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So many international days for women celebrated in cameroon, very little impact.

widows_day_049.JPG

I will never stop wondering!

Let's get the list:
-International Women's Day
-International Day of the Family
-International Day of the Widows
-Pan African Women's Day
-World Rural Women's Day
-Day of the African Woman

On June 23rd, Cameroon joined the International community to celebrate the International Day of the Widows.Being a part of this celebration in the North West Region of Cameroon, I felt so sorry for the poor widows on that day. I watched closely on how the events unfolded there at Nsongwa, a village community in Mezam division. Representatives of the Government Ministry concerned were there, NGOs working for widows were there as well. Journalists of some private media also answered present.
What interest me the most was a poem delivered by a daughter of a widow, which i will not be able to recount in her own words. In her poem, she was calling on widows to beware of fake organizations who will come to deceive them in the name of helping them. She said a thousand conferences and workshops will be organized, all in the name of helping the widows, but in reality, it is meant for the organizers to help themselves. She told the women that it is common to see non-widows being heads of widows' organizations, all in a bid to satisfy their selfish desires. The poor widows then will be ignorantly happy that someone is fighting for their sake, not knowing this person is fighting for her/his own sake. I really feel sorry for widows who find themselves in such situations.
Cameroonians are aware of what women go through as widows; the harmful widowhood rites, the stigmatization, the poverty, the loss of family property, the list is long. Why then would some woman/man come in to increase the pain of these group of women. Let's search our consciences and act like humans that we are.
What angered me most was the poor organization of the conference. The conference which started at 10:00 in the morning closed around 4:00pm. Nothing was provided as meal/drink to the poor widows who gathered at the beautiful Nsongwa Conference Hall, not even 25FCFA to buy the cheapest pack of cookies. I wonder what the organizers were thinking. However, in the end, each widow was given 1 laundry soap, and 1 cup of salt, amounting to about 400FCFA (less than 1 dollar). Thank you Government Ministry concerned/organizers, and NGO partner for this wonderful provision. The widows of Nsongwa (who made up the majority), and other villages, as humble as they are appreciated the gifts. The struggling widows of Nsongwa, on their part, provided boiled corn and groundnuts to everybody present. Participants swallowed the corn in under minutes, showing how hungry everybody was. Thank you very much, my Mamas" from Nsongwa, you are all true mothers, mothers who understand families must feed.
The question is, what was the impact of this celebration? Was it to come and show the poor widows all the beautiful cars/dresses owned by the officials present? I still cannot understand the logic behind such celebrations.
I wasn't present at the celebration in Momo Division - North West. I heard an NGO named IVFCam did a wonderful job there. I hear the widows were well taken care of there by IVFCam. Thank you so much for that in that part of the region.
The bottom-line is, we should give these days the significance that they deserve.
This has been my worry.

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String's picture

Thank you

This is one of the first journal entries I read upon joining World Pulse and wanted to come back and thank you for the insight you have provided.

String

Nakinti's picture

Thank you too dear!

String dear,
I am happy a journal entry inspired you to come back to world pulse. World Pulse is an amazing circle of wonderful women who are using the power of the spoken/written word to bring about change. I am hoping that u also take some time to post some entries so that other women will be inspired just by reading it. My dear, welcome to World Pulse. Enjoy!

Nakinti B. Nofuru
2013 VOF Correspondent
Reporter for Global Press Institute
Bamenda - Cameroon
Email: nakinti@globalpressinstitute.org
nakintin@yahoo.com

Dear Nakinti,

I am particularly impressed with your story because this is something which has never crossed my mind though I have been in the social development sector for years now. You are so very right- what is the use of observance of such days when the thrust line isn't the women who are supposed to benefit?? And what is the meaning of all the workshops and seminars development agencies hold, when the beneficiary doesn't get much out of it?

Thanks for sharing:)

Love
Urmila Chanam
Bangalore
India

It takes just one to change many

Nakinti's picture

You are right!

Urmila dear,
I love the way you coined such celebrations - "Celebrations for celebrities"
That is the right phrase to use in describing such senseless celebrations.
Imagine how an International Widows Day will in principle become International Celebrities' Day.
You know what happens on such days? The focus of assistance is tilted from the Widows' to the resource persons.
Each resource person, sitting on the high table is given an envelope (called in Cameroon Perdiem). And they claim it is money for petrol he/she used in coming to the occasion.
Now, imagine that a widow was given an equivalence of less than 1 dollar, and a resource person was given an equivalence of between 10 and 20 dollars. How sad. Does this make sense?
I am tired of all the rubbish.
May God help us.

Nakinti B. Nofuru
2013 VOF Correspondent
Reporter for Global Press Institute
Bamenda - Cameroon
Email: nakinti@globalpressinstitute.org
nakintin@yahoo.com

Amei's picture

Sense and senselessness

I cannot express in words how I feel about your article. Urmila is correct in stating "celebrations for celebrities'. Your reply to Urmila just makes me speechless. I am glad your have written this and shared with us. Some of us cannot imagine things like this happens.

I hear more rubbish from around the world. People who have some consciousness just wonder why such things happen. The more I read I hear all sorts or sad stories and unjust. I hope things will positively change sooner than later... It is time for a harmonious life.

