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Support to CSOs in Councils on G RB

REPORT OF SUPPORT GIVEN TO CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS
OPERATING IN THE PILOT COUNCILS WHERE THE PROJECT ON
PROMOTING GENDER RESPONSIVE BUDGETING (GRB) SPONSORED BY
THE EUROPEAN UNION (PASOC) PROGRAM WAS IMPLEMENTED IN THE
SOUTH REGION OF CAMEROON IN 2011
PRESENTED BY:
MUNICIPAL DEVELOPMENT COUNSELLING (MUDEC) GROUP-BUEA
SOUTH WEST REGION OF CAMEROON
DATE: 19/07/2013
The Introduction:
The project on promoting the institution of Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB) in
Councils of the South West Region was sponsored in 2011 by the European Union
Program known by its French acronym as PASOC. During the implementation of
this project, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in pilot Councils where this project
was realized received institutional strengthening support from the implementing
organizations. These organizations were led by Municipal Development Counseling
(MUDEC) Group and also included the Youth Alliance for Democracy and
Development (YADD), the Nguti Women Foundation for Change (NWOFOC) and the
Center for development (CADEV). This support included directives on identifying an
issue and how to bring about change in policy in their Council areas and
communities by standing for that issue. The various steps in mobilizing the public,
networking and engaging the authorities to bring about change were analyzed.
Women CSOs in the pilot Councils targeted were the main beneficiaries of this. The
following report presents the different support the CSOs received and the advocacy
actions by the CSOs in the various Council areas and the outcomes of their actions.
The Objectives of the Support:
• To promote the institution of gender responsive budgeting in Councils of the
South West Region of Cameroon
• To improve on the situation of women and other marginalized gender
groups.
• To put in place focal persons to relate with the project promoters ,different
development actors and women groupings
Expected Results:
 A Municipal Order is developed and in place engendering Council budgets
 The lots of women and other gender groups are improved through various
financial schemes in place to support their endeavors
 Access to proper public facilities (markets, public toilets, etc. ) increases the
wellbeing of women, ensure good health and involvement in local Council
and economic activities by women.
 Vibrant networks of women associations, promoting information sharing and
pursuing the interest and needs of women are in all pilot Councils targeted.
 Councils start benefiting from vibrant gender operations in their
Municipalities
Participants of the Support:
The participants were principally women group leaders, who represented their
different CSOs. They were of age between forty and mid fifty years old. They were
mostly school teachers, business persons and a few health practitioners-nurses.
The implementing team also reached out to Secretary Generals of various Councils,
Committee Chairpersons of Councils, and Councilors. Also targeted were
Treasurers, finance Officers and other Council collaborators including: Women
Empowerment Centre and the Family (MINPROFF), Ministry of Planning and the
Family (MINEPAT), Ministry of Women Affair (MIWAS), local authorities etc. The
press was also involved.
Methodology:
The project was implemented using an advocacy approach. First the implementing
team used research assistants to do findings in targeted Councils on the major
focus of the project. Specifically the objectives of the findings were:
• To ascertain the degree of implementation of Municipal Decisions bearing on
Gender Responsive Budgeting in pilot Councils
• To determine the challenges encountered by Councils in engendering their
budgets.
• To proposed solutions for the identified gaps.
Questionnaires were used to conduct interviews. While on the field, observations
were also made as well.
Some Findings Made:
The project team noted the following:
 That women in Councils targeted do not participate in Council decisionmaking and are not aware of their role or that of the Councils in promoting
development efforts.
 That the female councilors and senior female Council staff do not attempt to
question gender issues during Council budgetary sessions.
 That majority of the grassroots female elected leaders are gender insensitive.
 Grassroots women are very suspicious of their leaders and MINPROFF
authorities.
Because of these reasons the project promoters decided to put in place a Municipal
wide women organization to increase the participation of women. The project team
helped the women networks put in place to developed adequate gender messages
and to organize advocacy campaigns in the pilot Councils. These campaigns were
led by the women networks and joint by other groups.
The Advocacy Campaigns in the Pilot Councils:
Lot I: Councils in Fako Division:
The Councils targeted under this lot included the Buea, Limbe I, Limbe II, Tiko and
Muyuka Councils. In the Buea Municipality, the project team visited various women
CSOs to sensitize them about the project and the action to take. The CSOs were
guided to develop an action plan. The Buea Women Forum, and other women
group leaders took part in the advocacy March .This was organized in front of the
Buea Council during a Council budgetary session. A similar march was organized in
Limbe I and II, Tiko and the Muyuka Councils in 2011.
