement building to you and why is it necessary in ending violence against women and girls?
For us it is the process of drawing on the strength of vibrant civil society organizations and associated actors to amplify their voices, strengthen their leadership and increase their advocacy skills so they are better able to challenge power imbalances that sometimes nurture inertia in the face of social injustice.
Systematic and structural inequalities and weaknesses that tend to sustain cultural discrimination cannot be corrected by interventions dotted here and there. We need well-coordinated and synergetic efforts by actors from different spheres of the political, justice, socio-economic and cultural life of society to dislodge the societal injustice on which violence against women and girls is anchored.
What should donors do to better to support movement building?
We think that donors could fund organizations working on the same issues from different perspectives within specific geographical and administrative areas as to strengthen synergies. This can enhance dialogues and networking between civil society organizations and other relevant local, national and international stakeholders for the development of a common advocacy strategy, and contribute to monitoring local and national efforts to promote and protect women’s rights.
To learn more about the work of RuWCED, watch this video that was shown during the 75th United Nations General Assembly:
This interview is part of a series to highlight the UN Trust Fund grantees under the Spotlight Initiative and how these women-led and women’s rights organizations are building and nurturing the feminist movements.
*The EU/UN Spotlight Initiative was launched in 2017 as a joint effort by the EU and UN to end violence against women and strengthen women’s movements around the world, including by allocating grants — through the UN Trust Fund — to civil society organizations in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa.