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2023 End of Year Speech By Omam Esther


2023 END-OF-YEAR MESSAGE FROM THE OFFICE OF THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

REACH OUT CAMEROON

Stronger together in 2024.


Dear colleagues, friends, and partners,From all of us at Reach Out Cameroon, we wish you a Happy New Year 2024 and express our thanks for all the support you gave us in 2023. The year 2023 was one of many challenges for everyone around the world, Africa and Cameroon in particular. The devastation, pains, and sufferings caused by the multiple crises rocking our country Cameroon were many. Still, we did not fold our arms, we pushed through with several health interventions and undertook the protection and promotion of human rights, peacebuilding/mediation actions, as well as economic security activities for vulnerable populations across the country.


We received several global and national awards in recognition of our work in humanitarian response, peacebuilding, mediation, and recovery. The 2023 Global Pluralism Award was one such award that spoke to the inclusiveness, plurality, and diversity of our work in line with our concept of Leave No One Behind. We equally were privileged to be one of the 03 laureates who represented the Cameroon Women Convention for Peace in Berlin -Germany to receive the German–Africa Peace Award. We were at the Hague in the Netherlands for the World Forum, and the Global Women’s Peace Forum in Berlin Germany, we took part in high-level panels at the CSW67 in New York, participated in the Sub- regional forum of French-speaking women mediators in Malabo and the UN Women organized conferences in Lagos and Abuja, Nigeria. We served on the Advisory Board of UN Women in Africa.


As an organization, our three departments worked hard as always to bring relief to our people in need. The Health Department led several health mobile clinics to provide relief to hard-to-reach communities in the South West and North West regions rendered vulnerable by diverse conflicts and non-functional health facilities. We continued to break barriers in access to primary health care especially malaria, Tuberculosis and HIV in these conflict-affected settings. The Human Rights and Governance Department made major strides with the Peace Tables to promote the WPS agenda. We empowered 300 community women as grassroots peace and social cohesion champions who are now successfully running 30 women-led Peace Hubs covering 40 conflict-affected communities in the North West, South West, Littoral and West regions. Our Mobile Peace Clinics drew ever closer to the communities providing holistic packages of mental health and psychosocial support services as well as SRHRs commodities for the unreached populations. The creation of the Peace House dubbed Esther’s Brave space (safe space) was the innovation of the year within this department. Hundreds of GBV survivors and persons in need of trauma healing now have a haven where they can run to, to regain their self-esteem and dignity. We continued with the monitoring of human rights abuses and carried out community psychosocial support to IDPs and affected families. Sexual and reproductive health rights interventions witnessed an increase in quality and coverage with the engagement of our 16 downstream partners across 4 regions in Cameroon. The Wealth Creation Department improved the quality of services rendered to beneficiaries (IDPS and other vulnerable women and youths) with economic security packages, entrepreneurship skills training, and provision of Cash and Voucher Assistance for small income-generating activities. Support was provided to the landslide victims of Damas in Yaoundé and the flash flood victims of the Buea municipality. A vocational skills training center for IDPs and other vulnerable girls and boys is now operational at the Peace House for empowerment and support of vulnerable groups. We say thank you to all our partners and allies for making all this possible thanks to your amazing financial and technical support.


The year 2024 holds a lot of promise. We look forward to powerful, inspiring, and empowering perspectives with our new Board of Directors, new partners – international, public and private as well as with credible civil society collaborators. We are looking forward to better gender-sensitive and responsive programming with our Peace Tables at the regional and national levels, advancing the agenda of the feminist discussions, promotion and protection of Human rights, School Peace Clubs, continuous inclusive community dialogues, localization of the UNSCR 1325, and other peacebuilding and female leadership initiatives. We hope to have a permanent structure for our Peace House which will serve as the Gender House for Information, Education, counseling, and research. We will continue with innovative health initiatives and economic security actions. We won’t relent in our advocacy for pathways for peace as an organization and a member of different networks to see that sustainable peace is achieved in Cameroon. In 2024 and in years to come, we plan to expand our model in which citizens together with the government and local councils, take responsibility for resettling and welcoming refugees and IDPs. We aim to expand our geographical scope across all the 10 regions of Cameroon and one more country in the African sub-region.


The challenges we face are numerous. It gets increasingly harder to secure funding for the ever- increasing needs of the populations we serve. The threats, kidnappings, security challenges, and high staff turnover are sure to continue this 2024. Still, we will not stop. We have accomplished so much together in 2023. However, our work is far from finished. We need your support to continue our humanitarian, recovery, and peacebuilding work in 2024 because we can only achieve a lot when we leave no one behind when we come together for a better world.


We wish you a bright, just, and peaceful 2024, and thank you all for your dedication to a better world.


With Many thanks and Warm Regards,

OE.



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