WOMEN’s DAY: Ambassador Mrs. Melono Pays Tribute to Cameroon’s Rural Women

Her Excellency Mrs. Odette Melono Speaking at the CeremonyTo commemorate the 28th edition of the International Women’s Day 2012, The Embassy of Cameroon in the Netherlands organized activities which participants have generally referred to as very successful and exciting.

The Cameroonian Embassy under the patronage of Her Excellency Mrs. Odette Melono (Ambassador) has annually organized activities for Cameroonian women in the Netherlands and Luxemburg to mark the International Women’s Day since 2009. This year’s commemorative event took place on March 10, 2012 at the Julianakerk (Juliana Church Hall) in The Hague.

In her opening address, Ambassador Mrs. Odette Melono said that it was with deepl emotions that she was addressing the participants under this year’s theme: “EMPOWERING RURAL WOMEN…End Hunger and Poverty. This theme Ambassador Melono added is for each and every one of us more than just a slogan but a reality that affects us all.

Mrs. Melono pointed out that “each year, the International Women’s Day brings us to that moment were we pause and evaluate the results and achievements in the struggle for the rights of women as well as a moment to take an inventory of the challenges that lie ahead” . In this regard she added that the theme of 2012 edition was particularly relevant for Cameroon because the rural women in Cameroon are emblematic of the rural realities of the country.

Ambassador Melono touched on the emotions of everyone when she vividly repainted the picture of the lives of the rural women of Cameroon. She said…each and everyone one of us is affected one way or another by “these heroines” (rural women) of our villages; our savannas and our forests through their massive contribution to the development of Cameroon. These contributions have been seen for decades either through household duties; selling the product of their hard work in makeshift boats in the cities; guaranteeing the preservation of life through hard work by allowing to go beyond their immediate environment to feed their families and people of cities and communities or working in the fields. Their contributionQuestion and answer session she emphasized cannot be minimized or ignored.

Her Excellency Mrs. Melono then paid a formal tribute to the work of rural women in Cameroon for their courage, selflessness and their ability to carry in them the flame of life and hope.

After her tribute, she added that “when the world celebrates this day dedicated to Rural Women, for us Cameroonians, a strong apprehension resurfaces and invites us to revisit some of our traditions, customs and practices, especially regarding the right to inheritance and land ownership for this particularly vulnerable category of our population”.

The Head of Mission also addressed some positive aspects in relation to the present position of women in Cameroon. She remarked that the position of women in Cameroon has improved remarkably since the 1980s. Cameroon as a result is cited as one example where the promotion of women’s rights has made considerable progress. This is illustrated in the Cameroon Constitution which explicitly states that all citizens are free and equal and backed up by the fact that women are present in all sectors of the economic life e.g in business, administration, trade, agriculture and most importantly, are paid the same wages as male colleagues…she explained.
Before concluding, Ambassador Melono gave due credit to the organizing committee in general and particularly thanked two of its members Dr. Kebemou & Mrs. Bate Eya who organized interactive discussions on two silent killers of women: cervical cancer and uterus cancer under the topic ‘FIGHTING UTERUS & CERVICAL CANCER.

She then particular thanked the first lady of Cameroon, Mrs. Chantal Biya whom she said has since march 2009, every year donated women’s day cloth to Cameroonian women in the Netherlands in the words “we Cameroonian women in the Netherlands, say to our First Lady, thank you a thousand times”.

Apart from the interactive discussions on cervical and uterus cancer, other activities that followed the Head of Missions speech were Traditional Dance; Merengue Workshop; Children Playback Show; Yoga & Zumba and a buffet.

The celebrations rounded up at about 22.00pm.

                                                                          See photos of the event

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