In the Boyo district in North West Cameroon, traditional customs prevail, making it common for girls to be forced to marry at an early age. The families are often made up of between 6-8 children and the access to education is limited, especially for women.
Together with PAORP Cameroon, Tzedek is funding a microfinance project for women farmers. The women are getting loans in order to grow their business in farming. They are also trained in modern farm practices and marketing. By May 2017, the sales of cereal will have generated enough for 85% of the loan to be re-paid.
In their six-months report, PAORP presents how 20 groups of women have been able to cultivate maize, beans and soya beans, soon to be harvested. These products are then to be sold at markets in the area. The income the sales generate will go towards setting aside money to fulfil the education needs of their children, as well as re-paying their loan, making it possible for the money to be used for future beneficiaries. The project is also working on creating a wider awareness on the importance of girls’ education, in an attempt to hinder future child marriage.
One of these women is Aishatu Umaru, who had to marry at the age of 14 and now has 6 children. Three of her children are in school and she has little influence over them, since her husband has a greater say over the children and determines when they should get married. When asked if she would like her daughters to marry as young as she did, she replied that her husband decides that. Aishatu Umaru is a farmer unable to produce enough products to generate an income, making her unable to provide for her family. She depends on the limited income her husband brings in from taking care of wealthy peoples’ cattle. She and her family are living in a small two room house in a large compound made up of many Fulani families in a remote village of Bainjong in Boyo Division.