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Ntankah Village Women Common Initiative Group: A Model for Rural Women


A Model for Rural Women s Empowerment By: ... Education/ rights sensitization Local-to ... of skills to community members Self-esteem fostered through: ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Ntankah Village Women Common Initiative Group: A Model for Rural Women

Ntankah Village Women Common Initiative Group
A Model for Rural Womens EmpowermentBy Sasha
  • Research Question What strategies does Ntankah
    employ to empower Cameroonian rural women? How
    does the group promote and create the conditions
    necessary for rural womens empowerment?
  • Presented at the Making Equal Rights Real
    Conference, May 1, 2010 , McGill University

Cameroonian Rural Women A Disadvantaged
  • Higher rural poverty rates
  • Women earn 50 less than males
  • Trapped in the informal sector of economy
  • Oppressive socio-cultural traditions
  • Lack of political representation (only 9)
  • Lack of access to resources and information
  • HIV/AIDS prevalence rates twice as high among
  • Landlessness

Empowerment Conceptualized A Literature Review
  • Empowerment Defined
  • A process (rather than a single intervention)
  • A goal involving an increase in agency, power,
  • A Multi-dimensional Process
  • Internal (ie personal transformation/
    self-esteem) External (ie structural barriers)
  • Strategic gender needs (ie structural root
    causes of womens subordinated status)
    Practical gender needs (ie basic and immediate
    human needs) Moser 1989
  • Stages of Empowerment
  • Position of oppression ? Conscientization ?
    Political action ? Change Carr 2003

Womens Groups in CameroonNew Empowerment
Approaches Needed
  • Work of Cameroonian womens groups often not
    comprehensive enough to meet both the practical
    and strategic gender needs outlined by Moser
    Fonjong 2001
  • While the level of poverty among women has been
    reduced as a result of NGO work, there has been
    no real change to their subordinate status, and
    therefore, more measures are needed to tackle
    the root causes of gender inequalities and remove
    barriers hampering womens involvement Fonjong

Case Study Is Ntankah a model?
  • Selection of case study International
    recognition participatory strategies evidence
    of success (meeting both practical and strategic
    gender needs)
  • Data collection
  • 48 Interviews (semi-structured individual focus
    groups) with group members, group leaders,
    project supervisors, local leaders
  • Program Observations

RESULTS Ntankahs Strategic Empowerment Approach
  • Focus To improve the long-term socio-economic
    conditions of members in particular and women in

ACTIVITIES (Targeting both practical and
strategic gender needs)
Practical Gender Needs Strategic Gender Needs
Educational workshops Group farming Retail products (soap-making etc) Njangis savings Funded Projects i) Environmental Protection (cane rat piggery) ii) Cassava and maize mills (Village Pride) Education/ rights sensitization Local-to-local dialogues Emotional support peer learning Advocacy initiatives (ie WLLA, home-based care) Test case litigation Community service orphans/ AIDS/ widows Male partnerships
RESULTS Ntankahs Strategic Empowerment Approach
  • Activities target practical strategic gender
    needs and out of these flow internal external

Internal Transformation External Transformation
Self-esteem fostered through participatory strategies environment where everybody feels valued safe space to share Rights-Awareness (active claiming Improvement in emotional well-being Application of skills learned Farming improved More self-sufficient Networking with other womens groups (CAGWEESA) enables peer learning and increased mobility Self-esteem/Confidence gained to confront husbands, challenge gender roles in household, take matters to court Change in husbands attitudes Females elected to traditional councils for 1st time Re-teaching of skills to community members
  • Resources
  • Lack of finances (to apply skills learned/sustain
    certain activities)
  • Lack of adequate farming technology (tools,
  • Low prices received for produce
  • Environmental
  • Poverty (prevents some women from participating)
  • Long distances (to farm, market, cassava mills)
    Bad roads
  • Conservative forces
  • Organizational
  • More Follow-up on training needed
  • Punctuality
  • Some members not as committed/active
  • Director plays too much of central role
  • Governing structure
  • Illiteracy not being tackled
  • Corruption accusations gossiping

Lessons Learned
  • Empowerment Process
  • Dynamic nuanced non-linear Womens
    empowerment is an on-going process that must be
    achieved via multiple routes, on multiple
    different levels, and by engaging multiple
    different actors
  • Importance of education (knowledge
    transference/conscientization) self-esteem
    collective action
  • Diversified range of activities needed to tackle
    practical/strategic gender needs and to
    effectuate internal/external change
  • Possible outcomes self-esteem, self-sufficiency,
    and gender equality

Lessons Learned
  • Self-esteem
  • Pivotal to the empowerment processas an end in
    itself, and also a means to spur external change
  • Self-esteem building should be a specific target
    in empowerment initiativesKnowledge
    transference/conscientization/ awareness futile
    without self-esteem
  • Self-esteem building is a slow process
  • Other lessons
  • Education/sensitization can increase civic
    participation (women began actively claiming
    rights once they were sensitized about them)
  • Peer support function of community-based womens
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