By Njodzeka Danhatu
The Executive Director of Reach Out – a humanitarian NGO, Esther Omam has again been recognised for her peace advocacy in less than six months.
This was during a ceremony organised by Lois Foundation and Award in the seaside resort town of Limbe on Saturday, September 11.
The award event was aimed at recognising excellence in different domains in Cameroon.
After having examined those who advocate for peace in Cameroon owing to the crisis in Cameroon’s Anglophones Regions, Far North and East regions, the foundation acknowledged one person who stood out among others.
It is due to her efforts and determination to see peace reign in Cameroon that Esther Omam was awarded as Cameroon’s Best Peace Advocate.
The award is the second, Reach Out’s Director is bagging home in six months after that of the Scoop Media still for her peace Advocacy.
This award symbolises all that has been happening for the past five in the English Speaking Regions of Cameroon – Esther Omam told reporters adding that It is that of sorrow, pains, desolation and destruction.
“This award is about the questions I keep asking myself every day that ‘what did we do wrong? Where did we go wrong? Why are we having so much blood been spilt?’” she said stating that “this is what the award stands for me”.
To her, the award is about the challenges they, the humanitarians, mediators have been going through in their respective communities to bring peace.
“It is not only the pains we face. If it was only that, I also will not be standing here today. It is about the determination to make the wrongs right” she added.
With all that, she is calling on everyone not to relent in whatever thing they are doing. “We instil messages of hope in our children who have been denied access to education, we should encourage those who have been rendered homeless, instil hope in the hopeless so that as we move along in this barrel to inspect peace in the communities, we all will one day sing the song that we were there and here we are today”.
She however dedicated the award not only to her herself but to all those women determining to do it right.
Who is Esther Oman?
Esther Omam, the Executive Director of Reach Out NGO has been at the forefront of development issues, building a culture of peace and rights and conducting humanitarian assistance in the Southwest Region of Cameroon and beyond since 2000. Her activities in the promotion and protection of women and children’s rights took her to the Bakassi Peninsula in 2011. Her endeavours in building a culture of peace and rights in Bakassi made her to advocate for the Bakassi women’s participation in the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Re-unification of Cameroon before the Head of State, diplomatic missions, the international and national Community in February 2014. This request was granted and lead to the empowerment of the Bakassi Women some of who are Senator, and mayors. She became the Peace and Human Rights Champion of Bakassi which earned her an award from the Canadian High Commission, in recognition of her valuable contribution to the protection and promotion of human rights in Cameroon. Since 2016 she has been involved in peaceful activism to mediate to resolve the Anglophone conflict. She is the vision bearer of the Southwest Northwest Women Taskforce – SNWOT and the Vice President of the Southwest Women for Peace and Development Network – SWWOPDEN. She led a delegation of 03 women in the USA to meet key leaders of the NSAG about schools resumption in the NWSW and equally led a delegation of 28 women in the pre-dialogue in 2019 with the PM, facilitated the participation of women in the Major National Dialogue -2019. Esther testified at the UNSC of May 2019 on the Humanitarian crisis in Cameroon.
She most recently received the 2020 peace award in Cameroon for being the pioneer woman in peacebuilding by the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon Peace Office and the Union of Peace Builders in Cameroon. She also got the award of the Cameroon SHERO on COVID-19 prevention this October by the Women in Global Health Cameroon. Esther has gained many other recognitions for her work in the communities and Cameroon as a whole. She was received the 2020 Outstanding Humanitarian, Peace and mediation award by Scoop Media and was a member of the organising committee for the first-ever Cameroon Women’s Convention for Peace.
Esther works with local communities on humanitarian relief, peace and cohesion and her organisation has served over 450,000 displaced persons and persons in need since the beginning of the Anglophone crisis.