World Breastfeeding Week 2009 • 1-7 August 2009
around the World
Breastfeeding Week - IYCF GLOBAL STRATEGY IN CAMEROON
A wide range of resource persons contribute ideas, experiences, technical, material and financial in puts for the success of activities and achievement of IYCF Global Goals. It is for this reason that Cameroon Link action plan touches on varied issues as activities unfold with new strategies applied for greater population out reach each year.
The main areas covered include: Breastfeeding protection, promotion and support, Training on the International Code and Monitoring with emphasis on the application of the Cameroon Code regulations, Advocacy campaign for maternal and child protection with involvement of men and youth, Training on breastfeeding counselling for BFHI and BFCI promotion, Animation of Youth for Breastfeeding Promotion Clubs in colleges, Mapping out of Men's Initiative Groups, Gender and HIV campaign for mainstreaming of activity, translation of World Breastfeeding Week materials into Cameroon local languages for use in community radio stations; capacity development with participation in WABA and IBFAN policy in relation to decision making process. Thanks and gratitude go to WABA, IBFAN Africa, Cameroon Ministry of Public Health, UNICEF and Commonwealth Professional Awards Commission that have been instrumental in giving Cameroon Link a lift in support in various ways.
MAJOR ACHIEVEMENTS IN 2008
WORLD BREASTFEEDING WEEK, OPTIMAL IYFC AND PMTCT
The following results were achieved:
Cameroon Men's Support Initiative Snapshot
By James Achanyi-Fontem, Cameroon Link
Generally in Cameroon, fathers are breadwinners and mother takes care of children and household. This is in approximately 70% of the cases. It is only recently that some house wives are beginning to accept to work like their husbands. Gender equity promotion is getting women to understand that they do not have to be too dependent on the man, though Cameroon is ranked number 103 out of the 115 countries in the Global Gender Gap Report 2006.
Aloysuis joins first-time Fathes' Club.
Men and women need to be well educated on gender issues, especially in the reproductive rights sector for more harmonious families and communities. Parental commitments are not a big issue. As concerns parental education around the birth of a child, only mothers are well educated and prepared during the pre-natal consultation and counseling sessions. This is done in the Mother & Child Care Centres in public and private hospitals. Counselling opportunities are not offered the fathers on regular basis. The number of teen mothers is growing, because girls see pride in early parenthood. The practice of early marriages (12-16 years of age) is rampant in Cameroon.
Men's support groups that focus on parenthood have existed for a long time. The groups main issue is finance/economy. As concerns counseling or other support in connection with divorce, separation, visitation and family violence, this is the duty of the social welfare centres often attached either to the divisional offices or public security department for handling of violence. The divisional office social welfare services handle mother and child welfare issues. Poverty is often the cause of family conflicts and violence, and infants fall victim of this circumstance.
Father-friendly hospital initiative is new and not well developed because there are not enough counselors in the social welfare centers. Most of the counselors are women, who often lack the capacity to convince the men when it comes to behaviour change communication issues. This may also be because there are more serious issues to tackle in the hospitals affecting children between 0 to 5 years.
companies and parental leave, the labour code is respected and parents
are allowed parental leave by companies, though this is very short and
only three days for the men. On the other hand, mothers are accorded
breastfeeding hours in the morning and afternoon.
Profile of Active FECABPA Affiliates
UFAPROD - Mfou
UFAPROD-M is a Women's Community Based Organisation in the rural area of Mfou, some 100 kms from Yaoundé, national capital city of Cameroon. It was created in 2003 and accredited by the ministry of public health in 2006 with a letter of collaboration with special area of intervention being the promotion of infant and young child feeding.
Lucie & Bertrand sharing family task.
2006, UFAPROD-M has participated in all meetings organized at the ministry
of public health for the promotion of breastfeeding and taken part during
the World Breastfeeding Weeks. The organization collaborates with the
Health District of Mfou in planning activities for all the different
mother support groups in Mfou town and its rural surrounding villages.
Every member of UFAPROD has a farm with three or four seasonal subsistence and cash crops. During harvest periods, the crops are deposited at the UFAPROD cooperative at Mfou, where suppliers from Yaoundé City go and collect after buying at reasonable prices. The whole idea of selling through the cooperative is to guarantee price stability in other to avoid any losses by the women. This has created equal opportunities for all women of Mfou, who are now less dependent on their partners.
On the other hand, it is the men who supply the women with farming tools as contribution. Money earned from the farming activities is managed by the women themselves as a means of empowering them and making them less dependent on men.
The administrative authorities, Mfou Rural Council and élite accord substantial aid to the women. The women's group in 2007 benefit from a ministry of public health subvention equivalent to US $ 5000.00 for the expansion of their activities and sensitization of mother support groups for the protection and promotion of breastfeeding.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Embassy accorded the organisation some material assistance, which was distributed to mothers at the Mfou Women's Prison. UFAPROD organizes collection of dresses for children born in prison every six months, when sensitization activities are planned within the prisons setting.
