The international community today is faced with a global burden caused by the COVID-19 Virus. This disease has become a pandemic affecting countries worldwide.
The situation has not been much different in Cameroon. With over 74000 infections and over 1150 deaths more than half of which occurred during this first quarter of 2021, measures to curb the spread of the virus are being tightened. In the Northwest and Southwest regions of the country, the spread of the virus compounds on another challenge, an ongoing conflict that has since 2016 left the regions economically and socially devastated.
RuWCED Cameroon in the context of a UN Trust Fund funded project is contributing to these solidarity efforts. In 11 of the 13 villages of Ngoketunjia Division of the North West region, RuWCED has so far in 2021 reached out with COVID-19 personal protection materials to 156 women groups including groups of persons living with disabilities and indigenous communities. These materials among others have so far included: 140 pieces of 60- and 40-liters adapted buckets with taps, 3000 facemasks, 810 hand sanitizers, 850 Madar liquid soap and 20 packets of over 7000 male and female condoms. The 11 villages in which these materials have so far been distributed include; Babungo, Baba I, Baligashu, Baligansin, Balikumbat, Bambalang, Bamunka, Babessi, Bamali, Bafanji, and Bamessing. Two village, Bangulan and Bamumkumbit are yet to be reached and we look forward to meeting the various vibrant women groups in these villages.
In the shadows of this twin crises of COVID-19 and conflict, not everyone has flown as an IDP or a refugee. There are still communities, women, youth, and children holding on to themselves and trying to be as resilient as they can. Solidarity is needed to support these communities and most especially women, girls and children.
One facemask may appear affordable to a person living under normal circumstances. However, when the same person has to brave the effects of economic, social and security vulnerabilities imposed on them by a conflict, a single facemask, proper handwashing hygiene coupled with basic education on social distancing measures can make an important contribution in curbing the spread of COVID-19.
For women groups who meet on a regular basis to pool together resources either in village savings and loans or to collectively work together in farming groups or socialize and learn from one another, supporting their resilience strategies during such complex times is pertinent. RuWCED Cameroon in the context of a UN Trust Fund funded project is contributing to these solidarity efforts.
It is incredible what these women groups are doing to stay resilient under the weight of this twin crises of COVID-19 and an ongoing Conflict. Looking out for one another, supporting group members who are surviving various forms of violence by offering their shoulders for these sisters to lean on, when no other one in the community can, is one of the many strengths that local women organizing offer towards achieving resilience and the development of , strong and vibrant women.
Together we can make a difference!