#defyhatenow_Cameroon had a brief chat with Barrister Balbine MANGA on the role of women in peacebuilding, and we hope you are as smitten with her as we were. Read on….
Tell us about yourself and what you do
I’m a lawyer with a focus on internet governance, cybercrime, cybersecurity, and law. Since 2011, I’ve worked with the African internet community, taking part in workgroups and workshops on problems relating to the internet in Africa, capacity building, best practices online, and the rights and protection of people online.
Does your role or job permit you to foster women’s inclusion in peacebuilding processes in the community, at work, or even online ?
I have been able to promote women’s inclusion in peace processes in my community and online thanks to my role model, a member of civil society who has connected me to my work as a lawyer. This is due to the fact that, as attorneys, we occasionally have to settle disputes involving families or communities, such as inheritance disputes, land disputes, divorces, or widows’ troubles. We seek to support women and young girls in understanding and defending their rights and making their voices known in the community through our Lawyers Association.
From your experience what do you think can be done to increase women’s representation in peacebuilding?
According to my personal experience, various steps must be made to improve women’s engagement in peacebuilding, most notably:
- Educate women and develop their peacebuilding skills to emphasize the significant role they must play.
- Involve local women’s organizations in the process, appoint additional female ambassadors to promote peacebuilding if they don’t already exist, and assist them in discussing and outlining the challenges they face.
What do you think are the consequences of marginalising or sidelining gender issues in conflict resolution processes?
This is because women , young girls and children are usually the main victims of conflicts ( some atrocity like rape are not easy to forgive and forget). Women have to participate in the processes to express their opinion and forgive.Women are the foundation of the family and society, and if their voices are not heard, the conflict may continue in a fragile and silent manner.
With the senatorial coming up, what do you think about more women taking up important positions at the Senate this time around?
In light of the upcoming Senate elections, I am in favor of more women holding powerful positions in the senate in order to raise more women’s issues. Why not try to elect a female president?
Have you ever heard of #defyhatenow? If yes, what do you think of their work and what do you think the team can do to make their work known and have more impact in #Cameroon?
Yes, I first learned about #defyhatenow during the conference the European Union organized last year with the topic “Stop Fake News.” I was delighted and honored to speak on a panel at the conference. They are doing a fantastic job, and I am prepared to help whenever they need it. To have more impact in Cameroon they need to increase communication to be well known. I believe it can be beneficial to plan events locally, not just in big towns. Also, it is critical to have volunteers in every area ( if it is not yet done).
Do you have any advice for young girls aspiring to impact their communities?
I would advise young girls to pursue their ambitions. Focus on your projects and don’t let anyone get in the way of it. You shouldn’t rely on marriage to be accepted in society. Work hard because bold women are admired by modern men. As an ICT expert, I advise young girls to take advantage of this chance to learn from and interact with the women they view as role models and who may motivate them to launch their own businesses and succeed as successful entrepreneurs.
Barrister Balbine MANGA