BAYA – Providing Platform For Women To Fight Stigmatization Against HIV

The prevalence of HIV/AIDS has unfortunately remained an ‘epidermic of women’ in most local communities around Cameroon because of their unequal cultural and economic status in society. In such communities, initiating discussions about sex remains a taboo especially amongst women and girls.
Most women living with HIV are often considered promiscuous and this explains why they suffer from stigma the most. Setting a platform where women and girls can be free to share experiences in a more relaxed way will go a long way to relieving them of the existing pressure which seems to have clouded social discussions amongst women and young girls.
BAYA enterprise, a non-governmental organization based in Bamenda, North West Regional capital of Cameroon has recently been involved in open discussions with women of reproductive age and has empowered several underprivileged girls from rural areas surrounding Bamenda.
The organization whose mission is to promote women’s sexual and reproductive health in Cameroon through capacity building, behavioural change communication and promoting access to information and communication technologies was founded by Chei Marvellus and Ngek Lois; both award winning youth advocates of womens rights.
According to Chei Marvellus, coordinator of BAYA enterprise, ‘women are front liners, and nothing, not even HIV virus is strong enough to keep a woman at the back. We are therefore making use of a partnership approach by collaborating with stakeholders within our local communities including government institutions, local authorities and the private sector to empower women and underprivileged girls.’
‘We are particularly interested in working with hairdressers in saloons, at showbiz events and other such places where women meet in their thousands to do their hair or relax. Often a lot of discussions and advice is exchanged by women in such fora. Sometimes wrong information about HIV/AIDS information is shared. It is vital to reach out to women in such places to provide them with good information while they make themselves look beautiful or enjoy culture and arts.’
Marvellus and Lois have big dreams for BAYA. They hope it can become the ‘one-stop shop’ for women and everything reproductive health in Cameroon.
To learn more about BAYA and their work, you can visit their Facebook page at

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