Monday, February 2, 2009

Mother Support Human Capital Locomotive

Mother Support Human Capital Locomotive
James Achanyi-Fontem, Coordinator, WABA MWG
From generation to generation in Cameroon, family ties have been engraved through togetherness and belonging. When a girl child is at the age of puberty, intiation start. The purpose of the intiation has remained to achieve economc, ciltural, and social survival in a harmonious environment.
At the beginning in regions where tradition has remained virgin and uncorrupt, the population of the villages still continue to hunt, pick fruits, herd or farm together. This explains why in communities of Lebialem in the South West province of Cameroon, the women continue to put their hands on one plough, from one individual farm to the other on the difficult hills and valleys to farm.
To succeed, the women form labour-contributing groups to produce wonderfully hoed and planted farms for everyone. This is a form of labour-cooperative of the women in Lebialem that set the pace for mother support as a means of financial and social empowerment.
When a member of the group delivers her baby, the job in her farm is still done, as the other will plan and programme the tasks to assist her in various ways, by assumining most of her usual farm occupation in a shared manner. These type of mother support groups have germinated and spread across several villages in Cameroon.
It is often startling to know how much capital these mothers and their different support groups generate from their activities. The larger the group, the more the women hoard., to operate their micro-credit system. Member, solely women, simply pool shares as agreed by the internal regulations of their mother support group. Some groups create a name for its identification in the community, like « Ngwinkon », which stands for the farming women.
The amounts saved in the micro-credit system are loaned out to others for interest. Those who borrow, hve to show prove that they are going to use the money for productive ends such as paying the school fees of their children, constructing a parmanent family residence or financing a small business so that the money is not wasted. Some borrow only for renewing their grains for the next planting season.
The fall out of this human capital locomotive is the stability in many families, uninterrupted schooling of the girl-child and other off-springs, the construction of a family home, the creation of a petty business by the mothers and averting idleness among women, just to name a few.
Experience has shown that when a mother is empowered, stability reigns in the family and education of children are guaranteed. If a mother is developed, the community develops, with the individual and the family. Everyone wins. Cameroon Link’s hidden agenda of mother support is through information, education, communication, advocacy and empowerment of the women. With this, women become less dependent on the father and they also learn about their rights and those of their children.

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