By Yerima Kini Nsom
The Executive Director of the non-governmental organisation known as Reach Out, Esther Omam, has been recognised and honoured by the State of Cameroon for her strides in peace-building, women’s empowerment, the protection of women and children’s rights as mediation in the logjam that is the main character of the Anglophone Crisis.
The Minister of Women’s Empowerment and the protection of the Family, Prof. Marie-Therese Abena Ondoua, on behalf of the State, honoured Esther Omam during a solemn ceremony to commemorate the 60th edition of the International Day of the African Woman in Yaounde on August 2.
Handing over an award to the civil society leader, the Minister lauded Omam for her tireless efforts in promoting peace, concord, women and children’s right in the crisis-hit Southwest Region. She said the recognition should encourage her to continue fighting for women’s empowerment and the protection of the rights of women and children.
She added that such a task is quite exalting, especially in a chauvinistic and male-dominated society in which women are constantly being discriminated against.
Esther Omam is a household name in the Cameroonian society when it comes to peace-buiding and promoting human rights and carrying humanitarian assistance in the Southwest Region of Cameroon. Her recognition did not come by happenstance.
She has rendered meritorious services to the nation in the civil society since 2000. She has received many awards for her resilient activism in the civil society. Besides other efforts, her activities in the promotion and protection of women and children’s rights took her to the Bakassi Peninsula in 2011.
Her endeavours in building a culture of peace and rights in Bakassi inspired her to advocate the Bakassi women’s participation in the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Re-unification of Cameroon before the Head of State, diplomatic missions, the international and national communities in February 2014.
She became the Peace and Human Rights champion of Bakassi, which earned her an award from the Canadian High Commission in Cameroon, in recognition of her valuable contribution to the protection and promotion of human rights in Cameroon.
Since 2016, she has been involved in peaceful activism to mediate and resolve the Anglophone conflict. She is the vision bearer of the Southwest/Northwest Women Taskforce, SNWOT, and the Vice President of the Southwest Women for Peace and Development Network – SWWOPDEN. She led a delegation of three women to the USA to meet key leaders of the non-state armed groups, NSAG, about school resumption in the Northwest and Southwest Regions.
She was leader of a delegation of 28 women in the pre-dialogue consultations with the Prime Minister, Chief Dr. Joseph Dion Ngute, in 2019. She facilitated the participation of women in the Major National Dialogue – 2019. Oman testified at the UNSC on May 2019 on the humanitarian situation in Cameroon.
Recently, she received the 2020 peace award in Cameroon from the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon Peace Office and Union of Peace Builders in Cameroon for being the pioneer woman in peace building. She also got the award of the Cameroon SHERO on COVID-19 prevention last October by the Women in Global Health Cameroon.
Omam has gained other recognitions for her work in the communities and Cameroon as a whole. She has received the 2020 Outstanding Humanitarian, Peace and Mediation Award by The Scoop Media and was a member of the organising committee for the first ever Cameroon Women’s Convention for Peace.
Omam works with local communities on humanitarian relief, peace and cohesion. Her organisation has served over 450,000 displaced persons and persons in need since the beginning of the Anglophone Crisis in 2016.