GENDER AND COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION IN DEVELOPMENT IN CAMEROON
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This work sought to establish the link between gender and conflict in the Muea community. It was thus broken down into specific objectives which were to; Identify the extent of Muea women’s involvement in community participation in development during the Anglophone crisis, to examine the possible challenges preventing Muea women’s involvement in community participation in development during the Anglophone crisis and to assess the significant government effort made to solve these challenges preventing Muea women’s involvement in community participation in development during the Anglophone crisis. The findings revealed that; in Cameroon, gender-based discrimination and inequalities are very much apparent, although the government is working aggressively towards alleviating such problems
Overall we can see that challenges faced by women in the Muea community is greatly cause by the ongoing crisis.
The Anglophone crisis has greatly affected the population and women in particular as at the moment all effort made by the government to solve the crisis has failed as the crisis is still ongoing at this moment. From the result conducted it shows the government has not actually made efforts to solve the challenges the women are facing as a day has been taken away from to be a ghost town for the separatist fighters and the government has accepted as to a greater extent schools and government offices don’t open on Mondays.
The concept of gender and conflict implies that those two concepts are connected, and are very important tools if trying to solve some problems in the society and bring peace .Peace is a situation when people are free from disturbance (a state of period where there is no war or a war has ended). A gender analysis of conflict can contribute to understanding prospects for peace. Therefore an analysis of conflict processes is needed that incorporates gender approaches and offers insight in power, control and competition (Bushra and Lopez 1993:19). Gender considerations are critical to synthesis the analysis of the private and the public sphere by focusing on individuals and communities caught up in conflict. I will use the term conflict in general, but I will refer to mainly armed conflict: parties on both sides resort to the use of force.
I see gender, as opposed to sex, as an all-encompassing concept that incorporates given and ascribed dimensions of masculine and feminine identity. This means we can think of gender as something that we have (biological). This concept mainly focuses on gender role in society in general and in conflict in particular. A well-known researcher in the field of gender and peace studies « A gender- neutral discourse may conceal that the post-war period [is] crowded with gendered decisions » (Enloe 1993:261). Researchers for Oxfam say that armed conflict leads to the breakdown of political structures and economic systems, which heightens women’s vulnerability and therefore has gender implications. (Bushra and Lopez 1994 🙂 Vulnerability can be understood in a very literal way, in that the men who have either fled or gone to war or that have been killed for example can no longer protect and provide for the Women. We shall definitely focus on how gender has affected the society we live in today and this has hindered mostly the feminist sex (women).
Gender and conflict are too closely interrelated concepts and each determines the availability and efficiency of the other. Gender is used to describe the characteristics of women and men that are socially constructed, when we talk of gender we are talking based on sex. Sex refers to those that are biologically determined. People are born male and female, but learn to be girls and boys who group up into women and men this learned behavior makes up gender identity and determines gender roles. The W.H.O gender policy 2002 defines the term above .According to David L. Austin (1972) conflict can be defined as a disagreement between two or more individuals or groups, with each individual or group trying to gain acceptance of its view or objectives over others. I will use the term conflict in general but refer to mainly arm conflict. Armed conflict exists whenever there is a resort to armed force between states or protracted armed violence between governmental authorities and organized armed groups or between such groups within states. Glossary of migration 2nd edition (2011). Gender and conflict is aimed at bringing about the challenges that has been shifted to a particular group as a result of sex which has resort to conflict. Gender and conflict analysis will help solve some basic issues that have been considered in our societies today as associated with a particular sex in times of violence and the visibility of women suffering felt.
Women have always made a considerable contribution to the development of the society in which they live. However, their contribution has gone unappreciated and, what is worst, they have been held back by a variety of constraints linked with the socio-cultural, economic and political realities. Accordingly, some time ago the international community through the United Nations opted to establish an egalitarian framework within which women can flourish and play a full part in the society. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against women, adopted by the United Nations on 18 December 1979, is one of the instruments prepared within this framework.
Cameroon as a member of this world institution effectively ratified the convention on 23 august 1994 and fully supports all international instruments in the general and those which promote human rights in particular. Although Cameroon has adopted the principles set out in the international conventions relating to human rights in general and the equality of men and women and non- discrimination with respect to women in particular, the definition of discrimination given in art 1 of the convention is not explicitly reproduced in any Cameroonian text (the report of the committee of CEDAW on Cameroon).
The Four World Conferences on Women have demonstrated an increasing awareness about the impact of gender differences on peace and conflict. The First World Conference has been limited because many controversies regarding women’s roles had not been resolved. Men were still holding the important positions at the conference. In 1979, the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) made progress on gender equality in the sense that an agreement was signed that women and men should be protected equally.
It failed however to address abuses for which a male parallel typically does not exist, like gendered violence and gender-related harms such as military sexual slavery and forced prostitution (Etienne, M. 1995:147). In recent Cameroon has experience growing political and social instability caused by multiple crises, socio political crises of the two English speaking regions of Cameroon (North West and south west regions) there is a need for a conceptual rethink of the manner in which the analysis of these conflicts is approached? Furthermore considering that women play an active role in conflict preventions and the different gendered impact of conflict situations. It was for this reason that these study turns to explain the extent to which women have been forgotten so far in time of conflicts.
Violent conflicts come with a high level of wreckage on lives, property, and survival networks. Armed conflicts terrorize and kills large number of people creates economic dislocation, human and capital fight, massive impoverishment and social breakdown. Thus making the challenges faced by post-conflict countries more severe than those faced by poor but peaceful developing countries. During a war, women are considered vulnerable to exploitation, abuse, sexual slavery, disease and forced recruitment into armed groups. As survivors of violent conflicts, they bear the burden of reconstruction. This kind of stereotypical connotations associated with women has led to gender inequality regarding who is considered weak and victim during war (Asian Journal of Social Sciences and Management Studies). It is contented that men are the once who engage in war and when they are killed, dislocated, women are left behind with the burden of ensuring family livelihood.
Women and their roles in society become more and more prominent not only in the scientific discussions of conflict but also post – conflict reconstructions and sustenance of peace but to a certain extent they are still left out in times of conflicts. Although laws protecting women’s rights exist in Cameroon, their implementation appears to face challenges. It is with intention to fill this knowledge gap that this study was aimed at finding out the extent to which women are involved in community participation towards development, the competence of the government to make sure that everyone takes part in community participation towards development, the challenges women are facing as a result of gender towards community development in Cameroon.
The work comprises the general and specific research questions
General research question
The work questions the link between gender and conflict in the Muea community.
1.3.2 Specific questions
The following are the specific research questions of the study:
What is the extent of Muea women’s involvement in community participation in development during the Anglophone crisis?
What are the possible challenges preventing Muea women’s involvement in community participation in development during the Anglophone crisis?
What the significant government effort made to solve these challenges preventing the Muea women’s involvement in community participation in development during the Anglophone crisis?
The work comprises both general and specific objectives of the study.
1.4.1. General research objectives.
The work establish the link between gender and conflict in the Muea community.
1.4.2. Specific Research Objectives
The specific objectives of the study are to:
- Identify the extent of Muea women’s involvement in community participation in development during the Anglophone crisis;
- Examine the possible challenges preventing Muea women’s involvement in community participation in development during the Anglophone crisis;
- Assess the significant government effort made to solve these challenges preventing Muea women’s involvement in community participation in development during the Anglophone crisis.
FURTHER READING: POLTICAL SCIENCE PROJECT TOPICS WITH MATERIALS