Members of the MenEngage Network in Cameroon have elected leaders who will be representing the organization in all its activities in and out of the country.
The election of members was held during a two-day Annual General Assembly of the Network that held in Buea on January 27 and 28.
It was organised by a Cameroonian Community Centred Non-governmental Organisation based in the Southwest Region, Reach Out. Present were other 28 member organisations.
Aside from the election that held on day two, the members, during the AGA, were drilled on policies aimed at restructuring the Network to better serve communities. The essence was to see how to properly address issues related to sexual and reproductive and rights of all – that is Gender Justice for all, good parenting among others.
According to Reach Out’s Executive Director, Esther Omam, the network has undergone restructuring after they discovered that members were not so committed into the network’s work.
“Recently, there has been a kind of re-energising spirit because we try to galvanise the spirit which we have about the network and other members and because of that we find all of them here today,” she said.
To Omam, the discussions at the AGA testified what Civil Societies should be – “a civil society which is accountable to its peers, transparent in its dealings and fulfils, compliments government actions on the ground and addresses issues of policies.”
The members were called to shun hatred and work to promote each other’s in other to better serve the people for whatsoever project that is to be carried out.
Talking to the press on day one, the Project Coordinator of MenEngage Cameroon, Euckaria Nkengafack said their aim this year was to use gender transformative approaches to promote human rights and gender justice.
“We know that if our activities are gender transformative in nature, then it’s going to bring about sustainable solutions,” she said adding that they are not only building a network but also want to build a network in quantity and quality, with good structure and good system, working with the principles of MenEngaged Africa, MenEngage in general.
The 28 Civil Societies drawn from the Northwest, West, Southwest and Littoral Regions of Cameroon were schooled on the values and rules that bind the Network. They were reminded of the objectives of MenEngage and lectured on strategies that will be implored to fulfil them.
According to Peter Fongeh, Chairperson of MenEngage Network Cameroon, the organization wishes to get men to advocate for issues many African men still consider taboo – such as gender equality and sexual reproduction rights like abortion. Manoeuvring the participants through the objectives of MenEngage, Fongeh believes that gender equality should be a collective endeavour involving both sexes.
“It was an opportunity for me to engage the 28 members that were present from four regions of Cameroon on the four levels of advocacy, be it community activism, creative activism, and other aspects like focus group discussions and other means they can use in reaching people in the society, and how they can get men and boys involved for gender equality…,” he said.
MenEngage is an international network of over 700 civil society organizations working across 70 countries in 8 regions of the world, who implement, research and advocate for gender transformative approaches to engage men and boys in advancing women’s rights and gender justice for all.
According to Euckaria Nkengafack, Coordinator of MenEngage Cameroon, it started in Cameroon in 2017 and has grown into 28 member organisations from four regions of the country. She said their goal is to build a larger network that is inclusive of everyone in society.