Home » Reach Out organises Peace Forum to chart pathways for social cohesion in conflict-affected communities

Reach Out organises Peace Forum to chart pathways for social cohesion in conflict-affected communities

by Atlantic Chronicles

Ministers, Reach Out, Women peacebuilders among others

By Njodzeka Danhatu

Reach Out Cameroon, a non-governmental organization headquartered in Buea, organized a Women, Peace, and Security Fair, an Open Day Forum for Women Peace Leaders, on Wednesday, June 19,  to chart pathways for improved social cohesion in conflict-affected communities, increase the participation and representation of grassroots women in decision-making structures and peacebuilding initiatives, and adopt the commitments made to foster peace and social cohesion at the national level.

The event was attended by the Minister for the Promotion of Women and the Family, the Minister of Culture, the Representative of the Prime Minister, and 158 grassroots women peacebuilders, diplomatic missions, and UN agencies, among others held at the National Museum in Yaoundé.

Minister of Women Empowerment and the family among other women take a walk

Minister of Women Empowerment and the family among other women take a walk

This is the first time such an event is being organised in Cameroon aimed at bringing meaning to the peacebuilding work that NGOs, women, and other civil society members have been doing in Cameroon. 

“Today, we gather to celebrate a momentous milestone—the successful localization of peace hubs in four of Cameroon’s conflict-affected regions of the NW, SW, West, and Littoral—and to build on the vital commitments taken during the 14 peace tables held at divisional, regional, and national levels.” said Reach Out Cameroon’s Executive Director, Esther Omam.

The forum also brought together women leaders and men-leading organizations from the 10 regions of Cameroon committed to promoting the WPS agenda to showcase their works.

The commitment to build a peace hub was made possible thanks to the unwavering support of Canada, through Global Affairs Canada, which provided the funds for the project and the many other initiatives implemented by women peacebuilders.

Through that, the women have shown collective commitment and engagement to foster an inclusive environment where women’s voices are not only heard but are integral to shaping the peace and security landscape in Cameroon. 

The localization of peace hubs strengthens communities, ensuring that solutions that empower women and girls to take up leadership roles in decision-making structures and push back on all forms of violence against women and girls are rooted in local realities and sustainable practices. This is what we need, and this is how it should be, as statistics have demonstrated that where the bottom-top approach is applied, good governance is assured because the needs and interests of the people are factored in all programming.” Said Reach Out Cameroon’s Executive Director.

Minister, Reach Out Director look as woman exhibits her work

Minister, Reach Out Director look as woman exhibits her work

She said their peace tables have provided a platform for meaningful dialogue, bridging divides, and fostering understanding. Because of that, they have highlighted the unique perspectives and invaluable contributions of women in peacebuilding efforts. As a result, 300 grassroots women from 30 peace hubs in 40 conflict-affected communities have been transformed to champion the narrative of peace through dialogue in their respective communities. 

These grassroots women, Esther Oman said, are the unsung heroines, the invisible faces stabilizing communities through their relentless efforts. 

She, however, urged for the continuous support of such initiatives to ensure that they remain vibrant spaces for collaboration and change. 

“Together, we can build a more peaceful, secure, equitable, and inclusive future for all,” she said.

As part of the implementation of Resolution 1325 coupled with the restitution of the work of the 68th session of the United Nations on the Status of Women (CSW68), Reach Out uses the forum to bring women leaders from the conflict-affected regions of the Far North, the East, the North West, and the South West together to commune and share best practices with their peers from the Center, West, Littoral, South, North, and Adamawa regions. The Director, while thanking the diplomatic missions, INGOs, institutional donors, traditional rulers, local council authorities, regional assembly authorities, organizations of persons with disabilities, IDP representatives, and our own very grassroots community peace hub leaders for being present, Esther Omam, said the event was an opportunity to garner national engagement and extract pledges of commitment towards the implementation of Cameroon’s Second National Action Plan on 1325. 

“We must seize this opportunity to mark our names on the sands of time by building alliances, networks, and connections that will indeed give women the voices and spaces they deserve,” she said.

“Collectively, we must commit to advance the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda in its diversity, including its application to disaster risk reduction and the eradication of all forms of violence against women and girls, especially conflict-related sexual violence. We must engage women, men, and girls in our communities to be agents of change through dialogue because there is nothing as good as when two sisters or brothers come together to sort out their differences in a peaceful manner,” she added.

Reach Out Cameroon is a women-led organization headquartered in Buea, South West region of Cameron that supports marginalized women, youths, children, and other vulnerable groups on health, human rights/government, and economic security through a community-centred approach and advocacy. 


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