On International Women’s Day 2022, the Cameroon Women Entrepreneur Network (CWEN), with support from GIZ Business Scouts for Development and the Gender Focal Point of Cameroon, organised a 2-day networking and sharing event for female entrepreneurs based in the Septentrion, the Grand North of Cameroun.
Women empowerment is a key element of GIZ’s work and is meant to support women in realising their full potential in economies and societies. Many of GIZ’s projects in Cameroon include activities to promote the economic empowerment of women, be it in rural development (ABC PADER, ProCISA), biodiversity protection (BSB Yamoussa), forest (product) management (ProFE), or peace promotion and employment (PARSE). All of these used the chance to enable some of their beneficiaries to participate in the Caravane de l’Entrepreneure and to identify for themselves the values of joining a network of mutually empowering business women such as CWEN.
From the littoral region of Douala, CWEN sets out to connect women entrepreneurs and business owners in Cameroon to ensure the growth and sustainability of their businesses, and to create wealth and jobs. The association offers networking and social events, connects members to business opportunities, organises capacity development sessions and offers mentoring support. Currently, the network is planning to expand its scope of activity across the whole of Cameroon to the Grand North, to forge business connections within the country and to strengthen and support their fellow women in their economic empowerment.
The event included the success story of Habiba Magouo Diallo, the founder and owner of Habiba Natural Care – a cosmetic brand that prides itself in the use of natural oils from Cameroon. Coming from a humble Garoua background and having escaped early marriage, Habiba shows how with resilience, dedication and a good support network she managed to create this beauty brand.
In a more practical session on work-life balance, the president of CWEN, Love Vera Ekoume, provoked participants to reflect on and find ways of handling or reducing the double burden business women face in managing their businesses and their households.
Next to this inspirational input, the event encouraged the active participation of all women. In the sharing session arbre à palabre, all participants were invited to reflect on and share their motivations, ambitions, challenges and limitations as well as their role in society. In an interactive networking session, CWEN highlighted the importance of seizing opportunities, making connections and being ready to attract investors with an elevator pitch of one’s business. The event concluded with a forum to discuss the possibility of creating a satellite office of CWEN in Garoua.
For more information on the collaboration with CWEN or the latest developments, please feel free to contact the Gender Focal Point Cameroon Annika Witte.