Partner in focus – NADEV
NADEV have been an All We Can partner since 2006. They work to improve the socio-economic status of vulnerable women in Cameroon and raise awareness of women’s rights.
Women’s rights in Cameroon
Most women in Cameroon have limited opportunities to improve their lives. Widows and single women are especially vulnerable, with many having to provide for themselves and their dependents on less than 60 pence a day.
Widows also often have no voice in decisions affecting their lives, especially issues of inheritance and property. This is due mainly to ignorance but also stigmatization as widows are often accused of witchcraft practices and blamed for their husbands’ deaths. Some widows are exploited by male members of the community, or turn to prostitution, exposing them to the increased risk of HIV/AIDS.
Ma Qui’s Story
When Ma Qui’s husband, Godlove, died eight years ago she struggled to support her nine children. As the sole provider for her family she had to take on many jobs to keep afloat.
Our partner NADEV came to her community and Ma Qui was identified by her neighbours as someone who could benefit from their support. After receiving free small business training she was able to take out a small loan of 50,000 CAF (approximately £64) to develop her own business as a seamstress. Ma Qui now has her own shop, buying and selling cloth and also designs clothes.
Image: Ma Qui stands outside her shop with her son Elvis. © All We Can/Maurice Adams
Micro credit is one of the most important elements of NADEV’s project. While offering women an opportunity to get their businesses off the ground, the scheme also emphasises the responsibility to repay the loan, ensuring that each woman is committed. This also means that as the original start-up funds are repaid when the new businesses are flourishing, more women can benefit from the scheme.
After four years of business training Ma Qui has been able to establish a business that provides her income to be so she is able support her children through school and university. She is now also a proud grandmother.
Passing on the message
Ma Qui is now using her personal experience and role as an elder in the local Presbyterian Church to help other widows in her community. When the National Widows’ Association asked her to be a Regional Chair she accepted and is now responsible for seven groups of 250 widows. The groups collect information on the effects of negative traditional practices on women and their families as well as receiving training and support from NADEV.
NADEV understand that to create sustainable change they have to tackle discrimination at its source, involving both women and men as part of the solution. The programme staff spend time speaking to community elders through a process they call ‘sensitising’, where they speak about the importance of women’s economic and political rights and how this can benefit the whole community.
Methodist President visit
In September 2013, Methodist President Ruth Gee visited NADEV to learn more about their work. Reflecting on her trip Ruth said:
“It was wonderful to see people living and working within their context. I met All We Can partners with skills, with compassion and with commitment. It was good to see this partnership working and as a result lives being transformed.”
“Mr Folefac Vincent Anu, the Director of NADEV, is a kind and considerate man. I was impressed with his understanding of the country, of the people and their needs and particularly how he has designed and managed the NADEV project. He has shown long term commitment to his work in Cameroon and appreciates the long term commitment shown by All We Can.”