My Vision : Greatly reduce GBV for women and girls with disabilities by using Technology to enhance Economic Empowerment

Regina Afanwi Young
Posted May 24, 2021 from Cameroon

My vision is to greatly reduce gender-based violence through economic empowerment programs which are greatly enhanced with the use of technology (digital tools)

Through our work in the community and interactions with women and girls especially those living with hearing impairment and other forms of disabilities, it is very evident that most women with disabilities lack access to livelihood activities that would enable them cater for their basic needs, this is partly due to harmful African traditional norms and myths about disabilities.

This lack of financial resources and dependence on others increase their likelihood of experiencing higher levels and more severe forms of gender-based violence such as sexual assault and rape. There is also limited or a complete lack of knowledge on technology and the use of digital tools.

As the CEO of Association for the Empowerment of the deaf and Vulnerable Persons (AEDVP) I am working with these women and girls on a daily bases, I finds it relevant to economically empower them. Although I launched an initiative to enhance economic empowerment of this category of persons using digital tools, I plan to acquire more skills in this and also introduce this program to many more deaf and vulnerable persons with whom I am working now as a way of reducing this dependency thus reducing or eliminating gender-based violence.

In the community I am continuously carrying out awareness raising especially at the level of families accommodating women and girls with disabilities on issues related to gender-based violence (Types of Gender Based Violence, Causes, Prevention and available services survivors could access).

I have also done a needs assessment for women and girls living with disabilities on their skill development needs and also trained some women and girls on the use of digital tools such as WhatsApp status and Facebook to sell their produce.

  There is an ever-increasing need for skill development for women with disabilities taking into consideration that it’s an important tool used to fight gender-based violence. There is also urgent need to equip more girls and women with disabilities on how to use digital tools to sell their produce.

After several failed attempts to get persons with hearing impairment enrolled at the Bamenda women empowerment center and taking into consideration my post pandemic Vision I decided to start an empowerment center for these persons where their special communication needs (Sign language interpretation) will be met. This Centre caters for women and girls with hearing impairment and any other category of disabilities and vulnerability. At the Centre, the girls and women acquire skills such as production of beaded sandals and slippers, reusable pads, face masks, liquid solid soap and rubbing oil, fascinators, and snacks. They also gain interior decoration skills. Training on the use of technology to access the internet is also being done.

      When I started empowering these girls with these skills about 4 years ago, I was worried about getting a market for the products they made especially because sign language is a barrier in communication. Then the socio-political crises

started and slowed down the economy of the country. It was becoming

very dangerous for them to go about selling their produce. The Covid19

pandemic made the situation worse as there were constant lockdowns

imposed in addition to existing ones brought by the crisis.

I remain very grateful to World Pulse for the feature change maker

program that was introduced from the trainings we received. I launched

an initiative on enhancing economic empowerment of deaf and vulnerable

persons using technology. Through this initiative, I have trained and impacted so many women and Girls with hearing impairment who act as trainers to other persons with disability on how to use labels on their products and sell online Facebook and WhatsApp. I have also made relevant inputs in workshops organized by other collaborators with the same objectives. I conduct online follow-up and trainings via WhatsApp groups and so many persons with disability have gained knowledge on the safe and proper use of

technology which can be applied in their context.

For the women, technology has also been very impactful. It has enables

them to search for more designs and seek ways to improve the quality of

their products. It has also enabled them to market their products and

more visibility improves the sales. Also, more customer relationships have

been created online irrespective of whether they have a disability or not.

Most of these women are now able to save in their village savings and

loan schemes where they meet with other persons without disabilities to

socialize. All this has been made possible by the use of Technological. I

am grateful to World Pulse for all the empowerment workshops and

seminars organized to ensure this initiative is realized.

       It’s been truly challenging but an exciting and rewarding experience both personally and professionally but could benefit more women and girls with hearing impairment and disabilities if everyone gets on board to ensure this vision of economically empowering more women with income generation skills and technological tools is realize.

 Government, civil society and all stakeholders of disabilities should provide more support with assistive technology to compensate different impairments and which are specifically suitable for the different types of disabilities.

They should also we also provide more empowerment on techniques to effectively use technology. Financial and material support is also needed to provide startup capital and to train more persons with disabilities to be able to use technological tools to enhance economic empowerment. This will be a sure way of reducing or completely eliminating gender-based violence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This story was submitted in response to #ShoutYourVision.

Comments 14

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Jill Langhus
May 24
May 24

Hello, Regina, Love,

Thanks for sharing your update:-) I love how passionate and driven you are to help women with disabilities. Keep up the great work, dear! Xx

Regina Afanwi Young
May 24
May 24

Thanks lovely Jill and thanks always for these lovely, kind and motivational words always. Thank you for your mentorship always and all the inputs you have always made to make my work more valuable.
You rock!!

Jill Langhus
May 26
May 26

You’re very welcome, Love! You bet!! I wouldn’t have it any other way, dearie. So do you!! Xx

Veronica Ngum Ndi
May 24
May 24

Congratulations Sister Regina. I can attest the good work you are doing for women and girls with disabilities. God bless you
Love
Veronica

Regina Afanwi Young
May 24
May 24

Thanks so much my beloved. Thanks to you I found this amazing community and am able to do all this because of your lovely and continues encouragement.
Veronica you rock!!!!

jomarieb.earth
May 24
May 24

Dearest Regina,
You are a mover of mountains and you shake things up like an earthquake. You encourage, motivate and empower the physically challenged women in your community. Women with physical challenges need extra everything. But what they give back in return is also extra. They give me inspiration, and so do you. They cannot step up, but the fly instead. You are the wings beneath their feet. Bravo sister. The ROCK STAR continues!
Hugs...JoMarie

Regina Afanwi Young
May 24
May 24

Hello dear sister, your comments always put a bright smile on my face. Your kind words are always a great source of motivation and encouragement. Thank you dearie for your continues love and support to me/ us.
Thank you for your continues support in making me the Rock Star I have become. I love this appellation dearie!!!
You are also the Rock superstar!!!

Susu Mohamed
May 25
May 25

Lovely Regina, How are you doing,
" unstoppable" Your Vision is the future of women Cameroon. wish you all the success.
Much Love
suu

Regina Afanwi Young
May 25
May 25

Thanks so much my beloved Suu for your kind words. I hope you are well and safe.

Olutosin
May 27
May 27

Well done my sister, great work you are doing.

Regina Afanwi Young
May 27
May 27

Thanks sis. You inspire us. I need to get some more tips from you dear sis.

Hello sis you are a mother to the motherless. God will continue to strengthen you and your work.
Hugs

Regina Afanwi Young
May 27
May 27

Thanks dear sister and bless you too.

AMBALAPPILLY
May 28
May 28

Develop an application for online sales of the products developed by them. Sell it online.