This 12 month project involves sensitizing 8 traditional societies in Cameroon where harmful traditional practices against women and girls are rife. We intend to eradicate these practices by working with village institutions that perpetuate them. In order to empower victims of these practices, 127 teenage mothers will acquire marketable skills through hands-on training and non-financial start-up support.
In the Mekende tribe of Cameroon, girls are hardly sent to school. Rather, they are ushered into marriage before they reach teen age, and it is common for village men to use their daughters as collateral to borrow money. When these fathers default in repaying, as they always do, their lenders automatically own the young girls in marriage, irrespective of age. To avoid being caught up in this selling spree, these illiterate teenage girls escape to town where they end up as sex workers.
We will mobilize the victims, train them in bandwagon sensitization and advocacy techniques and support them to sensitize their own communities on the issues. To take them out of prostitution, we will also create a skills development centre where 176 victims, all teenage mothers, will acquire training in various trade areas as well as interest-free, refundable non financial microcredit support to start their businesses. Loan repayment will benefit subsequent groups of victims.
Through this initiative, we expect:
1. Community realization and acceptance that mortgaging the girl child is wrong;
2. 80% reduction in the prevalence of forced and early marriages;
3. 80% reduction in the prevalence of other harmful traditional practices against women and girls;
4. Increased enrollment of girls in schools by about 80%;
5. The emergence of vibrant village communities in which the girl child is given the opportunity to achieve her full potential as a human being.