May The God help us.

In friendship,
Amei

Amei's picture

Sense and senselessness

I cannot express in words how I feel about your article. Urmila is correct in stating "celebrations for celebrities'. Your reply to Urmila just makes me speechless. I am glad your have written this and shared with us. Some of us cannot imagine things like this happens.

I hear more rubbish from around the world. People who have some consciousness just wonder why such things happen. The more I read I hear all sorts or sad stories and unjust. I hope things will positively change sooner than later... It is time for a harmonious life.

May The God help us.

In friendship,
Amei

Leina's picture

Thank you sis,my heart bleeds

Thank you sis,my heart bleeds when I read such stories!where then shall the down trodden go to,if NGO s are doing what we criticize the government for doing.I feel really sorry for these widows.Thank you for raising such an important issue.Cameroon needs many more journalists of your kind!

Wendyiscalm's picture

THANK YOU FOR YOUR HONESTY

Hi Nakinti,

First thank you for your honesty. Of course, you are very discouraged and frustrated I imagine. The question becomes, what can we do together, you, me and others who want to become involved to begin to change this and to verify it by a different better conference next year? I am interested in your response and ideas on this.

I work in Livingstone, Zambia. have a small NGO. I am there a lot. I find the more I do and the more other NGO's do, the more they expect from us "foreigners". The adults, women included, do NOT help each other. They have become so dependent on "receiving". While different from your situation, in a way it is similar. I think the complacency bothers me most.The NGO's for the most part are "ego" trips for the people who run them. There is little sustainable progress but I am making sustainable, if small, progress.

My email is headingforgreatness@gmail.com. I am in Chicago, Illinois USA and leave for Zambia again August 29. Please may we have a dialogue about this.

Ubuntu (I am who I am because of who we are together),

Wendy Stebbins

Wendy Stebbins
Founder/CEO
I AM ONE IN A MILLION Non-Profit Organization focused on helping street orphans and vulnerable children in Livingstone, Zambia Africa.

Wendy Dear,
There is nothing i like more than honesty...thanks for acknowledging my honesty. I know you are an honest person too.
I am more than frustrated and discouraged at the money thirsty nature of some people. The common man/woman suffers while they use their big names to oppress and blindfold them. Poor widows/women have become victims of circumstances. Women's empowerment has turned into something else. People are using the term to fill their poor pockets.
My dear Wendy, I need to sensitize these women on how to thread with caution. Poor widows need nothing more than happiness. They need to come together on days like these and share something with fellow widows, learn something about their plight, and also share experiences, so that they will learn from each other. Messages should focus on how to put an end to some cultural practices that endanger their lives. I am just sick for a change. Every day i think of how to come up with an organization that may make a change for poor and ignorant women in my community. Enough is enough. Advocacy should go wide and effective.
Poor women are locked in a poverty circle, to the extent that they depend on outside assistance for survival...else they will perish in pains and suffering. It is not their fault to an extent, it is the situation in which they find themselves. But i am happy for the Women of the North West in Cameroon, they are very active women. They are hardworking. They are making use of the soil/agriculture to make money for their families. I am very proud of them. Even though I Come from the South West Region of Cameroon, I have come to admire women of the North West region.
I am glad to know that u are making progress in what you do. You are obviously one of the few women who care about others. We should serve those we working to serve, not get ourselves rich from the grants intended for some group of persons.
I wish i could meet u in person. You have inspired me greatly. I wish i could learn from what u are doing over there in Zambia. Keep up the good work dear. You will receive your blessings.I must say i am pleased to know you.
Wendy dear, thanks for making my day. I wish u well in all your endeavors. I am hoping to read from you again. I will send this same mail to your mailbox just to make sure of your email.
Thanks a million.
Lots of love,
Nakinti.

Nakinti B. Nofuru
2013 VOF Correspondent
Reporter for Global Press Institute
Bamenda - Cameroon
Email: nakinti@globalpressinstitute.org
nakintin@yahoo.com

Nakinti's picture

My dear sister!

Yvonne dear,
The country is getting worse everyday. Women are being played upon like fools. Sad enough they don't even fully understand what is happening. I feel for them...honestly. I feel like telling them what is happening to them....how they are being used. NGOs have become a lucrative business for many..how sad.
I feel like crying my sister. We need Gods intervention.
Lots of love sister,
Nakinti.

Nakinti B. Nofuru
2013 VOF Correspondent
Reporter for Global Press Institute
Bamenda - Cameroon
Email: nakinti@globalpressinstitute.org
nakintin@yahoo.com

Amei Darling,
Things like this happen in Cameroon, and many other third world countries. Worse things even happen. Words are not enough to express the actual situation in Cameroon. I am hoping for a miracle to happen. I need to see people making use of their consciences. Thank God for World Pulse, we are able to know things that are happening in different areas of the world. Too sad.
Thanks a lot for reading my post dear.
Lots of Love,
Nakinti.

Nakinti B. Nofuru
2013 VOF Correspondent
Reporter for Global Press Institute
Bamenda - Cameroon
Email: nakinti@globalpressinstitute.org
nakintin@yahoo.com

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