By Sandrine M.
As the first National Women’s Convention for Peace kicked off today in Yaounde, women from different parts of the country have kept their expectations high as to the outcome of the conference.
Being the first of it’s kind bringing women from different sociocultural backgrounds the expectations are high since over one thousand women are joining their voices to talk peace.
Manka Tabuwe is a member of the organising committee and she thinks that with such a powerful gathering of women, greater things can be achieved in the country.
“The conference is about building harmony between Cameroonian women. Let the Francophone woman not think that the Anglophone crisis is the Anglophone woman’s problem and vice versa. As women, we are all hurt and if we can support one another and speak for one another, then we can achieve greater things”. She said.
Haissatou from the North Region of the country says her region faces insecurity issues and hopes that the conference serves as a stepping stone to the restoration of peace.
“At first we weren’t informed about our rights, women were traumatised, manipulated, exploited but with time, women now know their rights. We are using various media to clamour for our rights. Today its the first convention on peace. We hope that from this convention, a new and truthful peace will be born that Cameroonian women are clamouring for”, she said.
A peace advocate, living in Yaounde, Prudence says the conference is timely and hopes that the purpose is achieved.
“It is a step and fulfilment for women to make a concrete action in terms of change and security. We all know that in any conflict, women are victims. We should all rise up. Women are the ones who give life, they are the ones who equally make sure that life has to be nurtured or has to be replenished and when we see our husbands or children, dying because of greed or conflict, that pains us a lot. Our hope is that our cry is heard and the peace we have been seeking for restored”, she noted.
To Rosaline Akah Obah, Coordinator of the Cameroon Community Media Network, CCMN, a network of peace Journalists, the conference should serve as a platform for warring parties to give women the opportunity to make peace between them.
“Women and girls in Cameroon have been the highest victims of conflict in Cameroon. Coming together under the first ever national convention, I expect to see women leave the convention with burying their differences, complement each other in their peacebuilding actions on the field. This entails, synergising for sustainable peace and justice, having one vision rather than working in dispersed ranks. So many women have been outstanding in their actions towards building peace but I think, much can be achieved as a united body to chart a new road map for peace. I also envisage an inclusive approach towards peacebuilding, with women especially focusing on being intentional in their actions in peacebuilding. I also look forward to the warring parties giving women the opportunity to broker peace through ensuring a conducive atmosphere for genuine dialogue with relevant parties in conflict especially in the ongoing crisis in the North West and South West Regions”. Rose told Insight244.
Evi Claire, representing Common Action For Gender Development says she looks forward to a document that will outline women’s role in peace building.
“I expect that at the end of the #cameroonpeaceconvention, we the women of Cameroon from the North, South, East and West for peace will bring out a strong working document (policy brief) like that of the Geneva convention where others can refer to which clearly states women’s role in peaceful process and an the action plan for Cameroon peace process. I believe United as women in our diversity is the strongest task force to push the peace agenda. Us women in our intergenerational mix saying, one thing is enough to break any glass”.
Although so many women are attending the conference with high enthusiasm as to the outcome, some are lukewarm. A host of others have taken on the social media questioning the aim of the conference amongst others.
However, it is hoped that the conference serves the purpose for which it has been previewed and lasting be brought back to the country.