World Pulse is an online magazine that gives voice to emerging women leaders around the world. Women write articles on topics affecting their communities in order to mobilize resources to improve their communities and lives. Their readership includes almost 3 million people from close to 200 countries, article contributors come from all over the world, and issues range from women’s health and education to the environment. Recently, World Pulse chose 6 women to honor as Impact Leaders for their work leading grassroots movements with global impact. Our very own Nakinti Nofuru, our project director in Cameroon, was one of the 6 women chosen. We are proud to be partnering with such an amazing woman! Here are some excerpts from the World Pulse writeup.
What is the issue you are trying to solve?
In Cameroon, especially in the rural communities, schooling is not a girl thing. Even if girls go to school, most drop out early – their futures disrupted and destroyed – due to extreme poverty, pregnancy as a result of rape or incest, early marriage, reproductive health issues, STIs, and so on.
I think back when, in spite of a difficult financial situation, my parents saw me and my siblings through school, and I know that, if it were not for their commitment, I would probably be one of those village girls who would be married with at least 6 children and still counting, infected with disease or even dead because of some health related problems that poverty prevented them from addressing.
I want to stand in the gap for these girls and break the cycle of poverty and lack of knowledge. With education and information on how to take care for themselves, they will progress and become leaders in their communities and in the country.
What is your solution?
Locked away from the rest of Cameroon, about 90% of our girls live in places with no telephone network, no electricity, no radio/TV signals, no accessible roads; the list is long. They are not even exposed to the world of NGOs because many organizations are in fear of direct attacks on their staff.
It is for all of these reasons that we launched “Girls Lead” clubs in schools in early September to educate, mentor, and empower young girls in topics they know little or nothing about, such as sex education, menstrual hygiene, the importance of education, and ICT. We knew that paying the school fees and giving them school supplies to stay in school was not enough. We teach them to value education, and inspire them to stay in school and graduate to become leaders by sharing stories of successful women.
We want to serve as role models to these girls and also match them with mentors in Cameroon and around the world. Through these “Girls’ Lead” clubs, the girls have a chance to be empowered and to advance in life.