Queens for Peace
This project seeks to increase and support the capacity of the Queens for Peace International networks to advocate for change in attitudes towards violence against women (VAW), harmful practices, discrimination and marginalisation. It contributes to address two key problems, which if not solved will contribute to the continuation of the use of harmful practices, an increase in the gender gap and promote discrimination of women in the Central Africa sub-region, namely: (1) the widespread use and entrenched customs and traditions; and (2) the fact that legislation in the region not fully prohibits harmful practices and violence against women. Thus, the Project seeks to work against harmful practices and values, to advocate for the implementation of the draft Family Code in Cameroon, which would prohibit harmful practices within the country, and to speak of the knowledge of women’s human rights within traditional and religious institutions.
Women struggle each day to find sustainable sources of income to make ends meet, the farm-schools run by WAA seek to break this cycle of poverty. The participating women are supported in re-asserting their economic rights and to become pro-active participating citizens in the social, economic and political development of their communities. This is done by:
Increasing the participants’ income through the production and sale of farm products; and
cost.Providing sustainable means of generating income, which can be multiplied and expanded at a low
This project is currently active in two locations in Cameroon, in Yaoundé and in the northern region of Cameroon. In Yaoundé the participants focus on poultry farming and mushroom cultivation, and in the north 50 Mbororo women are focus on fruits drying and mushroom cultivation.
The participants take part in trainings on farming and basic business skills, and they are supported in reaching out to suitable markets. The project has so far been successful in empowering women to sustain their families and eventually keep their girl children in school. Thereby adding to the work to counter harmful practices in the communities were the participants live.
How Does the Project Work?
The QPI educates the wives of traditional rulers to advocate for their communities particularly on women and girl’s rights, the abandonment of harmful practices and values and the promotion of positive and empowering values and practices.
The Project emphasises constructive engagement between national actors and financial stakeholders who should ensure that the action is aware of shifts in the priorities among government bodies. For this purpose the target Groups and local actors that are engaged with through the Project are: male traditional leaders and Community title holders; members of the QPI; legislators; senators; and municipal
councillors. These target Groups represent different types of local leadership and traditional institutions that has influence on the implementation and operationalisation of women and girls’ rights.
Does it Work?
The simple answer is YES! The Queens for Peace International initiative stems for the Queens themselves and is therefore more likely to have a substantial and sustainable impact at the local level as well as nationally and internationally.
The initial stages of this project has showed that when leaders of traditional institutions are sensitised and empowered, they become leading agents and champions against harmful practices and values as well as discrimination against women and Girls. The QPI network can be a veritable icebreaker in efforts to redress existing gender gaps in traditional institutions when they are empowered. By using the QPI network and the Connections it has provides for addressing the needs of women even when they are unable to speak for themselves in relation to legal, political and economic authorities and decisionmakers.
The QPI engages through regional as well as national meeting. Where regional caucuses seeks to engage with as many women as possible in order to forward their wills and ideas. The national meeting is a platform for Queens from across the country to interact and develop work plans for their communal work. The QPI has already adopted a joint National Action Plan, which is scheduled to be revised during a national meeting by the end of 2015 or early 2016.