Development is a very large debate because the concept is relatively defines differently from one region or one country to another one, depending on the reality. Coming back to the globalization, development means the wiliness of poor countries (in Africa, Caraïbe and Pacific) to reach the same level as developed countries such as USA, countries in Europe… The questions many researchers from social sciences are asking themselves today are: what is the role/participation/impact played by women and youth in the process of development? How are they considered today while talking about development? What is really happening on the field in developing countries? To answer these questions and more, it is really important to access some key information that will help both developing and developed countries to notice the importance of taking in consideration the role played by women and youth in the process of development. The mistakes from the past help to increase the ideas for better cooperation for development. One of the major evolutions from international NGOs, states… is the consideration of the place or role of women and youth while talking of (or in the process of) development.
Talking about women, they are really late comparing to men in the education and it is notice that within 129.000.000 of youth that can go to primary school but don’t, 60% are female. Despite to many efforts that have been done to change this situation, many reason affecting gender are noticed such as culture, houses tasks, pregnancy, earlier marriage, while men/males are expecting to go far with school to be able to help the family growth. 70% of people living in very poor conditions are women with low accessibility to economy such as loan, becoming landlord or participation into decision making process. Despite the fact that women are doing 2/3 of the work, they are just owner of 1% of properties in the World. Women and men do not have equal chance to access jobs, the type/category of jobs is very different and the women salary is 60 to 70% inferior to men salary. Women in Cameroon are spending more time for jobs that are not salary based such as house chores, agriculture for survival… Most of the time, the major responsibility of women is to take care of the house and kids (house chores, cooking for the family, cleaning clothes, going to market, farming…). Only few women access high responsibilities – 2% – such as directors, managers; in the general, only 5% of Head of States, CEO of bigger companies, Internationals Organizations are women. Many stereotypes have been developed around gender issue and women are nearly obliged to accept their reality and conditions. Most of them are not welcoming any project that is designed to empower them and give them freedom.
Youth also are suffering the same problem as women. The reality is quite similar because the context is the same and all are based on education, job accessibility, active or non-active participation into development process. A study indicates that the youth poverty rate was 46.02% in 2007. Furthermore, there exist disparities in the incidence of poverty in Cameroon; households with children/youth in rural areas are six times as likely to at risk of poverty as compare with households with children/youth in urban area. 64% of all youth in Cameroon experience at least one form of deprivation. 30% lack access to food and information, 20% of education. The situation is the same for accessibility to jobs and participating to sustainable development. Youth development is especially important for young people who have little or no support from their families, schools, and communities. These hard to reach and underserved youth, who frequently report high risk behavior and often lack access to health services, include: Youth who live on the street, Low-income young people, Youth in foster care and group homes, Young people in the juvenile justice system, Adolescents addicted to alcohol or other drugs, Youth in residential treatment facilities, Young people who have dropped out of school, Pregnant and parenting youth, Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender young people, Survivors of childhood sexual, physical, and/or emotional abuse, Youth with mental or physical disabilities.
Considering their situations, Women and Youth started many actions to support other that are in the same conditions. Therefore many organizations, SME, are created and managed by either women or youth. WebDev Foundation, Bekondo Foundation and Njioh FLIC are ones of those Organizations leading by Young people and impacting lifes in Cameroon in many domains since more than 10 years: Health, IT, Social Services, Protection of Environment, Education, social justice, financial litteracy… At wide level, many conferences, forums and seminars are also organized around the world to find solutions on the above mentioned issue. We have for example youth conference in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, in 2011 there was an African Youth (women included) conference in Niamey (Niger) for sustainable development.
This very last century, many government across the world have been questioning themselves on how to break down all this situation and it come out many progress because it is found that women and youth play an important role today that have been neglected in the past. Since some years we can easily indentify some changes in the decision making process with the high consideration of participation of women and youth in the process of development. It becoming difficult for a project to succeed if gender and youth participation are not planned or taking in consideration. Despite these efforts, in Cameroon as in many developing countries the situation are not really moving forward because of cultures in certain regions of world where women are not allow to have other jobs if it is not house chores or non-profit jobs. Mentalities in many African Countries are still not considering youth as potential agent of positive change. So it is always a fight between desire situation and the reality. many NGOs have initiated lot of capacity building, youth and women empowerment projects, life skills development… but can’t succeed because of the acceptance of community that are still really behind everything. For example, there are only few people in Cameroon that are aware of the importance of Information Technology with Internet include. Women and youth Programs must tap the resources of community members, including parents and families, religious and business leaders, project planners should assess young participants to determine the developmental opportunities and services that would benefit each the most and ensure participants’ access to those opportunities.