Empowering Women Leaders: Pearl Foundation's advocates for Equality, End Violence against Women

In an event aimed at empowering grassroots women leaders, female theologians, journalists, and lawyers, Pearl Foundation, with generous support from Brot für die Welt and SA, organized a comprehensive training program on the Maputo Protocol (a critical legal instrument for advancing women’s rights across Africa). 

The event took place on April 17 2024, witnessed over 60 passionate participants gathered at the Hope Baptist Church Ndamukong Bamenda.
The Maputo Protocol, officially known as the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, is an international legal instrument adopted by the African Union (AU) in 2003. 

Its primary objective is to protect and promote the rights of women and girls across the African continent. About some key points on the day's agenda. 

Some articles laid emphasis on the fact that a woman shall have the right to her respect as a person and the freedom to develop. The state should adopt and implement appropriate measures to ensure the protection of every woman's right to respect for her dignity and protection from all forms of violence

Article 4 (2)(d): This subsections highlight how we can actively promote peace education through curricular and social communication so as to eradicate things which would lead to violence against women.

Article 5: Elimination of Harmful Practices:
This article emphasizes the need to eradicate harmful practices such as female genital mutilation, child marriage, and other forms of violence against women.

Article 11: Protection of Women in Armed Conflicts
Women often bear the brunt of armed conflicts. Article 11 aims to safeguard their rights during times of war and unrest.

Article 24: Women in Distress
This article recognizes the vulnerability of women in distress, such as poor women, women family heads from marginalized communities, and pregnant or nursing women in detention.

Nsono Josephine the founder and coordinator of the Pearl Foundation, provided a comprehensive overview of the organization. "The Pearl Foundation is an organization that is dedicated to promoting and protecting the rights as well as safeguarding children who maybe affected in one way or the other in a context of development or in a humanitarian context".

" It was founded in 2018 and the founder having underscored all what she went through as a child, married woman and widow. she couldn't help but to dedicate her time, energy and services to ensure that other children and women especially widows don't go through the same pain."

"And this workshop which is a follow up of the workshop we organised in November 2023, which brought together 50 widows who are suffering from atleast one form of violence especially in the ongoing crisis is intended to create awareness on the Maputo protocol so that women who are vulnerable, women who are suffering can seize this instrument in a law court where constitutional laws are really not helping enough.

The main objective is to increase women's participation in development interventions from a perspective that is informed by their rights and by their full potential as women not because someone would decide for them.but that they can be able to make decisions that affect their wellbeing by themselves."

Among the participants was a male theologian Rev Chinda Leonard the lead Pastor of Power Gospel ministry international. who shared his insights on the standing of the church regarding GBV.

At the level of the church we have been confronted with several cases, and when it comes to the church we are very firm on our stand, the holy Bible which is our code of conduct as Christians clearly stipulates that, husbands should love their wives and you can not be a perpetrator of violence on your wife if you love her.

As the participants return to their communities armed with newfound knowledge and inspiration, there is no doubt that their collective efforts will contribute to a more just and equitable society.

According Hawe Bouba An indigenous women leader.
"Some of us don't know things like this exist and as an advocate without this kind of training we won't have adequate material to help our community so I am glad I'm going back with this kind of knowledge"

The workshop provided a networking opportunity for participants to connect, exchange ideas, and forge lasting partnerships. The vibrant atmosphere fostered a sense of solidarity and commitment among attendees, ensuring that the impact of the training would extend far beyond the confines of the event itself.

By equipping grassroots women leaders, female theologians, journalists, and lawyers with a deeper understanding of the Maputo Protocol, this training program has taken a significant step towards empowering women, ending gender-based violence, and advancing women's rights in Cameroon.

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