Gender Based Violence (GBV) disproportionately affects women and girls, and in situations of displacement, their risk of exposure to GBV increases. Cameroon Youths and students Forum for Peace (CAMYOSFOP), is committed to continuously reinforce coordination and programmes to protect women and girls from GBV. In partnership with UN Women, CAMYOSFOP organized two caravans to sensitize women, men and youth against the stigmatization of HIV/AIDS amid COVID 19 in the Mbororo and Pygmy communities of Mandjou and Mayos, East Region, Cameroon.
Activities that mark these events were a match pass, sensitization talks, counseling/screening and traditional dances. They were talks made on the prevention of HIV/AIDS encouraging the two communities to abstain or better still use preservative like condom during sex intercourse to avoid contracting the virus and stop stigmatization and discrimination of HIV/AIDS amid the COVID-19 pandemic facilitated by Makia Frida. The presentation on understanding the impact of Gender-Based Violence (GBV), especially stigmatization, presented by Ndjeuya Celestine a social worker focused on encouraging women to speak out against any form of violence especially rape and physical violence. According to feedback from the community members the act of rape is mostly perpetuated by young boys of age 15 and above.
“This morning a mother of over 70 years was raped at about 5am by young boys”, Gbassolo Sidonie, Pygmy Community narrated CAMYOSFOP. When asked what the community is doing to address this issue their response was “nothing”.
These communities were urged to regularly check their status. How the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS can be strengthened, and strategies on mobilizing community members on the fight against stigmatization in the aforementioned communities.
Mandjou and Mayos communities face numerous challenges like education, health, infrastructure, development, vulnerability and accessibility is also a cause for concern, given that it is found in one of the least developed regions in the country. The poverty level in these communities is high and greatly affects youth and women living with HIV/AIDS, victims of gender base violence thus causing an increase in the consumption of drugs.
These are vulnerable communities with very strict cultural and gender roles especially in the Mbororo community where women are expected to be wives and mothers and nothing else. This reduces their ability to work and earn an income. These women are subject to the decisions of their husbands, which can constitute severe emotional and physical abuse. It is for this reason that CAMYOSFOP and UN Women saw the need to build the capacity of women in these communities financially. Jamila Manou, Mbororo Community expressed gratitude to CAMYOSFOP and UN Women stating that they are making profits and progress hoping that the partnerships continues.
Thus we advocate for adequate resources to increase the implementation of quality specialized programmes for women and girls especially in the pygmy and Mbororo communities.
According to reports gather from some women though not ready to talk for fear of the unknown, some gathered the courage and talked about the abuse they’ve experienced physically especially rape and child marriage. A case in point is in Mayos where majority are married before the age of 15 and have multiple children as well as raped. Desma Olinga tells a story of a girl raped, bitten and soil pour into her virgina after being sexually abuse by the rapists. She added that after some days the victim felt sick and was rushed to the hospital as a result of an infection and the soil not being properly washed out. It is in this light, CAMYOSFOP and UN Women organized a caravan to sensitized women, girls, youth and men against HIV/AIDS stigmatization, GBV, Drug abuse, and trained key leaders of Associations of Women Living with HIVAIDs on micro project and financial management and also provide funds for the implementation of income generating activities to boast their