ERuDeF Centre for the Advancement of Women’s Initiatives (CAWI), created some 10 years ago has a new product called the Economic Recovery Fund. This fund is the brainchild of CAWI with the vision of empowering displaced women by supporting economic recovery programs for them.
Motivation of the Program.
As a result of the current Anglophone Crisis in Cameroon, hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced from their homes—over 530,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) as of May 2019. Source: WIKILOVES AFRICA. It was anticipated that by the end of 2019, the number would have risen to more than 700,000 as December alone recorded 5,475 IDPs. Source: journalducameroun.com. It saddens to note that among this great number, the most vulnerable and affected are the women and girls. They do not only lose their husbands, but their children too. Some of them are also raped and brutalized.
In the face of this sad reality, CAWI thought of a scheme which could be sustainable and helpful to the IDPs. This led to the creation of the CAWI ECONOMIC RECOVERY FUND (CERF), a scheme which will avail them with livelihood opportunities; a scheme which would provide them with “fishing waters and not just fish”; fishing waters from where they can fish every other day rather than giving them fish that would be consumed just once. In this light, a revolving fund was created in October 2019 to provide start-up capital to IDPs for small business ventures.
How It Functions.
IDP’s are chosen from the data base that is constituted progressively by CAWI agents and invited to fact finding meetings. They indicate their on- going businesses or choose their businesses of interest and CAWI studies the feasibility. When feasibility is ascertained we give them the required capital. This is done under strict official and legal backing. Regular monitoring and evaluation visits are carried out to the various business sites to assess the success and impact of the activities on the lives of the beneficiaries. At the end of a specific duration agreed upon between the beneficiaries and CAWI, the former reimburse the capital interest free after accumulating enough profits to enable them continue the business.
This project has been supported by the Net Positive Impact Project led by Olivier Behra. This organization donated the sum of 1,167,622FCFA (1,780 Euros) into the fund. With the support, CAWI has been able to reach out to many female IDPs in diverse economic activities. Some of these activities include soap production, poultry farming, restaurant business, foodstuff sales, cosmetics, firewood sales etc. We look forward to having more supporters into the fund so as to impact on many more lives.
Impact of the Scheme.
The impact of this Economic Recovery Fund has been far-reaching. The women can now feed their families and provide other basic needs for them. At least, they can be sure of the daily bread and shelter from the proceeds of their businesses. Some of them testify that they make a daily profit of 5000frs. The soap producers don’t only benefit using their own products, but people around them use the soap happily too. In all, over 100 women have so far benefitted from this scheme. It is our wish to reach out to more women as many of them keep knocking our doors for help.
By Mbunya Mary