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Cameroon: UNDP’s COVID-19 community response boosts rural women in East region

Women in the locality of Garga Sarali, Ngoura sub division in the East Region of Cameroon have armed with the necessary economic tools which will help mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 in their community.

The women, among them refugees from the Central African Republic, were offered seeds on Tuesday, September 15 which they are now set to plant in their farms as they look to become economically independent.

The seed-donation exercise is part of a one-week COVID-19 mitigation and resilience training program organised by the United Nations Development Program in collaboration with other partners.

“This project is part of UNDP’s drive to support the government of Cameroon in mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 not only in big cities but equally in local communities. Our aim is to beat poverty in these communities and this is the start of several projects in Ngoura and we are working with the local council to improve on agriculture so as to economically empower the community,” Jean Vincent Gweth, UNDP Project Coordinator said.

The Divisional Officer of Garga Sarali distributing the seeds offered by UNDP

For one week, over ninety women were divided into three groups with each being trained on the production of soap, hand sanitisers and garri, by facilitators from the Support Service for Local Initiatives and Development-SAILD.

The women undergoing the training were all selected from the nine neighbourhoods of Garga Sarali and are expected and the end of the exercise to go back into their communities and train their peers.

“We are delighted with the seeds that have been distributed to us here today and I have also learnt a lot from the training we have received. Personally I look to put to practice everything I learnt here. I want to be able to produce my own garri and look forward to sowing these seeds in my farm. I have children and grand children I take care of so I have to double efforts to take care of them, so training like this will help me engage in large scale production so that I can be able to send them to school,” Boula Cécile, one of the beneficiaries from the training said.

The women being trained on the production of soap

Launching the training program at the community hall, the Divisional Officer of Ngoura, Essouma Zoa Sébastien Lavenir thanked the government, UNDP and partners for choosing his locality to launch the pilot phase of the project. He urged the beneficiaries to take the training serious because the exercise will help improve on their living conditions.

“The entire world is fighting against COVID-19 and you are privileged to be trained on how to produce your own hand sanitizers which will help protect yourselves from this deadly pandemic. I want to see you put to practice what you have learnt here,” the Divisional Officer told the women.

He also stressed he will be joining the UNDP evaluation to come back in the months ahead to ensure the women have actually planted the seeds which were given to them.


Published on 03.01.2023

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