Helping African women to overcome gender bias

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Education for Cameroon’s women
By María V. R.
The Spanish NGO Zerca y Lejos (Z&L) sponsors a program in northern Cameroon (Africa) that gives academic scholarships to girls without financial resources, so that they can attend university. The aim is to help these young women avoid the trap of early marriage and a dependent life. Traditionally, the women in Cameroon have had very limited opportunities to advance their education. Poor families usually prefer to give their daughters in marriage in order to collect the dowry. Monika Tasou'ou' is one of the lucky ones who will realize her dream of studying at the University of Maroua. Z&L has guaranteed her a scholarship if she passes the entrance exams.

The government of Cameroon has actually made a great effort to achieve primary schooling for its entire population, and 85% of the children attend school. These figures go down in secondary education where just 53% of boys continue and only 15% of girls, according to data provided by UNICEF. By supporting more female university students, Z&L hopes to develop more intellectually respected women who can be models of success for the entire society. The eventual goal is to break the existing taboo with regard to the education of girls.


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