Arts, Humanities and Social Science

Sumediang and Subaltern Development in Bakossi-Cameroon: A Historical Assessment of the impact of a Women’s Common Initiative Group c1985-2015
Roland Ndille, Ngome Elvis Nkome

Since the Beijing Conference, there has been a growing concern about the contribution of women in local and global development. Before the conference, the role of women especially in African political and socio-economic development was relatively underprivileged due to a number of traditional and institutional stereotypes amongst which was the believe that a woman was made for child bearing and food preparation. Following the Beijing conference and the economic crisis that plagued most African countries in the 1980s and 1990s, women gradually became conscious of the necessity for them to contribute to the alleviation of not only their condition but that of the entire society in which they live. This saw the emergence and proliferation of women’s common initiative groups and self-help schemes. In this paper, we argue that the contribution of such groups especially in subaltern studies has not acquired the desired coverage. We therefore articulate the contributions of one of such organizations called Sumediang; a leading women’s Common Initiative Group among the Bakossi ethnic group of Cameroon in addressing the over-arching challenges confronting women of the area. Our theoretical base is Women and Development (WAD) and our methodological approach is historical with interviews and some primary source literature study as the main data collection tools.

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