The 1st National Women's Convention for Peace in Cameroon has won the German Africa Prize for advocating negotiations to end the Anglophone crisis. In an exclusive interview, the women spoke with DW about their efforts.
The 1st National Women's Convention for Peace in Cameroon, an umbrella group with 80 member organizations, will receive the German Africa Prize in Berlin this autumn, DW can now exclusively confirm.
"This journey has been marked by sweat and tears, but also by many moments of happiness and communion -- this success is the success of us all," Marthe Wandou, from Cameroon's Far North region, told DW.
Wandou is one of the three prizewinners representing the 1st National Women's Convention for Peace in Cameroon's 80-member organizations. The German Africa Foundation organizes the annual award.
The foundation has been committed to strengthening relations between Germany and Africa for 45 years. Since 1993, the foundation has awarded the German Africa Prize to outstanding personalities from the continent who have made exceptional contributions to democracy, peace, human rights, arts and culture, economic development, science, and society.
'A great recognition'
The 1st National Women's Convention for Peace is the largest and most far-reaching network of women's organizations focusing on peace in Cameroon.
It was established in January 2021 and consists of 80 groups that represent the 10 regions of Cameroon, as well as up to 25 distinct social categories of women.
"This is a great recognition for the work of women peacebuilders," said Esther Omam, from Cameroon's Southwest region.
"The members of the platform are happy to accept this act of recognition on behalf of all the women of Cameroon, "those living in conflict zones and those committed to building peace at all levels and in all senses," she said. Women have been significantly affected by the security crises in four of Cameroon's 10 regions.
Addressing conflict inequities
The women organized the first National Convention of Women for Peace in Cameroon to address these inequalities in July 2021.
The largest gathering of its kind in Cameroon's history, it brought together more than 1,800 women from all 10 regions and 58 departments: young girls, older women, academics, athletes, soldiers, artists, and scientists.
The women called for an immediate cease-fire, a resumption of dialogue between the government and separatists in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon, a place for women at the negotiating table, the strengthening of disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration centers, and the creation of psychosocial support centers for war victims in conflict regions.