Creating Strong Networks and Leadership among Rural Women
A founding member of the network Genre en Action in 2007 and coordinator of Cefap-Ladies Circle, Anne Pelagie is an expert in Gender, Development and Transitional Justice. She has been an active member of numerous networks in the field of gender issues and development. Her driving conviction has been that it is crucial to empower rural women for the wellbeing of their families and for the growth and well being of their local communities in the long run.
The obstacle she has identified, and aims to overcome, in order to give rural women a central position in eradicating poverty, is that gender inequality cannot be ended until women are not given access to resources (such as credit, land and education) in rural areas.
To address these challenges she has started several projects for rural women. One of her projects focuses on capacity building through the use of ICT in the development of microbusinesses. Anne has also conducted training programs to familiarize rural women leaders with the use of technology so as to increase their participation in governance and political debate at the national level, as well as to obtain the know-how and a new mindset for networking together. She organized a project on the improvement of the quality of life of women and girls in rural areas, which attempts to provide clean water, sanitation, education and health. This initiative also included the construction of a shelter for battered women and girls and of the first “Hope Home” for vulnerable pregnant adolescents and their children in Cameroon. She also helped rural women in establishing a processing unit and managing the selling of agricultural and fishery products. In her journey Anne has encountered many difficulties, funding and fundraising being the biggest one. She has taken up this challenge to raise awareness and collects funds on her own by reaching out to international networks. Her creative and courageous efforts have been supported by a team she has gathered, of 150 volunteers and technical experts, coming from 10 different regions of the country, indicating her reach and impact.