Today, Tessa, Daniella, and Njume conducted a CAM’s visit to Mofako Bekondo to meet with Chief Ekumbe Thompson Itoe as well as the heads of the women’s council, women’s social group, and vigilante group. It was Tessa’s first time visiting Mofako, so the trip also served to orient her with the village, the community, and the CAM’s Project on the ground.
Unfortunately, the Chief had left the village to conduct business in Kumba for the day, so the GCI staff members had to drop off their meeting agendas with the hopes that exploratory sessions for the future gender equality and mob justice workshops could be held the following week. Afterwards, the staff took the opportunity to observe a traditional council session, which, at the moment, was mediating a marital dispute.
Through their council observations, Daniella, Njume, and Tessa immediately noticed some positive results that have stemmed from GCI’s recent work in Mofako. First, the session overall was conducted in an orderly fashion, with councilors taking turns to speak and the Chairman maintaining a perceptible order in the room at all times. Second, the councilors were not drinking palm wine during the session, which had been a problem in the past; as a result, councilors were attentive and consistently participated in the mediation. Third, the only female councilor, who had been either absent or completely silent for past sessions, was vocal and self-assured through the session.
After surveying the council and the community over the summer, GCI identified the aforementioned issues as problems that would be resolved most effectively by the Chief’s direct intervention. Over the last two weeks, the Chief discussed drinking, orderly conduct, and female participation with the council, which thus produced the changes that GCI observed today.
Moving forward, GCI will be returning to Mofako Bekondo this week to conduct the exploratory sessions and prepare for its second round of workshops and outreach in the village.