Together for Women and Children (TOWOC)

Cameroon

Introduction

A TOWOC leadership conference

TOWOC was founded by a group of gender specialists, social workers, and young women who were concerned with the plight of the rural communities. Specifically, they were concerned with minority groups such as widows, teenage mothers, displaced women and their families, girls who have dropped out of schools, orphans and vulnerable children as well as HIV /AIDS infected persons in the most remote areas. These groups of people are the main beneficiaries of our programs. TOWOC’s mission is to promote education, health, and sustainable livelihoods.

Projects

a.Volunpreneurs. This project aims at equipping school children with entrepreneurial skills as well as sparking in them a spirit of volunteership and nation building. This project also prepares children to actively take part in entrepreneurship and social change work in future.

b.Starting your own business. This project is an attempt to address gender-based violence. We developed it with the main aim to empower women economically by training them on income generating activities. This is achieved through the use of local materials to produce products that they can easily make instead of buying them.

c.Improving community-driven support systems for total prevention of HIV/AIDS. The project focuses on community-driven actions addressing loss to follow-up on Prevention of Mother To child Transmission (PMTCT), and to keep HIV negative women negative with the aim to mobilize and empower 2,300 families as a way to eliminate HIV/AIDS in the community. People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) will be mobilized, communities engaged, participation encouraged, patient-focused/family-centred care and support initiated, stigma addressed, loss cases followed-up and best practices documented, with outcomes: zero HIV infections in new-borne; reduced maternal deaths; improved capacity of PLWHA to deal with consequences of HIV/AIDS; and reduced loss cases, due to an increase in community uptake of PMTCT services.

Celebrating International Day of the Girl Child 2016

d. Smile again. Smile again is an innovated version of our outreach program targetting orphans, and children in the hard to reach zones. This project brings them education, health and material support. As the name suggests, it is aimed to bring a smile once again to the faces of those who have lost hope of a better tomorrow.

Achievements

  • TOWOC has trained 165 women and girls in income generating activities so far in the Starting Your Own Business This is one way of fighting gender-based discrimination through economic empowerment. Based on this work, we were awarded the prize of best organization promoting SDG 2 during the last edition of the International Youth Forum in Yaoundé under the patronage of the Minister of Youth Affairs and Civic Education.
  • Through our numerous conferences, seminars and workshops we have trained 200 youths in leadership and entrepreneurial skills.
  • Our outreach project has seen many underprivileged kids and orphans have hopes for the future through multiple donations in rural areas and orphanages as well as through our child sponsorship project.
  • TOWOC is also a co-organizer of The Youth Village in cooperation with the Ministry of Youth and Civic Education. This is a platform for youth to showcase their talents and a great opportunity for partnership between youth organizations, businesses, government agencies and international organizations. This is a weeklong event held every year in February at the Esplanade of the National Museum.

Challenges

  • Our main challenge is getting the beneficiaries to work with us. They already have a set mindset about their situation and it is somewhat difficult for them to adapt to new ideas and change.
  • It is also a challenge getting youth actively involved since some of them feel that the government should be doing more to initiate community development.
  • Women face a lot of discrimination based on unfavorable economic status and also because of a reluctance to adopt innovative income generating methods.

Contact Details: Ngala Cyprain Mufor | ngalacyprain@towoc.org

(photos courtesy of TOWOC)