By FD for APCNews MONTREAL, Canada, 09 May 2007
PROTEGE QV is an association, a group of people who are passionate about educating and promoting youth, women and leaders so that they can play their roles as citizens in full. The idea behind this is that these people contribute to the betterment of their community. PROTEGE QV currently roll out four programmes: clean energies, leadership, micro-entrepreneuship and ICT for development.
PROTEGE QV has started from the realisation that a substantial amount of good practices and research results rarely get channelled through to the beneficiaries for which these studies had been performed in the first place. The Yaoundé-based APC member, who brings the number of Francophone members at APC to three, catalyses innovative solutions and good practices to those who are in need, rural populations and women particularly.
Now ten years old, PROTEGE QV is the fruit that has developed out of the efforts and sacrifices of a group of people that has believed in the ideas promoted by PROTEGE QV.
“We work with about fifteen grassroots community organisations operating in rural environments of Cameroon,” insists Sylvie Siyam Siwe, PROTEGE QV director. “All these groups, we trained to handle ICTs.” Most have been trained on a face-to-face basis but PROTEGE QV also happened to make extensive use of short-distance radio stations in order to disseminate project updates.
APCNews: But if you had to list three main projects that you are investing your greatest resources towards, what would they be?
PROTEGE QV: Under the impulse of the Commonwealth Connects Programme, we are actually elaborating a tool –the Multimedia Resource Kit- that targets radio broadcasters for the support of micro-enterprises in rural and urban settings. This tool will included a CD, printed and distributed along with the Url that links to the full project description.
Other than that, PROTEGE QV is exposing school children and teachers from marginalised communities to the use of a computer and the internet. Concretely, this translates into the exchange among school children and teachers, between each other, as well as for preparing exams.
The third project PROTEGE QV has just finished carrying out is the training of leaders of community organisations in the strategic use of short text messaging on mobile phones. This way, it is believed, these leaders will be able to participate better in decision making.
PROTEGE QV, who’s been collaborating with the NGO AZUR développement from Congo-Brazzaville, is also focusing on empowering women.
APCNews: In 2003, you did a radio project that was meant to bring about a wind of change in Cameroon, in that is was going to empower women specifically. What have been the main consequences? What are you doing today in the field of women empowerment?
PROTEGE QV: The project you are talking about was implemented in 2003. At that time, it created a real click in our heads. We realised the potential of ICTs for training people that are geographically scattered.
The radio shows that were broadcasted were designed to empower women, but also to improve their leadership skills and provide tips on health for women head of families.
Leadership was the area that had the most important impact. Public administration authorities even rang us up to inform us of how popular people had found the trainings. The section of the curriculum on “creation of revenues” has also had a significant impact. This is true with regards to the high number of operations that were processed with micro-finance institutions after the trainings had taken place.
Today, we continue supporting micro-enterprise initiatives by women through our radio shows. We more or less reply to any doubts or questions by micro-entrepreneur women. PROTEGE QV even goes as far as to assist the set up of new micro-enterprises in providing feedback and informed advice to the women participants.