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World Breastfeeding Week  

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WBW Celebrations in Cameroon

Cameroon Link


Cameroon Link

Cameroon Link is a national registered charity, not-for-profit organisation involved in the promotion of health development, communication and human rights advocacy.

It was founded by a professional dialogue group of communication specialists, journalists, health and social welfare workers, following the crucial lack of good circulation of information on health development policies with special focus on mother and child care, social welfare issues, infant feeding and food-self sufficiency in Cameroon. Its current activities focus on women and child rights as an activist and advocacy networking group. 

Cameroon Link was established on the 9th September 1991 and officially registered on the 23rd November 1992. It is the focal point for the Federation of Cameroon Breastfeeding Promotion Associations, FECABPA. With its endorsement of the initiatives of the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) and the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN Africa), the team leader of Cameroon Link was elected to chairperson position of FECABPA on the 14th September 2007.


In accordance with the decision taken at the end of the preparatory meeting of WBW 2007 held on the 11th July 2007 at the conference hall of the Department for health Promotion at the Ministry of the Public Health in Yaoundé by Associations/NGOs involved in the promotion of health and development, the “Federation of Cameroon Breastfeeding Promotion Associations” abbreviated as “FECABPA” was found.  FECABPA’s action is centred on the promotion of nutrition and especially Infant and Young Child Feeding.

 Programme of  WBW 2008 in Cameroon

- 1st August 2008 - Launching by S.E. The Minister of  Public Health in Yaoundé

- 2nd August 2008 – Media campaign on the importance of 2008 WBW Theme,  The  decree

   N° 2005/5158/PM of 01/12/2005 on the marketing of substitutes of the milk. Distribution of translated materials in local languages to community radio stations.

- 3rd August 2008 - Social mobilization & advocacy for mother support in work place - Edéa

-4th  August 2008 – Organisation of educative talks for mother support groups on breastfeeding in the cntext of HIV/AIDS (WHO/UNICEF Up Dated Recommendations in Douala). Distribution of sensitization CD-Roms to media houses for specialized programmes.

- 5the August 2008 – Training and Vulgarisation of the main points on the type of support that breastfeeding mothers merit from fathers and youths.

- 6th August 2008 – Community Education on risks due to the use of the  artificial feeding  for the child and the mother.

- 7th August 2008 - Organization of a Conference on the Code Monitoring in Cameroon  during open day of  FECABPA  at Cameroon Link headquarters in Grand Hangar-Bonabéri – (Douala City Neighbourhood)


WBW 2008 Plan of Action

 Men and Youths’ Involvement for Mother Support & Maternity Protection 

  • Project Duration: Four Months (June 2008 –  October 2008)
  • Execution Organization : Cameroon Link
  • Contact Person and Title: James Achanyi-Fontem, Coordinator
  • Project Sites: Yaoundé, Edéa &  Bonabéri - Douala,
  • Postal Address: P.O. Box 1460 Douala  Littoral Province, Cameroon
  • Physical Address :   Bloc 5 Grand Hangar, Bonabéri  (Nouvelle Route)
  • Tel : (+237)77 75 88 40  Fax : (+237)33 39 13 56
  • Email: camlink2001@yahoo.com

2. Project Background

In Cameroon, culture rules that the man supports the family and be served by the woman. On the other hand, the woman’s low social status is reflected in various aspects of her live, such as education and health. The Cameroon woman lacks decision making power and faces discrimination, suffers more from poverty, lack of education and limited income-earning opportunity than the man.

The woman’s reproductive cycle is made up of puberty, period, sex, pregnancy, birthing and breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is a reproductive health right, thus factual information should be made available to all women through community support initiatives for appropriate and adequate infant and young child feeding.

 3. Situation of Community Mother Support in Cameroon

The community mother support initiative is a continuing enhancement and development of the idea of social mobilisation for involvement of different target groups, in an effort to protect, promote and support breastfeeding throughout the Cameroon. The initial idea was derived after the 6th IBFAN Africa Regional Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2003. This led to the formation of the first Mother Support Groups.

Following the participation of Cameroon Link during the Midwives’ Training on the promotion of the BFHI in Swaziland (2006), contribution to the preparation of the Mother Support Summit in Chicago, USA (July 2007) and participation at the 7th IBFAN Africa Regional Conference in Maputo, Mozambique (August 2007), new developments and orientations have led to the expansion of mother support and integration of two specific target community groups in breastfeeding mothers’ support activities.

The role of women has broadened considerably and encompass much more than home and family. This expanded role strengthens the need for networking, its value, and its effectiveness.  Many women today do not have a network of support to call upon. Extended family members are not necessarily close geographically, so women rely on non-family members and, when available, on technological innovations such as the telephone and Internet.  

The involvement of men and youths in community mother support activities aim at creating an enabling environment where men and youths, particularly fathers, participate actively in and share responsibilities with women in optimally caring for their infants and young children, through advocacy, education and capacity building.

