Youth Join “Girl Rising” Movement

U.S. Embassy CAO Merlyn Schultz, staff, and Gender club promote Gender Parity.
U.S. Embassy CAO Merlyn Schultz, staff, and Gender club promote Gender Parity. [USEYde Photo]
On March 4th 2016, the United States Embassy Gender Equity Working Group hosted thirty students and teachers from a Gender Club of the Government Bilingual High School in Bafia. It is a rural, agricultural town located 120 km north of Yaoundé. The objective of the visit was to join Embassy Yaoundé in celebrating International Women’s Day (IWD) on the theme “Pledge for Parity.”

Welcoming the guests on behalf of Ambassador Michael Hoza, the Cultural Affairs Officer (CAO) Mrs. Merlyn Schultz said that the United States Government believes in the strength of women and it is within this spirit that they have put in place several platforms that can be used to teach and empower women and girls all over the world. She encouraged the students to work hard at school so as to benefit from such platforms which include the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), the International Visitors Leadership Program, among others.

She called on everyone present to take a concrete step towards ensuring gender parity by ensuring that women and girls achieve their ambitions through proper education. According to Mrs, Schultz, “The United States is proud to celebrate International Women’s Day with our Cameroonian partners. Promoting gender equality and investing in women and girls are central to promoting prosperity, peace, and security. Evidence shows that countries will only progress economically, socially, and politically when girls participate fully in all aspects of society.”

The hallmark of the event was the viewing of the movie “Girl Rising”. Directed by Richard E. Robbins, the movie tells the story of nine girls from different parts of the world that face arranged marriages, child slavery, poverty and other injustices. Despite these obstacles, the brave girls offer hope and inspiration. By getting an education, they are able to break the barriers and create change in their communities and in the world.

The discussion that followed the viewing was centered on the themes highlighted in the movie such as investing in education, standing by her, sharing her story. During this session, some guests shared their stories based on the themes selected. The presentation of each theme was followed by a testimony from the participant. It was evident that although the characters in the movie seemed faraway and had unique stories, the obstacles they face mirrored hit right at home. See Facebook album of program: