IWD 2024: Plan International Cameroon Champions Girls, Boys in Accelerating Gender Equality

Close to 30 young girls and boys were convened on Wednesday, 6th of March 2024, at the head office of the non-governmental organization in Yaounde as part of activities to mark International Women’s Day come March 8.

As part of activities to mark the 39th edition of the International Women’s Day in Cameroon, humanitarian organization, Plan International Cameroon organized a media corner with close to 30 young girls, boys, and women.

The event that took place on March 6, 2024, at the head office of the non-governmental organization in Bastos, Yaounde was an open discussion for girls and boys who expressed themselves on how to accelerate gender equality at their level.

Discussions focused mainly on the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day, IWD 2024: “Invest in women, accelerate progress towards Gender Equality”.

The media corner which is now a traditional activity inscribed in the agenda of the humanitarian organization, Plan International Cameroon, as a move to impact her influencing activities, has paved the way to another session with amazing stories and best practices from youths invited.

The session anchored by Dr. Eddy Patrick Donkeng, Head of the communication and influencing department and Jacqueline Nkonla, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Lead, took place in the form of an exchange with questions, answers and later came up recommendations from participants.

Clovis Ayuk, country Gender Equality and Inclusion specialist for Plan International Cameroon said the media corner was aimed at thrilling these young girls and boys, to express themselves on the theme of this year and in another way, to partake in advancing children’s rights.

He said: “Plan International Cameroon in its way to accompany the government with regarding the theme of this year, that is: investing on women, accelerating progress towards gender equality, organized this media corner that gathered young girls from different parts of the country… It is very important to get girls and let them involved practically into it. Through this activity, we are trying to get their understanding of the theme and what they can bring in. That is, what they want, what is that action in which they want to invest in, to be able to accelerate gender equality in the country. And of course, based on the recommendations made here by these young girls and boys, we will be able to accompany them and ensure they are taken into account in our programs and influencing activities.”

Going by her experience as a young student who got pregnant in year one of the national advanced school of engineering in Yaounde(Polytech), Vanessa shared her story as one who lost hope at a given moment.

Vanessa said she got pregnant at 20 when she just entered the prestigious school known as Polytech. At her age, she was determined to succeed in her education but with an unwanted pregnancy, her hope was shattered and she wished to abort.

Her thoughts to abort finally faded, thanks to advice and support from her family and some close friends notably boys, she kept the baby and pursued her education.

The 24-year-old student specializing in cybersecurity at Polytech narrated her story during the media corner with great enthusiasm and hope. She said the occasion is well seized to encourage young girls who believe that pregnancy is a fatality and can lead to failure in education.

Just like Vanessa, Aichatou Oumarou who is a trained champion of children’s rights has incited her peers to work hard and never relent.

Speaking to media practitioners, Aichatou 20, said activities of the international women’s day are crucial for young girls who will be the future women of tomorrow and who should be aware of the key role they will play in society.

“An educated girl has an important role to play in the society tomorrow.” She underscored.

Aichatou went further to boost the morale of other young girls and boys present, taking an example of her situation as an underprivileged girl who succeeded in going to school.

Miss Oumarou said she is striving to be among the best thanks to Plan International Cameroon who allowed her to continue her studies and enrolled her into several educative programs.

She narrated: “Whatever the difficulties you face in your life never give up! Always rise and believe in your potential, and say “Yes I can”. Always work hard and when you dream of achieving something in your life, wake up every day with this idea in your mind.”

At the end of the session, the young participants expressed the will to have several other initiatives of this kind to build awareness and encourage parents to invest in both their male and female children.

Let us recall that, since 1996, Plan International Cameroon has worked together with children, young people, supporters, and partners to strive for a just world, where we are all equal. To do that we tackle the root causes of the challenges and inequalities that children and young girls face.

Elise Kenimbeni

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