Economic Empowerment,the First Step to Emancipation

Chi Yvonne Leina
Posted February 16, 2015

Poverty is a major contributing factor to violence against women world wide. In Cameroon, many women are trapped in abusive situations but cannot stand up for themselves because they depend solely on their abusers for livelihood. If we must truly liberate women from the pangs of violence, financial empowerment must be our prime weapon.

Gender Danger has done extensive work in sensitizing women in the North West Region of Cameroon about cultural practices that violate their rights. We have come to realize that women have the will to stand up against such practices but are paralyzed by the fear of being ostracized by their communities and left to fend for themselves. When a woman is sure of providing food, shelter and clothing for herself and her children, her level of tolerance to violence drops significantly and she gains more respect from society.

It is in this light thatfive survivors of domestic violence from the town of Bamenda in the North West region of Cameroon have benefitted from Gender Danger`s Pilot Economic Empowerment Program. These women have been provided with micro-loans to the tune of50.000FCFA (100$)each as start ups for small businesses which will help themgradually re-gain financial stability. The beneficiaries have been matched with mentors who provide the loans and maintain a nurturing relationship through constant communication via e mail, phone and Skype. Gender Danger`s team of volunteers have ensured that these women get the follow -up and encouragement and resourcesthey need to make their dreams come true. They are expected to re-fund their loans in a period of three months. Those who make prompt refunds will be given another chance to expand their businesses with the same amount.Besides working towards Economic stability they are provided group therapy forthnightly ,they have a safe space where they can share their stories and empower one another.

We now have a restaurant operator, a dealer in kitchen equipment, a hair dresser, a dealer in food stuff, and an interior designer.

As time goes by, we will explore new ideas to make the program better,the number of survivors reached will increase and before you know it, one by one together weshall together deliver a whole community of women from the clutches of poverty and violence.

Comments 6

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Kristina M
Feb 17, 2015
Feb 17, 2015

Thank you for telling us about the Gender Danger program.  It sounds like it is a comprehensive program, addressing not only the physical and material needs but the mental and emotional needs a woman would have trying to make a better life.  I think providing a mentor and group support boosts a woman's self esteem by showing her that she is not alone in what she is going through and others are willing to help her succeed. 

Chi Yvonne Leina
Feb 17, 2015
Feb 17, 2015

Thanks for the encouraging words dear Kristina.Women helping women is the surest formula for a better world!

Yvette Warren
Feb 20, 2015
Feb 20, 2015

I am in love with this program, Leina. The mentoring aspect is despeartely needed in entrepreneurship and money management. Please keep us posted on further developments.

P.S. I LOVE your profile picture.

Chi Yvonne Leina
Feb 20, 2015
Feb 20, 2015

Thank you so much for the encouraging words dear Yvette!Thanks for liking the pic too!!!

Adahmbah
Feb 24, 2015
Feb 24, 2015

Courage sister,

I love your support and encouragement to these women victims of domestic violence.keep the good work.

Adah

ma.chona lasaca
Feb 26, 2015
Feb 26, 2015

Hello Leina! Your voice is so full of passion and energy to help women in Cameroon get out of the cycle of violence and take the needed steps to freedom. You are offering endless possibilities for women not only in economic aspect but in building their capacities to claim their dreams. As Community Champion, I look forward to following the  stories of  women you are partnering with in Gender Danger ,