Girls in a Cameroon school

The civil unrest in Cameroon has claimed the lives of hundreds of people, mostly men who have gone to join the fighting, leaving the nation’s women and girls to fend for themselves.

Homes and schools have been destroyed. The schools that remain have been closed for over a year. Without a decent education, the prospects for girls in Cameroon has become slim. For many of them, they see marriage as their only option.

“When girls stay in school though, it is not a problem. The higher the degree girls acquire, the more prepared she is for life, and she eventually can marry the right person when she is ready. Education is a way for them to be protected against early marriage and forced marriage.” [1]

In the southwest region of Cameroon where the violence is greatest, over 240,000 people have been displaced, many fleeing to neighboring Nigeria. Many families cannot flee, or choose not to, waiting instead for their husbands and sons to come home. Many never do.

The women and girls who are left behind have little access to medicine, healthcare, and menstrual hygiene products.

“While some have resorted to using age-old methods like plants, rags and locally-made pads, others rely on the few pads donated by aid organisations. Njikem Nerville, a social worker with Authentique Memorial Empowerment Foundation (AMEF), a local humanitarian organisation in Kumba, describes the situation as “despicable and pitiful.”" [2]

Suggestions have been presented to provide humanitarian and stop the violence, but as of yet, no solutions have been implemented.

According to a local WFAC Cameroon activist, women of Cameroon should act as a catalyst for peace in the region by holding rallies, protests, and strategy meetings.

“This is what is being done by women of the civil society organisations who have mobilised themselves to form the South-West North-West Women’s Task Force. We are tired of losing our children and burying our husbands.” [2]

CDN provides sanitary menstrual products and education to women and girls in Cameroon. Your tax-deductible donation can help keep these girls in school, providing an alternative to child marriage. Please donate.