With the introduction of the men's working group into FECABPA action plan, UFAPROD Mfou has started contacts with the traditional village leaders to associate men in their weekly discussions. Due to the time table of the men's activities, meetings are organized twice a month at the palaces of the traditional leaders on how men can support their partners in various ways.
Association de Solidarité de Santé des Femmes, ASSF, of Ngwélé-Bonabéri is a women's counselling and child care organisation created in 2005 after capacity building and gender empowerment training at the Cameroon Link Documentation Centre. The executive bureau of ASSF was put in place by the women themselves through democratic elections. The women undertake activities for mother support and advocacy for the promotion of breastfeeding. Members of the association meet every first Friday of the month from 2 p.m to 6 p.m to learn an income generating trade from a member within the frame work of exchange learning and practical training.
One of the members is chosen to volunteer as facilitator one each occasion and it is all the women who share the responsibility of bringing the necessary materials for the practical session through small donations. Generally a small budget is fixed for the materials and the amount is shared amongst the women equally before collection day. Before the day of the meeting, the social secretary goes from door-to-door to remind the mothers of the time of the trade practical session and the subject that would be treated and discussed, so that everyone arrives prepared.
COGESID Bonamikano & Mambanda
COGESID Bonamikano and COGESID Mambanda are the very first Women Gender Councils put in place in 2003 through the health development initiative of Cameroon Link with the technical support of the Canadian Cooperation in Cameroon. The idea was as a result of a sponsorship announcement by the Canadian Fund for the Promotion of Gender and Development in Cameroon by the Canadian International Development Agency.
First-time mothers during CamLink counselling session in Douala.
As the name of the organisation "COGESID" stands for " Comité de Genre, SIDA et Développement. " The women's capacity building training was organized jointly by Cameroon Link and Consultants of the MASHAV International Cooperation Centre in Haifa, Israel on the invitation of the Embassy of Israel in Yaounde. During the course, women were taught how to operate as a team in collaboration with their partners. They were educated on what gender is and what it is not. The women were taught strategies for preventing themselves against HIV/AIDS and how to become less dependent on men financially. There are currently eight women gender councils in operating with the technical support of Cameroon Link in Bonabéri-Douala. These groups are located Bonamikano, Mambanda, Djébalé, Bonassama-Beseke and Nkoumba, Sodiko, Ngwélé, and Grand Hangar health areas.
Cameroon Link emphasis is on getting the women learn a trade through micro-enterprise creation and management. The training programme runs through a period of nine months with short theoretical and practical thematic courses grouping some 20 to 30 women. Each villages or health area selects 20 women and 10 men for the training, which was spread over a period of nine months covering issues related to gender promotion, HIV/AIDS prevention, Infant and Young Child Feeding, Mother and Child Protection and the organization and management of micro-enterprise. The training is interactive with practical field learning exercises.
Each group is guided on how to develop group constitution and internal regulations before election of its leaders. Cameroon Link also facilitates the legalization process for the groups after elections are conducted for validation by authorities of the public administration and public health.
The idea behind the programme is to get the women learn how to organize themselves, plan their activities, execute them, monitor activities and evaluate the different phases themselves. In short, the women are led to the level of community project ownership.
Some COGESID groups opted to create women's counselling and child care centre after the legalization phase, while other got involved in micro-credit enterprise initiative. These centres operates on daily basis with a team of six women and three men to support them. Some of the women's groups received their implantation seedgrants from the National AIDS Control Committee within the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV project.
Cameroon Link continues to support the groups technically and organizes short refresher training for the groups on demand. COGESID has participated in all World Breastfeeding Week campaigns since their birth. Members make annual contributions for some funding raising activities at its centre. The populations of Bonamikano and Mambanda are attracted to the centres by the health up dates given on weekly basis during counseling sessions. Difficult situation are referred to the Health District Hospitals.
Comité Local de Lutte contre le SIDA, CLLS, of Mambanda is the very first local intiative for HIV/AIDS prevention put in place by Cameroon Link in Bonabéri-Douala with the technical support of the Cameroon National AIDS Control Committee in 2001. Five of such groups were created in that same year in Sodiko, Grand Hangar, Quartier Bilingue, Nkomba and Mambanda. CLLS Mambanda has 50 members who are regularly involved in community health social mobilization and sensitization for HIV prevention.
The groups participate in World Breastfeeding Week activities in their health areas within the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and the promotion of behaviour change communication activities. CLLS Mambanda receives senstization materials through Cameroon Link's Documentation Centre in Grand Hangar-Bonabéri. Mambanda is the most thickly populated health area in Bonabéri with over 25.000 inhabitants.
Cameroon Link WBW Plan of Action (1st - 7th August 2009)
Materials received from the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) are translated for use by community health workers and the local radio stations for out reach
Achanyi-Fontem, Coordinator - WABA MWG
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
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.
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