Together Women Riseis a is a powerful community of women and allies dedicated to global gender equality. They have hundreds of local chapters across the U.S. Members come together to learn about and advocate for gender equality issues, give grants to organizations that empower women and girls in low-income countries, and build community to forge meaningful connections that increase our strength and collective impact. Each month they feature a different organization/project that they feel will be very impactful, and Global Pearls was chosen as their Featured Grantee for July 2021.
Violence and rape against women have long been issues in Cameroon, but child rape has really been skyrocketing since the Anglophone War broke out. Hundreds of thousands of people fled the forest communities to escape the active fighting, and they settled in crowded camps on the edges of towns like Kumba. Our project is designed to change the culture of Gender-Based Violence and protect children from rape through:
- Children will attend week-long sports camps where they will be taught what rape is, how to avoid it, and what to do if they become victims.
- Traditional Cameroonian sports, games, and songs will be used to create a fun and relaxed environment that is conducive to learning and sharing.
- Local radio and TV will air segments on the camps to foster dialog about child rape in the broader community. There will be a minimum of 100 minutes of TV coverage and 45 minutes of radio coverage.
- After the camps end, Girls-Against-Rape (GAR) Clubs will be formed in local schools so the teachings can be spread to more children. This will also create a supportive network for the girls throughout the year.
To spread the impact further, we will also be holding an annual rape conference for women from across Cameroon who have a passionate desire to change the culture of rape. At the end of their training, they will be invited to submit their own project proposals, and each year we will choose three to receive seed money to get their projects off the ground. This first year we chose a project that has creative ideas to engage and educate boys, a second that wants to work with orphans and the staff at orphanages to protect this particularly vulnerable group, and a third that will be speaking in churches and mosques to spread the message through houses of worship. The third team will also work to form relationships with other NGOs so they will have a referral pathway for women and girls who need help.
The competition for these grants is quite intense, as only about 1% of applicants are chosen. We feel greatly honored that RISE chose Nakinti’s child rape project in Cameroon to receive a grant and be featured in July at hundreds of RISE chapters. Together we will take a stand against child rape in Cameroon!
Check out this video to learn more about this exciting project.
Sample of quotes:
- Participant of sports camp: I was raped by my cousin a long time ago. I was afraid to speak out. After listening to the lectures, I feel so guilty. I feel like I did myself and my community a big injustice by not speaking out. At this point, I want to open my own organization in the future to fight against rape. Rape is evil.
- Participant of GAR club: A friend who attended the rape camp told me so many things about it in school. I really wanted to be a part of the monthly club and I urged my parents to go register me at the REWOCAM office. Thank God, I was accepted to attend the monthly clubs. I will use this knowledge to educate my friend in Yaoundé whom I used to blame that her mode of dressing was the reason why she was raped. I will also apologize to her and also assure her that it was never her fault. I wish she was able to attend the club and listen to the lectures herself.
- Mother of a camp participant: I was shocked to hear that my child was raped about 9 years ago. If not for this camp, my daughter would never have opened up to you people and to me. It is so painful but again, I am so grateful that my daughter finally opened up. I think she has found closure and she is now determined to fight this fight in the nearest future. Thank you, REWOCAM, for bringing out the best in our girl children. I have an appeal – can you also teach our boy children about the dangers and the implications of rape? I think this would help in fixing our boys. Thank you so much.