I am Generation Equality: Caryn Dasah, peacebuilderBillions of people across the world stand on the right side of history every day. They speak up, take a stand, mobilize, and take big and small actions to advance women’s rights. This is Generation Equality.
I am Generation Equality because…
Three things you can do to support women and girl in peacebuilding in Cameroon
- Solidarity, especially from women in countries who have also seen conflict. We need support from our sisters all over,united with us in sisterhood and love
- Fund and support youth-led civil society organizations
- Protect and recognize women peacebuilders.
“I have seen how much violence women have suffered. Not every woman [can use her] voice as I can. Some have experienced such violence, pain and misery [that] they don't know how to come out of it... They don't have access to the information that I have. So it is my role, and my responsibility to stand for gender equality.
We cannot move forward while more than half of us are left behind. In the spirit of sisterhood, in the spirit of solidarity, we will not stop until every woman in every part of the world knows her rights, lives and enjoys her rights.
Women living in conflict settings
Women have been instrumental in calling for a peaceful resolution to the ongoing crisis in Cameroon. The conflicts came unannounced, and the escalation forced us as women to organize ourselves to advocate for peace, while safeguarding necessities. Women are strong advocates for peace, as peacekeepers, relief workers and mediators.
Women are active in the front line, providing services to affected population living in other towns and in the bushes. The heightened insecurity has not prevented them from working for the best interest of their community, even as rape and sexual assault generate fear and aims to silence them.
“We will not stop until every woman in every part of the world knows her rights, lives and enjoys her rights.”
And the conflict has greatly impacted women and young girls. They don’t have access to sexual and reproductive health and rights. Hospitals have been burned down; women are giving birth with no access to health services.
We need people to speak up about the issues and how women are impacted by this war. We need avenues and spaces to talk. But also funding, directed to women and youth organizations now working in Cameroon who are on the front lines.
As one of the women facing the guns as I tried to access some very hard to reach spaces to meet the needs of women and young girls, Women [peacebuilders] are exposed to violence, insecurity, fear and anxiety, which affect our mental health, and we do not have the opportunity for self-care. We need to protect women peacebuilders so they can continue the important work.
Youth energy and voices for peace
I cannot overemphasize the role of young people in peace. Those who are losing their lives in the battlefield are young people. You don't see people who are 50 in the battlefield. We can no longer underestimate the role of young people in peace building.
Making use of youth voices doesn't mean just listening to them. It means empowering youth and giving them the spaces to talk about their issues, participate and share their own experiences. People think that because they are youth, they're not experts, but when you find yourself living in conflict situations, you understand. Young people have the energy, and they can, and do, meaningfully contribute towards bringing peace.
Caryn Dasah, 29, is a peacebuilder, social justice and gender equality advocate from Cameroon. Dasah, a member of the Beijing+25 Youth Task Force, was recently elected General Coordinator of the Cameroon women’s peace movement, which is a constellation of women-led civil society organizations.