Cameroon Agenda for Sustainable Development (CASD): Accountable Investment for Lasting Impact
CASD is a long-time Compassionate Birth Network Partner working for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in the Anglophone minority region of Cameroon. As a registered NGO in Cameroon since 2011, founded by grassroots Cameroonian leader Numfor Alenwi, CASD has become one of the foremost youth-led organizations in Cameroon. CASD’s mission is to work with policy makers and local communities to improve the health and socioeconomic conditions of vulnerable women, children and adolescents in ways that are inclusive, accountable and sustainable.
1st Quarter 2019 Impact
For over 8 years, Cameroon Agenda for Sustainable Development (CASD) has impacted the lives of thousands of women, adolescents and children in the restrictive, war-torn Anglophone region of Cameroon. In the first quarter of 2019 alone, despite the war, CASD’s small courageous team of health workers served 3,844 adolescents with sexual and reproductive health education and services. Of this number, 3,511 were screened for HIV and 2,497 received follow-up services through mobile SMS texts. 86 adolescents living with HIV (a majority are victims of vertical transmission) and their caregivers/parents were enrolled for systematic disclosure of their serological status. 25 children/adolescents living with unsuppressed HIV viral loads were also followed up.
In addition to HIV services, pregnant women who expressed a critical need for socio-economic support from their spouses received help from CASD’s Paternity Clinic. 52 men were enrolled for the education and support program. The men were counselled to support their spouses to joyfully experience pregnancy and childbirth. All 15 families whose babies have been born had safe births.
Political Unrest Exacerbates Access to Services and Impacts Wellbeing of Women & Girls
Despite the tremendous progress made, thousands of girls and pregnant women in the targeted community are still out of sight and out of mind, exacerbated by ongoing political turmoil. The Anglophone community in Cameroon is asking for more autonomy from the rest of Cameroon, which has been firmly denied by the Francophone-dominated government. The United Nations reports over 800 civilians have been killed, over 1,600 community members internally displaced, and over 6,000 registered as refugees in Nigeria. Schools and other socio-economic activities involving adolescents and pregnant women have been very cautious about their safety. Adolescents have become more vulnerable to risky sexual activities, including sexual abuses by military men and adults. Men’s resistance to involvement in the continuum of care for pregnant women right up to childbirth has always been a cultural problem, now worsened by political and economic instability.
Call to Action: Urgent Funding Need
At this critical point, CASD is unfortunately short of resources to continue the Paternity Clinic beyond June 2019 and the HIV/family planning program in 2020. With just $250/month, CASD can improve the birth experience for 20 families at risk. Every $100 enables 25 adolescents to be tested for HIV and have access to family planning services.
To donate to CASD, please visit our Donate page and designate for Cameroon Agenda for Sustainable Development (CASD). If you write a check, please send to our attention and write CASD in the memo line.
Guest blog by Numfor Alenwi, Founder/Director, Cameroon Agenda for Sustainable Development