“Women have the right to benefit from forest resources and participate in forest decision making processes while at the same time bearing the duty to protect the forest,” notes Cameroon Gender and Environment Watch’s project leader Sevidzem Ernestine Leikeki.
Cameroon Gender and Environment Watch (CAMGEW) organized a workshop on 12 December 2020 to share CAMGEW’s experiences in empowering women on forest conservation and keeping forests standing for the present and future generations.
Held at the CAMGEW office in Bamenda, the workshop presented best practices developed by the non-profit in women’s forest rights and looked at ways to encourage local and national actors to mainstream women’s rights in environmental action plans. It also sought to engage more women and girls in forest action and build consensus around a new women’s rights and environmental justice initiative in the surrounding Kilum-Ijim forest. Bringing together stakeholders from the civil society, media, forest institutions, government agencies, local government, traditional authorities, community women, and the private sector, the participatory consultation aimed to empower women to protect the forests. As a result, key stakeholders have jointly endorsed a working document and provided technical insights for the implementation of the women’s rights and environmental justice project.
The intention behind this initiative was to showcase women’s role and equal participation in forest conservation and management reaffirming:
• The right to benefit from the forest
• The right to take part in protecting the forest
• The right to search for alternative sources of livelihood to protect the forest
• The right to raise awareness about environmental issues
• The right to promote environmental solidarity
• The right to help others benefit from the forest
• The right to be part of forest decision-making processes
• The right to their customs, tradition and beliefs about the forest
• The right to keep and use their indigenous knowledge that protects the forest
• The right to a healthy environment
This workshop coincided with the 20th anniversary of the Security Council resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. It is symbolic as the resolution reaffirms the critical role of women in development cooperation and humanitarian response, a key aspect of which is how effectively natural resources are managed.
The event, funded by the Global Greengrants Fund, also ran in parallel with the UN’s ‘’Orange the World Campaign’’, the 16 days between 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and 10 December, Human Rights Day, known as the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence . CAMGEW is proud to have been part of the campaign empowering women to realize their rights for forests.
For more information, please visit www.camgew.org and please check out the video featuring Sevidzem Ernestine Leikeki, CAMGEW’s project leader: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TD5Ljp7brgY.
Cameroon Gender and Environment Watch is a partner of the Biodiversity and Ecosystems Network (BES-Net) engaging in the programme’s Francophone Trialogue process and working to translate the findings from the IPBES assessments into action for biodiversity and conservation on the ground in Cameroon.