By Andrew Nsoseka
In prelude to the She Builds Peace Campaign, Reach Out Cameroon, on February 9, 2022 launched a campaign in the Southwest regional Capital, Buea bringing together women peacebuilders, to build and support their capacities, in order to enable them play a vital role in the peace process.
According to Reach Out Cameroon, the campaign which is championed by the International Civil society Action Network (ICAN), aims to reinforce and reiterate the critical role women can play in fostering the Women Peace and Security, WPS agenda.
Speaking at the event, Reach Out’s Executive Director, Esther Oman said it was time for women to loud their voices because women have been doing a lot in the peacebuilding process, without recognition, and protection which they need. She said given the various crises plaguing Cameroon, women have pledged to be at all platforms to offer their services and efforts aimed at bringing in the desired peace.
“When we talk about #SheBuildsPeace, it is about that woman, that mother, that sister, who goes out, despite the odds, to give her all, so that violence should decrease, so that history will be looked at for us to pave a better way . We can never talk about peace without talking about issues which led to conflict. We recognise that we have so many issues, we recognise that many people are dying, especially women and children, and that is why we cannot be indifferent, why therefore, should we adopt a narrative which is different from that of women. So we are coming to tell key stakeholders, that it is time to support the women, to protect the women, to fulfil obligations towards women, appreciate all what women are doing, and to support them by every means possible” Omam Esther said.
While stressing on the need to empower and put women on peacebuilding platforms, and processes, Reach Out’s Executive Director said women form the majority, and are still those who feel the impact of lack of peace in the society.
Speaking at the event, the Director of PAIDWA-Cameroon, a peace expert, exhorted the women to project the African way of life, especially community peacebuilding ways into how they go about in search of best ways to bring back peace in affected communities.
The She Builds Peace campaign launched by Reach Out in Cameroon’s Southwest region is a global collaborative campaign to support women peacebuilders to soar, by ensuring their safety and protection, fulfilling obligations to make peace and security inclusive, and appreciating and resourcing the critical work women peacebuilders do to build a future in which all can flourish in.
A note from Reach says since March 2020, over 30 members of the Women’s Alliance for Security Leadership (WASL) across more than 25 countries have facilitated and launched events that promote peace and security.
The peace campaign launched in Buea brought together women leaders in peacebuilding within the Southwest region to create synergy with key government and humanitarian actors that will promote the role of women in peacebuilding within the Southwest Region and Cameroon in general. Cameroon faces instability on numerous fronts, prominent among them, the Anglophone crisis in Anglophone regions, and the Boko Haram insurgency in the North. There are also several tension-building political skirmishes in the country.
Reach Out Cameroon, is a woman-led organisation that focuses on the triple nexus: Peace Building, Humanitarian Relief, and Sustainable Development. Her activities of peacebuilding came to the limelight during peace negotiations in the era of the Bakassi crisis. This has been followed by many peaceful negotiations, participation in peace-building processes.