During the above actions, the project implementation team supported the CSOs
with T-Shirts, placards and banners. First Aid tips, water and transport facilities
were provided to them. Over 100 women participated in each march. The women
also marched on popular market days
Lot II: Councils in Meme, Ndian and Kupe Muanenguba Divisions:
The Councils targeted here included the Kumba I and II, Mbonge, Ekondo Titi,
Mundemba, Nguti and Bangem Councils. In these Councils MUDEC Group, YADD,
WOFOC and CADEV representatives visited various women group representatives
in the council areas. In the Kumba Municipality, a women forum called the Kumba
Association for Women Groups (KAWG) was put in place by the project team.
Similar forums were put in place in the other Council areas here. Action plans were
also developed with all the CSOs. After much coaching by the project team, the
various women forums in place carried out advocacy campaigns in their various
Council areas.
The project team also supplied CSOs in their campaigns with T-shirts, placards,
banners, first Aid tips and transport to ease their actions. Over 100 women took
part in each march here. To further caused attention, they blow whistles at
midnights of popular days.
Lot III: Councils in Manyu and Lebialem Divisions:
The Councils under this lot included the Menji Council in Lebialem and the Mamfe,
Tinto and Eyumajock Councils in Manyu division. In all the above Councils,
workshops were health with identified women CSOs on Gender Responsive
Budgeting (GRB) and the indicators to major the success elaborated as well. In
Menji, Lebialem division, the Menji Women Foundation for Changed (MWFC) was
formed. Similar organizations of women CSOs were formed in the other Council
areas as well. After the coaching from MUDEC Group and partners, the women
CSOs embarked on advocacy campaigns in their various Municipalities.
The women teams were supplied with T-shirts, placards, banners, water, First Aid
and transport facilities to ease their actions. The T-shirts and placards carried
messages on different women issues that needed to be addressed. The various
advocacy marches were as well in front of Council premises. About 90 women took
part in each march. There was maximum press coverage here. Announcements
were even made in churches about the campaigns.
The Action Plans:
In the course of developing action plans with the CSOs, the project promoters
ensured that the following were included:
I. The main problem
II. The objectives of the advocacy work
III. A list of those capable of changing the situation- the targets
IV. The appropriate methods and activities that will be used in the exact situation
V. Possible risks in the case of an action or no action
VI. Responsibilities
VII. How to build links with other support groups
VIII. The intervention calendar
IX. Success measures: how are you going to evaluate the results?
In developing the various implementation plans, the table below was also
presented and participants were guided in using it:
What will we do?
Planned Activities
Why are we doing it?
Target Objectives
How are we going to do it?
Strategy for Intervention
What are we going to use to do it?
Necessary Resources
Who are we going to use to do it?
Partners
Where are we going to do it?
Place of Actions In my Organization My Regional Network
Some Observations During the campaigns:
• In all the Council areas, Municipal authorities and local administrators gave
tacit acceptance to authorize popular manifestations only after discussions
with MINPROFF.
• Some Mayors decline to respond to unrehearsed Questions/Answers from
women groups.
• The project promoters had to immensely sensitize women before they
participated.
• The efforts of these women called for a lot of attention from authorities and
the public as these were open and organized during Council Sessions.
The Out-Come of the Advocacy Actions and Support:
• The Women Foundation for Change (WOFOC) remain in place as the focal
team in Council areas and were introduced to all Municipal Council
authorities
• A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was developed and signed
between Councils and the different Women Foundation for Change.
• Proposed action plans facilitated by MUDEC and partners, for the women
CSOs were validated
• The different women CSOs stated holding meetings without MUDEC and
partners.
• The spirit of advocacy was developed in various gender groups and their
confidences were built.
Apart from the above, this project opened new doors for hard work and group
action among women; the need for care for the physically challenged, for equality
among gender groups and participatory development in Council areas.
Conclusion:
As viewed above, the support to CSOs was great! It also had a positive split over to
other Councils that copied the actions. The identified leaders of Women
Foundation for Change (WOFOC) put in place were expected to continue relating
with the project promoters and different actors. However, for a sustain effort from
WOFOC and the Council authorities, the following suggestions have been made.
Proposed Suggestions:
1) The Women Foundations for Change (WOFOC) need regular support to be
proactive in order to influence Council Budgetary process in all municipalities
in the region. Supporting them regularly will also ensure that these
foundations will sustain the sensitization of the population and maintain
regular advocacy for GRB in Councils.
2) There is need to hold regular consultations (may be quarterly) between the
Council executive, SG, MT, and executives of Women Foundation for
Change. The objectives will center on planning, review and evaluation of
GRB.
3) Create & maintain a data base on Council Funding for Gender Equality.
4) The involvement of MINPROFF officials are critical for success.
5) Develop a Draft Gender Policy for Local Councils & submit to competent
organizations such as UN Women, MINPROFF, for deliberations and ultimate
submission to the House of Senate for adoption.
Done by:
Eugene Atabong Atem
Coordinator of YADD, P.O Box 191 Buea
South West Region Republic of Cameroon
Tel: (+237) 74 50 59 95. Email: atematabong@yahoo.com/
youthcollaboration@yahoo.com