•What are your challenges and barriers to creating change in your community?
Striving to change reproductive health habits is not easy, first I’m not a professional just someone trying to raise awareness and circulate information. Sexuality is not the easiest thing to talk about but it’s so important, especially when we look at the figure of HIV/AIDS.
The populations who really need all these information rarely have electricity or water, can barely read or write and live in very remote areas. This is the first challenge how to do I get information to the right target population?
I live in a multicultural background; there are more than 250 ethnic groups in Cameroon, this makes communication around social change a very big challenge. People have different values beliefs and systems but the PATRIARCHAL system is dominant, and this has created a sort of uniform believe that women are inferior to men in all things and are just good for making babies. It is rather shocking that in the 21st century there is such a strong stigma on women who can’t bear children (sometimes it not even proven that they can’t). Being a woman is my greatest challenge, because when I seek to just educate people ask me if I’m married, if I have children, what does my family think or I’m just asked to shut up that women know nothing.
•What are some of your present solutions to overcoming these challenges and barriers?
Patience and determination are part of my solution. I still do believe that a great journey starts with one step, I talk to people everywhere I can in the taxi, at the bus station, I start by opening a discussion on this or that sexual behaviour, and try to know how aware they are, the I can give them the information I want to share. Knowing that after a heated discussion they will tell someone on their way back who will tell someone and I never forget to give them the address of CAMNAFAW (it’s a local NGO which works on reproductive health issues) in that way I’m at least sure that someone might end up there to seek more information and professional counselling.
•How do you currently use, or see the possibility of using, PulseWire and other online communities to overcome these challenges?
I want to use Pulsewire to raise awareness on a particular behaviour which has been giving me much worries, but I’m still preparing my paper on that gathering data is far from easy!