Rural Entrepreneur Project
Yvonne Limnyuy was only 21 years old when she founded the "Rural Entrepreneur Project" in her community in Cameroon. With the support of Peace First, Yvonne's initiative aimed at providing young women with tailoring skills and encouraging them to become entrepreneurs.
Achieving financial independence is a crucial factor in empowering women in Cameroon by equipping them with the necessary resources to start their own businesses and secure stable employment.
Yvonne knew that providing knowledge and training was not enough; she also wanted to instill in these women a spirit of empowerment and entrepreneurship. To achieve this, Yvonne partnered with local training centers for tailoring, an expert female tailor, and the community head, and made sure that the people of the community understood the importance of encouraging young girls to pursue financial independence.
When asked about how the project helped her deepen her understanding of the injustice, Yvonne replied,
"It made us understand that most young girls in the Mayo-Kani division in Cameroon have big dreams but are not allowed to talk about them because of gender stereotypes in this region. Girls are forced into early marriages and romantic relationships, leading to unwanted pregnancies."
Because community norms greatly impact gender stereotypes, Yvonne's team visited the girls' neighbors and families in their houses to give them awareness about the importance of empowering women.
Yvonne faced some challenges in her efforts to make a change in her community. Rallying family members for meetings was difficult due to their busy schedules, and it sometimes forced her to reschedule meetings and slow down the project. Listening to people's opinions before sharing her beliefs was also challenging due to the difference in ideology.
Despite these obstacles, Yvonne persevered. Cameroon is the African country with the third-highest rate of female entrepreneurs, after Nigeria and South Africa. Yvonne's initiative has contributed to this impressive statistic by equipping young women with skills that enable them to start their own businesses.
To young people starting their own changemaking projects, Yvonne advises them to exercise patience, courage, and empathy towards the population they are serving. She also encourages them to be inquisitive about things related to their cause. With these qualities, they can make a difference in their communities, just like Yvonne.