Friday, 20 July 2018



The Centre forAdvocacy in Gender Equality and for Development, CAGEAD, has launched a campaign to bring solace and humanitarian aid to hundreds of internally displaced persons in the North West region fleeing from the ongoing war in the region especially those from restive Boyo and Momo divisions and cramped with relatives in Bamenda.
Thursday July 19 shall be remembered by loveline and her 5 kids for a long time. She successfully fled from the war torn Belo, Boyo division after losing the husband, to death, during one of the shoot outs in belo. Aged 34, Loveline, mother of 5 kids narrated her pathetic story to the CAGEAD team sitting in front of her one room abode at Ntaturu Mankon Bamenda. ”we left our house in Belo to Bamenda because of the ongoing war there. My husband was killed. He took me and our kids to our compound at Acha because he was bereaved at Fuli. Upon his return, I’m told the military mistook his red feather as an Amabzonian fighter. He is a Chindo kom (palace guard) a respectable title in kom. He was shot killed and dumped at koini in Njninikom. We had to run away because everybody was running away.

Thanks to Aunty Brenda we secured this one room at the cost of 6000 frs and have been managing” she narrated.
Empathising with her, Mme Waah Clotilda Andiensa, CAGEAD director coached loveline to be courageous and take on the amour of God to face life challenges. She and volunteers handed over sleeping mattress, rice, blanket, dresses, shoes tea to help ameliorate her living conditions and that of her kids.

According to Quincy, 8yrs daughter of  loveline, life has changed since their arrival in Bamenda. “We use to eat 4 times a day in our house in Belo. Now we eat at most once a day and go to bed without even knowing what to eat next. I want to become a medical doctor in future and I believe that even with the death of my father, somebody out there can still help me to pay my fees, buy my school bag and books to make me attain this dream” she intimated.
Full of tears of joy,  loveline living in a single room with five children said it is a bad experience. “We live on one mattress on the floor. We do not have money to have electricity connected to this room. So far we have received some help from the Catholic Church but this gesture by CAGEAD has greatly changed our lives here. We can now boost of two mattresses and a comfortable blanket to cover at night. I pray God to bless and reward you”.
Like loveline and her children, hundreds of IDPs are in Bamenda and its environs separated from their homes, families and dreams.

Community Conversations: An Innovative Approach to Engaging Communities in Healthcare

      By Andiensa Clotilda (CAGEAD) and Okwen P Mbah, Effective basic Services (eBASE Africa)

Identifying and handling health issues in Cameroon have remained very complex and challenging. An interplay of culture, behavior, and lack of knowledge has made health issues to either have a stigma, taboo or traditional belief associated with it. This has affected demand for orthodox healthcare by community members and more so in villages, rural and Peri-urban areas.
Identifying real health issues plaguing a community is a fundamental step for everyone who intends to carry out interventions in a community. This requires relevant and context-based communication between well-informed decision makers, community leaders, service providers and community members. This communication must be mutual, it must be able to make community members develop a vision, identify a leader and communicate with established authorities. Unfortunately, this does not always happen and as such real community issues, especially in terms of health and other basic services, are usually not identified and so not properly handled. This is why diseases and other related issues still plague most of our communities. Health issues like menstruation, abortions, family planning, HIV/AIDS, epilepsy, diabetes, maternal and child mortality, sickle cell etc are hardly discussed among community members. As such these issues are usually not adequately handled and access to health services is equally very limited.
The Center for Advocacy in Gender Equality and Action for Development –CAGEAD and eBASE Africa have in the last 12 months piloted an innovative approach in community dialogue titled “COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONS” in 14 villages in Boyo division in the north-west region of Cameroon.
Using a theory of change, the project brought together in every village 20 - 30 participants who were selected in an inclusive approach. These provided an opportunity to hold a frank conversation on issues affecting their health and to also propose how they would like them to be addressed. In some instances, we had only women and in some mixed i.e. both men and women. During these meetings, we collected their views on just every health issue they wanted to talk about. The figure below demonstrates how community conversations could change community perceptions and mitigate stigma towards PLWHIV.
Sometimes it is necessary to have separate conversations with women before bringing in the men. This facilitates women to build confidence on issues relevant to women. In our experience, women had difficulties discussing family planning issues in the presence of men. This was so because men will not want their wives to use family planning meanwhile the women wanted to control their births. The reasons for this difference were quite complicated, especially as men believed that family planning causes promiscuity.
Some women were so excited with the meetings that they confessed it was their first time of having a real conversation on issues affecting their health. Most men also confessed that were it not for such meetings they would never understand what their women go through in terms of the health risk as they hitherto associated most of the women’s health issues to witchcraft or taboos.
CAGEAD and EBASE intend to continue these discussions with other communities in Cameroon.