Opportunities for Child Brides
Sustain Cameroon focuses on providing practical solutions to the issues of abuse and discrimination of women, girls and children. The participants (aged 11 – 23) live in rural underserved communities in 4 divisions of the Northwest Region of Cameroon. They have little or no knowledge required to start income generating activities. Their families live in unsafe regions where parents genuinely believe that marrying their daughters is the best way to protect them from danger. As a result, the girls are faced with the threat of early and forced marriages, sexual exploitation and abuse, gender-based violence, trafficking and modern-day slavery.
That is why the 25 girls at risk will participate in a 3-months practical and hands-on business skills training. This equips them with financial management skills to start and run sustainable businesses. At the end of training, the participants will identify lucrative businesses they want to start, for example in tailoring, hairdressing, or a grocery shop. They will then be paired up with existing business owners to learn best practices and the business culture before setting up their own businesses.
Upon starting their businesses, Sustain Cameroon will provide seed capital to start businesses alongside their passion. And they will do a 3-month follow-up, including one-on-one coaching and mentorship within their respective self-help groups, to see them successful. For project sustainability, Sustain Cameroon will establish two savings and revolving microcredit schemes. This will guarantee business growth and expansion since participants can save and borrow to support their businesses within their self-help groups.
Sustain Cameroon strongly believes that when access to alternative income sources is provided, their target group of vulnerable girls and young women can build their confidence and challenge the conditions that hold them down. Being experts in this domain, they believe that this project is a much-needed solution to the perennial abuse, violence and discriminating traditions against women.
With their newly started businesses, at least 19 trainees (i.e. 75%) have increased their income sustainably. The increased income benefits at least 125 family members. With the income, they can now afford basic necessities and education for their family members.
Sustain will consider the project successful when 50% of the participants have access to better nutrition and improved living conditions with the increased income.
The participants become agents of their own change transforming their own lives and then their communities. Together with Sustain they can make use of 1 fully functional vocational training centre in one of the 4 target communities, which provides access to the materials, resources and tools for vocational skills training for many more young women.
With a budget of XAF 6,148,211 (or € 9,222) Sustain Cameroon will carry out the following activities:
- Business Training and associated costs.
- Purchase of grocery, tailoring and hairdressing tools of trade.
- 2 new village savings and revolving microcredit loan schemes will be established.
- Establish 1 training centre in one of the community projects to serve as a hibernation and skills acquisition dome for vulnerable young women and girls identified in the community.
- Running of the training centre and purchase of equipment and infrastructure.
- Monitoring and evaluation of the project activities.
- 5% to iMPACT direct for facilitating direct donations to local solutions (covering our costs for the website, financial costs of direct donations, and basic costs to support NGOs in promotion and fundraising.)
SUSTAIN Cameroon’s contribution is as follows:
- Provide in-house expertise and trainers for the training.
- Liaise with the community to ensure assistance in securing space for training.
- Mobilising project participants through community mobilizers and volunteers.
I am happy and grateful that Sustain Cameroon identified and placed me amongst those who were to benefit and learn the trade. I have started to master tailoring and I am sure as the days are going, I will get better. I see my future so bright being my own boss and being able to earn something for myself and to support my own family.