Saturday, December 5, 2015

UN Sensitizes UB Community on Violence against Women

Family photo after University of Buea  conference on Gender Equality organised by UN Women Cameroon/Photo credit:C. Ambe/The Recorder
By Christopher Ambe      
 The University of Buea (UB) last Friday played host to successful round-table discussion on Violence Against Women, which saw the active participation of not students, the administrative and teaching staff of the Anglo-saxon university but also of students of nearby colleges, as well as women of the Molyko neighborhood.

    The event, dubbed “16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence” had as theme “From Peace in the home to Peace in the World: Make education safe for All”.

    The interactive gender-based round table conference, which took place at the Amphi 250 of UB, was opened by the Vice-Chancellor Dr. Nalova Lyonga, who noted that the whole world is threatened by violence. She regretted that women as well as men perpetuate violence.

    Condemning violence against women, the Vice-Chancellor said that, one in three women in the world will suffer in their life time. She said it was high time gender equality and equity was embraced by all and sundry. The don emphasized that the woman is at the centre of all humanity and human development and must always be acknowledged.

   “Why is it that the world is so happy in causing violence against women?” she asked rhetorically.

    For her part, Madam Moffah Judith, Southwest Regional Delegate for Women Empowerment and the Family, outlined some of the measures taken by the Cameroon Government to promote gender equality and equity as well as to check violence against women.

    Madam Moffah called on female students to take their education more seriously-because a well-educated woman is self-assertive and can defend her rights. She warned female students against “sexually transmitted marks”, a vice that is said to be common in university milieus.

    The Delegate implored the womenfolk to report cases of violence against them to the appropriate quarters for sanctions to be meted out against perpetrators.

     Taking the floor, Julie Mballa, coordinator of the UN Gender Thematic Group in Yaounde, said the UN does much to ensure gender equality in education; that the UN has always been supportive of the Cameroon Government and can only support what the Government. She said UN carries out activities in the field such as training sessions, conducts surveys, work at refugee camps.

Cross-section of female  participants at the conference of  Violence Against Women on University of Buea campus.Photo credit:Chris Ambe/The Recorder
Julie Mballa, who appreciated the active participation of students in the round-table discussion, told the conference: “We are here to collect your suggestions and recommendations to make gender-equality a reality in Cameroon”

    Professor Joyce Endeley, former Deputy Vice-Chancellor of UB, commenting on the topic of discussion, emphasized that, in approaching gender equality in education, there is that great need to accept diversity and difference

“Women face violence but unfortunately the system in which we bring them up makes them more of perpetrators than victims”, remarked Professor Joyce Endeley, who had been head of the Department of Women and Gender Studies, University of Buea.

She opined that all teachers training colleges in Cameroon, for example, should have gender policies.

     Fajong Joseph Lereh, National Communication Expert, UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women( also known as UN Women Cameroon) told The Recorder on the sidelines of the conference:

“We are representing the entire UN System in Cameroon in this activism because the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based violence is a global campaign. It involves the UN System, The Government of Cameroon through the Ministry of Women Empowerment and the Family and through civil society organizations”

     Fajong expressed satisfaction at turnout, noting that   “we are happy that Vice –Chancellor of University of Buea not only opened the discussion, but sat through and actively participated in the discussion”.

It was agreed that cooperation between the University of Buea and UN Entity and should be reinforced.

 Fajong Joseph Lereh of  UN Women (in suit) exhibiting UN books at UB/photo credit:C. Ambe/The Recorder
    Inspired by the lively discussion, the Vice-chancellor appealed to Dr. Christine Abonge, Head of Department of Women and Gender Studies (WGS) of same institution to come up with projects that can specifically address women’s concerns on campus .Dr. Abonge had talked about gender-based violence in University of Buea

   “We are happy that our objectives were achieved”, Fajong told the press at the end of the conference. “We are going back to Yaound√© to inform the entire UN system that we had a successful event”

    The round table was moderated by Zoneziwoh M.W of Women for Action Cameroon (WFAC), which is a UN implementing partner.

    Other highlights of the ceremony included UN book exhibition.

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