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Empowering Cameroon: The Impact of the #defyhatenow Initiative in 2023

In recent years, the #defyhatenow initiative has emerged as a beacon of hope in the fight against hate speech and the promotion of peaceful dialogue in Cameroon. With its unwavering commitment to creating a #HateFreeCameroon, the initiative has achieved significant milestones in 2023. This article explores the impact of the #defyhatenow initiative and highlights key achievements that have paved the way for positive change in the country.

Mitigating Gender-Based Violence
As part of their efforts, the #defyhatenow initiative actively participated in the 16-day journey against the elimination of gender-based violence. By joining this cause, the initiative has encouraged individuals to reflect on their actions and contribute to the healing of society. Through collaborative efforts and advocacy, the initiative strives to eradicate all forms of gender-based violence and promote a safer environment for all.

   

Collaborations towards a #HateFreeCameroon
The #defyhatenowWCA team recently embarked on a visit to the North West region, particularly Bamenda, to establish partnerships with youth-led organizations and institutions. This collaboration aims to foster future activities centered around attaining a #HateFreeCameroon. By joining forces with organizations such as the United Youth Organization, Cameroon National Youth Council for the North West Region, NW regional center for DDR, #AFFCameroon Alumni, and Media Associations, the initiative is building a united front against hate speech and violence, emphasizing the importance of peacebuilding for all.


Setting the Standards
During a regional conference of journalists and media professionals in Central Africa, the #defyhatenow initiative was presented as a reference point for countering hate speech and promoting peace. Representatives Armelle Sitchoma and Tarhyang Tabe highlighted the measures implemented through programs like #AFFCameroon, #Media4Peace, #ThinkB4UClick, and #Act4Peace. This conference, organized by UNOCA, UNHCR, and the Ministry of External Relations of Cameroon, aimed to evaluate and design an advocacy strategy against hate speech and incitement to violence. The delegates, hailing from ten countries, worked towards finalizing auto-regulatory tools that encourage counter-narratives, positive discourse, and civic spaces.
     

Promoting Outreach in Local Communities
The #defyhatenow initiative acknowledges the power of effective communication in combating hate speech. Consequently, the Association of Broadcasters in Pidgin English came together to translate the #defyhatenow #FieldGuide posters into pidgin English, ensuring a wider reach across Cameroon. These posters have been produced for use in communities and remote areas, both online and offline, with the aim of reducing hate speech, violence, and the spread of fake news. To further this cause, broadcasters from the North West, South West, and Littoral regions convened in Limbe for a two-day session to discuss strategies for utilizing the translated pidgin posters. 

 Empowering Students for Technological Change
The #ASKCamp2023, organized in Bamenda, provides a unique opportunity for students of Votech – S7 Academy to explore the potential of technology for positive change in their communities. Through mentorship sessions with industry experts; Stephane Dipanda and Vianney Forewah, the project aims at equipping students with practical skills in hardware, software, and graphic design. By empowering these young individuals, #defyhatenow is fostering a generation of change-makers who can utilize technology to combat hate speech and promote a harmonious society.


The impact of the #defyhatenow initiative in Cameroon this year 2023 has been profound and visible as there are real life testimonials being shared as reference. Through collaborative partnerships, educational campaigns, community outreach and technological empowerment, the initiative has made significant strides in countering hate speech and promoting peace that has affected and touched lives of many within and without Cameroon.

As we move forward, let us continue to support and amplify efforts to jointly kick out any form of #HateSpeech, Incitement to violence both online and offline and #Mis/Disinformation, in working together towards creating a more inclusive and #HateFreeCameroon.

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