By Njodzeka Danhatu
Rural Women in Cameroon’s Southwest region have been urged to take advantage of the pilot groups in the Region under the Ministry Of Women Empower and the Family, in collaboration with NEPAD, and SOWWYAB-Net as implementing agent, whose aim is to train women and youths on how to transform their small farms into agri-businesses in the wake of climate era.
The called was made by the National Coordinator of Gender Climate Change Agriculture Support Program GCASP, Dr Margaret Likowo Agbaw Niger-Thomas, in a one day training workshop organised by Southwest Women and Youth Agri-Business Network SOWWYAB-NET.
The event which took place on Saturday December 29 at Scandivania Hotel in Limbe, held under the theme “Awareness Creation, Experience Sharing and Identification of Coping Mechanism for Small Holder’s Farmers on Climate Change”
According to the National Coordinator of GCASP, the program now requires action thereby drawing the attention of Southwest Women. “They may not have known, the program has been in an incubator, they should take advantage of it. They are the people who work in the farm, plant and go to the streams when their farms dry up. They should come to the Ministry Of Women Empowerment And The Family and know about these pilot groups”
The seminar had in attendance, small scheme holder farmers drawn from the six Divisions that make up the Southwest region with Fako and Meme Divisions piloting the affairs.
Mrs Juditha Moffah, Southwest Regional Delegate for Women Empowerment and the Family said, they were privileged to have a GCASP project in the Southwest region with rural women as beneficiaries. “From what we have seen, women are hardworking and they are doing a lot of agricultural practices, they have farms, poultry, fish ponds and others. Now that climate change has come in, it is affecting the women and they need training. That is why we are very, very grateful for this GCASP project”
SOWWYAB-NET has as objectives, to create awareness amongst small holder farmers on climate change and climate-smart agricultural practices, present a platform for experience sharing of ideas amongst the small holder farmers on different climate-smart agricultural practices and technologies that mitigate the diverse effect of climate change, ensure women, youths and other vulnerable groups of small holder farmers are institutionally strengthened to practice climate-smart agriculture and develop entrepreneurship skills.
Madam Lekumze Celine, SOWWYAB-NET Coordinator for the SW stated that the organisation started in 2015. “From the beginning it was not easy because people believe that nothing good can come from Southwest and that everything they start in Southwest is always a failure. We believe in ourselves that we can make it. If other people can make it in other regions, why not Southwest?, now we have many registered organisations, we have associations and cooperatives and we equally have CIGs that are registered under SOWWYAB-NET”
The Southwest Region to Dr Margaret Likowo Agbaw Niger-Thomas, was selected alone without a merger considering that there are five pilot regions in Cameroon. The Region is now plagued by insecurity, but she insisted that women need to work during hard times if not starvation will come. “This program could have been cancelled in the Southwest because of the crisis. Despite the crisis, we are eating. We want to train them to produce with very little space.”
The GCASP was created in 2012 but started it implementation few years later. “With regard to climate change since we started this program, and to be honest, it is now that we are starting the implementation. In Cameroon we are meant to cover ten thousand rural women, youths and vulnerable groups within the agricultural sector and this is the first implementation.”
“SOWWYAB-NET should not only think of theory. All the paper work has been done and what does NORAD want to see? they want to see output.” She added saying that it was time for action.