Andrea Lynch, a former IWHC staffer, has authored a report published by the Population Council that looks at child marriage and features the work of our partner the Association for the Struggle Against Violence Against Women (ALVF). IWHC was one of the first major partners of ALVF: in 1998 our support enabled them to open their first office and drop-in center, which allowed the organization to operate independently from the Cameroonian government.
Here’s what a day is like at the center:
On a typical day, women filter in all morning to speak to one of the Center’s two social workers, or to the psychologist who sees clients two days a week. In the afternoons, women gather for classes. They learn basic French (their first language is Fulfulde) along with information about such topics as sexual and reproductive health, citizenship, violence, girls’ rights, and the causes and consequences of forced and early marriage. Periodically, the Center holds open-door days, inviting members of the surrounding communities to learn more about and become involved with its work.Women and girls hear about the Center from a variety of sources, including word of mouth, community outreach events, radio, the Center’s own sign, other organizations, and state agencies. From the moment a woman first enters the Center, it is she who decides how her case will unfold. As the social workers explain, their job is not to tell a woman what to do; it is to accompany her for the duration of her process and remain her unwavering ally along the way.
You can download the PDF of the report for free here.