Monday, June 3, 2013

CASD at the 3rd Women Deliver Conference, Kuala Lumpur.

CASD was actively represented at the just ended 3rd Women Deliver Conference in Kuala Lumpur by Numfor Alenwi, Executive Director and Co-founder.   
Among over 4500 participants from Ministries of Health, Development Cooperation and leading civil society organizations, we increased visibility of the organization’s vision and network with several organizations including Real Medicine Foundation and Population Action International.  We attended a cross section of the over 120 concurrent plenary sessions and skills building workshops that inspired and informed our mission in building a better world for girls, women and children in deprived communities.
Evidently, this was the biggest exposure the organization has ever had the results will hopefully show in our subsequent activities.

The following highlights were recorded from the some of the speakers at the conference:

“Women who decide when to get pregnant also decide a better future” Melina Gates, Co-Founder of Bill and Melina Gates Foundation.

“If the women are too busy with livelihood activities that they cannot visit the service centre for reproductive health services, follow them to where they spend their days and make sure they learn about the services and make a choice’’ Faith Phiri, Executive Director Girls Empowerment Network Malawi.

“We have 3 million young people in the world today. Therefore we have 3 million opportunities to make progress” Dr Babatunde Osotimehim, Executive Director, UNFPA.

“If CocaCola can be found everywhere then contraception can also reach everywhere” Dr. Musimbi Kanyoro, President and CEO, Global Fund for Women.

‘’If we sit here and talk, things will not change. But if we stand, talk and move, things will change for our countries and for women and children globally’’ Anonymous Young Leader during the Youth Pre-conference.

Watch out for the next set of quotes from the conference here, on twitter: #casdcameroon or facebook:

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

New Senate Must Consider Girls' Contraception Rights

Bih Afanwi got pregnant against her wish at the age of 16. She almost died because her body was underdeveloped and traumatized to support the growth of a foetus. “I saw the world and walls closing on me even as my strength faded out” she says “I admit I was weak in negotiating condom use with him [the boyfriend] but what if I knew they were other contraception choices – better ones I could use without negotiating with him?”.
Bih is only one among the 141 out of every 1000 girls in Cameroon who got pregnant between the age of 15 and 19.  She was lucky to survive because 1 in every 31 pregnant girls die and maternal death is at its worst since 1990 (490 deaths per 100000 live births). [Countdown 2015 Report Card] 

 Regrettably, there are laws in Cameroon that prohibits family planning education in secondary schools. Same laws prohibit access to modern contraception without parental consent for girls below the age of 18.
The UNESCO International Technical Guidelines on Sexuality Education states that effective sexuality education can provide people with 'age appropriate, culturally relevant and scientifically correct information', and includes 'structured opportunities for young people to explore their attitudes and values, and to practice the skills they need to be able to make informed decisions about their sexual lives.
International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) confirms that looking at the evolving capacities of young people rather than their age when striking the balance between protection and autonomy gives opportunity for more young people to learn and make informed choices about their sexual and reproductive lives.

If Bih Afanwi and the 63% of girls and women with unsatisfied family planning needs in Cameron could access modern contraception education in class around their 16th birthday, the age they voluntarily started having sex, they would have had the capacity to postpone their first pregnancy and in effect reducing maternal deaths. We cannot hope to achieve universal access to reproductive health by 2015 and even beyond if the most at risk population (girls aged 15-19) cannot chose if and when they should get pregnant.
Now that our legislative system has changed with the recent creation of a senate, young people are also hoping for a change in the legislation on their sexual and reproductive health and rights. It is time for our policy makers to consider girls by their evolving capacities in the legislation on sexual and reproductive rights. Sexually active girls want the rights to study modern contraception in schools and at home. They also want to make informed choices about their contraception methods. Granting them these rights now as compliments to the moral education from our cultures and religions will reduce adolescent birth rate and maternal mortality in Cameroon.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

How the 'Non-profit Non-loss' Model works

The ‘Non-profit, Non-loss’ business model introduced by Cameroon Agenda for Sustainable Development (CASD) involves three parties: A development organization such as CASD, a microfinance institution and a marginalized community with profitable business potentials.
 The development organization works with the identified community to design a project that generates income on one hand  (for-profit) and uses the profit to finance non-profit goals (like heath and social deliveries) for the community on the other hand. A micro-finance institution is then contracted to fund the project on the basis that the profit would be shared to refund the micro-finance, finance the charity aspect and sustain the implementing organization. It’s a win-win. The community spends its resources on a business that will return the resources in the form of social deliveries. The micro-finance recovers all its money with time and the implementing organization covers its costs.  The greatest secret of this approach is that, it can never fail since the consumers also have a stake in the profit. They therefore patronize the business without waiting for adverts.