The government of Cameroon with the support of the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP has offered start-up materials to over 512 young girls and rural women of the Center region, recently empowered in petty businesses and agriculture.
On Wednesday, July 26, 2023, the locality of Okola in the Lekie division of the Center region played host to the handing-over ceremony of start-up materials to 512 young girls and rural women.
The beneficiaries who are mainly trainees of the women’s empowerment center of Okola and members of female associations based in Okola and other localities of the Center region were officially celebrated in a move to mark a 3-week training program initiated by the women entrepreneurship facilitation network, WEFN and financed by UNDP Cameroon alongside the government.
The ceremonial ground of Okola was chosen to host the event with a series of keywords from officials. The Mayor of Okola, Vincent de Paul Noa opened the floor with positive remarks calling on UNDP Cameroon to continue replicating such activities in rural areas for the well-being of people living at times in precarious situations.
Dubbed: Operation one woman, one enterprise, the handing-over ceremony was chaired by the Divisional Officer of Okola, Alain Christian Olomo who acted as the main representative of the Minister of Women’s Empowerment and the family.
In his address, the Divisional Officer of Okola saluted the efforts undertaken by the women entrepreneurship facilitation network which has for the past years engaged itself in the empowerment of young girls and women and helps in one way or the other to curb unemployment in the rural milieu.
Mr. Olomo also praised the United Nations Development Programme which grants the necessary tools and resources to better the living conditions of populations. And called on the beneficiaries to make good use of the materials.
Speaking to highlight the initiative that has the unction of UNDP and the government, the President of the Women Entrepreneurship Facilitation Network, Aminatou Moun in her speech said her association offers opportunities to young people and women who have potentials but seek for means to develop them.
She also traced the balance sheet of her association that conducts socio-economic activities nationwide for the betterment of young girls, women, and vulnerable groups’ living conditions.
Madam Moun recognized the support of UNDP, the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Regional Development, the Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and the Family as well as that of Youth Affairs and Civic Education, and other government ministries which have impactfully supported her initiatives, and have brought several women and young people to dream of a better future.
Apart from young girls and women, she mentioned the fact that the WEFN has collaborated with the government in a massive registration campaign to freely deliver birth certificates to some 17.500 pupils of classes 5 and 6 (CM1 and CM2 in the francophone sub-system of education) who were to sit for the First School Leaving Certificates and competitive entrance examinations in the Center, South, West, East, North, and Far-North.
One of the female beneficiaries of these materials thanked UNDP for putting women under the spotlight.
Delphine Maïbatching, native of Mbandjock, a locality of the Upper Sanaga Division reputed for farming activities said with the newly acquired grinding machines, the association of women to whom she belongs, will easily transform cassava products which are their main source of income and livelihood.
In his opening remarks, Deputy Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme in Cameroon, Alassane BA first praised the fruitful and long-standing collaboration established with government officials during his stay in the country.
He appreciated the activities covered so far by UNDP and the government, and the entire population for all the nice moments spent at home. As he leaves for another duty station, Mr. BA is convinced Cameroon has recorded strides and will still register giant steps in its development drive agenda notably with the 2030 National Development Strategy, NDS30.
Mr. BA said: « In the last four years, we have been able to create jobs for 9,000 women and youths in the country in diverse domains like vocational training to ensure youths personally start and run programs, and venture into entrepreneurship. UNDP will continue working with Cameroon and Cameroonians in the continuation of the implementation of the 2020/2030 National Development Strategy plan by making it in such a way that youths and women continue benefitting from opportunities offered by the institution to facilitate the activities of their livelihoods. »
The trained and empowered beneficiaries were offered sewing machines, grinding machines and a good number of farming equipment.