VSO has been operating in Cameroon since 1998. VSO Cameroon’s focus is to increase the power of disadvantaged women to demand and access growth-oriented economic opportunities and quality education and health services.
Cameroon is rich in natural resources and has a relatively diversified economy and a stable government. At the same time, 40% of Cameroonians (and growing) live below the poverty threshold. The country is unlikely to meet any of its Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
Cameroon’s Growth and Employment Strategy Paper emphasises decentralisation to create space for “gender integration regarding women’s participation in decision-making and consideration of gender-specific needs in designing local development plans”. Significant support at all levels is required for this to happen in practice.
Vision for the future
We believe that targeting rural women is the most cost-effective means of addressing poverty issues in the long-term. This is why VSO Cameroon has identified and is implementing key activities to support its objectives:
Women’s decision making – To increase women’s participation in decision-making in the household and wider community
Women’s health – To empower women to take informed control of their own health, and to demand increased access to better quality maternal health provision
Women’s economic power – To increase women’s economic power through enhanced business development, improved business management skills, and access to markets and financial services
Education for women and girls – To support formal and informal education for women and girls through enhancing inclusive education communities and adult literacy programmes
We aim to increase the ability of communities to support their most vulnerable members. In this respect, VSO Cameroon makes specific efforts to include women with the least power, those that are ethnically marginalised or suffering from physical disabilities and mental illness.
How we work
To achieve our aims, VSO Cameroon adopts the ‘cluster approach’, where a team of volunteers with specific, complementary skill-sets work collaboratively to address the multiple-capacity needs of a range of partners. They also provide opportunities to work more flexibly, tailor support to each partners’ needs, and work where they can have most impact.
VSO Cameroon has a strong reputation for providing skilled professionals to build organisational capacity and support effective service delivery. Our new approach provides our partners with a complementary, multidisciplinary team of volunteers with a range of technical expertise related to the issues confronting rural women.
We hope to see all stakeholders including the government, civil society, the private sector and the grassroots communities in Cameroon, work together to ensure that gender is at the heart of all interventions in health, education and livelihoods.
Get in touch with VSO Cameroon at:
BP 25127-Messa, Yaounde, Cameroon