Field Visit to OVENG Parish: Empowering Widows in the Central Region of Cameroon.

In commemoration of International Widows Day, the Mike Yanou Foundation, along with other dignitaries from the African Widows Summit (TAWS) under the guidance of the Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and the Family, embarked on a field visit to the parish of OVENG in the Central Region of Cameroon. This event was coordinated by Mme Yaah Gladys and Mme Nsen Abeng of TAWS Cameroon, under the theme “Combatting Widows’ Vulnerability: Improving Their Socio-Economic Status.”During this visit, we engaged with over 56 widows and widowers, using a participatory approach to gain insights into their journeys, challenges, and the social and cultural limitations they face.

The challenges encountered by widows especially those resident in rural areas encompass a wide range of issues, such as harmful traditional practices, social discrimination, economic deprivation, lack of access to justice, limited healthcare, limited property rights, sexual abuse, and forced marriages amongst others. Notably, among the participants were two widowers who courageously shared their challenges. They emphasized the need for the Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and the Family (MINPROFF) to provide a guide specifically tailored for widowers. As an organisation dedicated to working with boys and men, we recognized the importance of addressing the unique struggles faced by widowers.

After the insightful session, we visited the sites where these widows and widowers carry out their economic activities, including fishery, animal husbandry, poultry farming, and other agricultural endeavours. Through such initiatives, we aim to empower widows, fostering resilience and promoting economic independence within their communities.