4. Breastfeeding Protection and Promotion

  • The Breastfeeding rate in Cameroon remains low by statistics put   at 24 % compared to other African countries.
  • The new community target groups have not been integrated in ante-natal, delivery and post natal services interventions and parental education in Cameroon.
  • Profiles need to be developed which will provide a global snapshot of men’s and youths’ involvement in the feeding and care of infant and young children.
  • There is need to disseminate specific knowledge about the advantages of father and youth involvement to all parents.
  • There is need for linkages with related target groups: mother support groups, men’s support groups, and youth support groups.
  • There is need to advocate for better legislation in support of maximum participation of the community in child care and parenting
  • Community mother support initiatives would act as a stimulus scaling up Baby Friendly Community Initiative (BFCI) globally.

5. Men and Youths’ Involvement

Men and Youths’ Involvement is any support provided to mothers for the purpose of improving the practice of breastfeeding for  the two:  mother and infant or young child. Needs of a  mother for breastfeeding support are similar to needs of an Olympic  athlete. Athletes combine the determination and commitment with the support of family (including youth and father), trainers, members of team, and the government. The mother that breastfeeds needs similar support.  Collective consistent efforts of all youths and men are also necessary for achieving exclusive breastfeeding during the first 6 six months as a means of protection of the health of the mother and the child. `Decent work' agenda in Cameroon where the needs of mothers providing care to their fellow human beings are neither recognised nor protected.

The implementation of the Cameroon national code published in December 2005 is slow and has led to all sorts of interpretations by companies manufacturing and distributing infant formulae.  Continuous advocacy, training and social mobilisation of men and youths for involvement through social mobilisation mass events in Yaounde, Edea and Douala, educative talks, Radio Quiz and monitoring has been planned for achieving behaviour change communication within the communities.


  • to increase the awareness of need for and the value of male and youth to provide  support to breastfeeding  mothers.

  • to disseminate information updates on mother support for breastfeeding practices through  men and youths’ involvement activities.

  • to create optimal conditions for the provision of support to mothers by men and youths.

  • Advocate for the integration of mothers’ care work as real work into the analysis of work by mainstreaming statistics, economic analysis and social policy

7. Specific objectives : 

  • To inculcate the mastery of basic principles of  breastfeeding protection and promotion

  • To advocate for gender equality and women's empowerment through government’s increased allocation for gender-sensitive polices and programmes.

  • To  promote Baby Friendly Community Intiative (BFCI) through Men and Youths Involvement

  • To Vulgarise the main points on  the support  that mothers merits from their partners;

  • To create  fathers’ and youths’ support groups within the communities for BF promotion and protection.

  • To educate youths and men on the risks of artificial feeding for the child and the mother, by training journalists  on code advocacy and monitoring strategies.

8.  Results awaited

Men and Youths  appropriate and own breastfeeding activities through involvement in the World  Breastfeeding Week Campaign 2008 and BFCI in Yaoundé ;

  • Male workers of three health facilities (Mambanda, Bonamikano and Bonendale) are sensitized on the Global Initiative for Father Support (GIFS);

  • 50 Counselors for Men and Youths’ Involvement are trained in Grand Hangar;

  • 1.000 mothers, 500 fathers, 200 youths are reached through WBW 2008 mass eventsg and educative talks in the health district of Edea ;

  • The media (radio - tv and newspapers) are used as tools for community outreach on the involvement of men and youths for mother support; More articles are published and more programmes are produced on radio and television.

  • Youths Social mobilisation conferences are organized in colleges for students of examination classes.

  • 100 First-time fathers are  counselled on their roles within the framework of the global initiative of father support (GIFS) ;

Resource Persons

President - James Achanyi-Fontem of Cameroon Link (Douala)

Vice President - Mrs Odette Etame of NOLFOWOP (Yaoundé)

Secretary General - Mrs Suzanne Messe of Alternative Santé (Yaoundé)

Deputy Secretary General – Maurice Ewane  of Santous 2000 (Edéa)

Treasurer – NGWANOU Daniel of Step Ministry Cameroon (Yaoundé)

Communication Officer: Tsenou Martine Yolande -CAMNAFAW

Commissioner of Account N°1 - WANGO Magdalene of Cameroon Midwives Association (CMA) Yaoundé

Commissioner of Account N°2 - Tchamkou Mathilde of ASSF (Douala)

Adviser N° 1 – Daniel Sibetcheu, Director for Health Promotion (MOH)

Adviser N° 2 – Georges Okala,  Sub Director for Food and Nutrition (MOH)

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WABA: Protects, Promotes and Supports Breastfeeding Worldwide The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) is a global network of individuals and organisations concerned with the protection, promotion and support  of breastfeeding worldwide. WABA action is based on the Innocenti Declaration, the Ten Links for Nurturing the Future and the Global Strategy for Infant & Young Child Feeding. Its core partners are IBFAN, LLLI,  ILCA,  Wellstart International and ABM. Find out more at the WABA website.