The 08th of March celebrated world-wide as the international day of the woman was equally celebrated in Cameroon. The theme for 2019 was: “think equal, build smart and innovate for change”.
In prelude to the celebration, the Mbororo Social And Cultural Development Association (MBOSCUDA) women of the centre region first organised a round table discussion on women’s rights, gender-based violence and the use of technology for innovation and peacebuilding on Saturday, March 2nd 2019.
On the 8th of March 2019, Mbororo pastoralits and women of MBOSCUDA Yaounde branch gathered in Aurore at the MBOSCUDA office to talk about issues affecting women. This time, it held a round table discussion focused on the theme: “promoting women and gender and land rights for indigenous peoples of Cameroon”.
Introducing the day’s agenda, Mrs Balkisou Buba, a social worker said their main objective of the gathering is to sensitise women on their land rights, to create awareness on gender-based-violence and to find solutions to enhance women’s access to and control over land.
The introductory remarks were followed by a presentation of the legal framework governing land in Cameroon. Mrs Buba talked about the ongoing land reform process in Cameroon and the challenges indigenous women face. She equally cited cases of community land rights violations and forceful evictions that indigenous people suffered as well as cases of women being discriminated in land issues.
Another Mbororo woman, Mrs Hawe Bouba presented a brief on how cultures affect women’s access to land. She did a brilliant comparison of the indigenous communities and some local communities where in the latter women are given land to work and feed the family and when they die the land is inherited by their daughters unlike in indigenous communities where land is the preserve of men.
Her presentation also focused on the history of indigenous land tenure in Cameroon. On this, she discussed colonially inspired tenure administration systems that empowers native authorities to decide on community lands. Though most native authorities in Mbororo communities are men, there is a female authority, Ardo Aisha of Dschang who wields a lot of influence and has control over her community land.
The next speaker Mr Musa Usman, vice president of MBOSCUDA supported her remarks. In his discussion, he saluted the efforts women have been making to advance their rights and urged them to keep up their good works in supporting development within their communities.
Very few Mbororo people have land tittles in their areas of settlement. To combat this, Mr Ndamba told women to educate their family, especially girls. Mrs Aehshatou Manu, gender coordinator for MBOSCUDA supported Mr Ndamba’s motion. She insisted that sending female children to school can bring much benefits to the community.
Mr Ndamba equally discussed initiatives MBOSCUDA have taken over the years to promote indigenous people’s rights and women’s land rights. He cited MBOSCUDA’s engagement in the International Land Coalition (ILC) driven processes such as the National Engagement Strategy (NES) Cameroon, the Rangelands Initiative and the Kilimanjaro Initiative. MBOSCUDA equally contributed to international frameworks that promotes women’s land rights. For example, it actively engaged the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and the Convention of Elimination on all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
Mr Salif Haman, former president of MBOSCUDA Littoral region shared his experience on how Mbororo people can work together for their emancipation. For example, he explained that Mbororo people come together to acquire lands and defend their land rights. He equally challenged the MBOSCUDA Yaounde women to think of innovations that can help them gain increased access to land.
The meeting ended with participants agreeing on the following actions:
- To disallow discriminations between men/women/boys/girls, while promoting equal education and opportunities for all;
- To help girls go as far as they can in education;
- To include women voices in new land laws;
- To advocate for the simplification of procedures for land titling;
- To support Mbororo women access land, document it and develop land use that enables progress; and
- That MBOSCUDA women should open an account in any credit union where they can deposit the money for the land issues.