Many of the problems faced by children will only be eradicated with political support or new legislation

CAPEC campaigns for long-term change in addition to providing shorter-term support to improve children’s lives. As a national organization in Cameroon, CAPEC has a powerful voice in campaigning for change, and a track-record of success. CAPEC encourages its supporters to put pressure on decision-makers and opinion leaders to change policies and practices, nationally, to ensure that children’s rights become reality.

Forced Child Marriage

This phenomenon is being practised by the Bacheves, Olitis, and Assumbo clans of Akwaya, a subdivision in Manyu Division of the South West Region of Cameroon. Akwaya is along Cameroon’s border with Nigeria. During CAPEC’s initial visit to Akwaya, we interviewed many children forced by their parents into marriage. The fact finding visit was done with the collaboration of the Social Welfare Commission of the Mamfe Diocese, Akwaya Parish Social Welfare Commission and local traditional and civil authorities. Through this campaign, CAPEC intends to withdraw victims of early child marriage whose parents, because of poverty, used them as surety to borrow money

Elimination of Child Labour

Childhood should be a happy time spent playing with friends, enjoying a favorite toy or even planning for the first day of school. But some children in Cameroon spend most of their childhood in plantations. Child labor is a serious breach of children’s rights. CAPEC is calling on plantation owners to stop the recruitment of child laborers and also calls for government intervention. A lot of children work in cocoa and rubber plantations in Cameroon.

Breast Ironing

Breast ironing is the unorthodox practice by some parents to discourage the growth of the breasts of their daughters by pressing them with hard objects like grinding stones, sticks and even iron. This often achieves the expected goal of hampering the normal growth of the breast. The usual reason given for this practice is the intention by parents to delay early signs of maturity and prevent teenage prostitution. Though that may sound plausible, experience has proven that the practice is both torture of the affected girl child and later affects her the normal development into full womanhood. CAPEC is calling on all parents practising breast ironing on their daughters to stop the practice. Its adverse effects are often noticed only when children grow up. CAPEC also calls on the government of Cameroon to put an end to this practice.