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Cameroon: Ensuring Inclusive and Peaceful Elections

A presidential election is a crucial moment for a country. Human rights are often at stake during elections, which often lead to political and local tensions. Building on the successful “Women Situation Room” done in Liberia and several other African countries, WILPF Cameroon created the Women’s Early Warning Centre to support peaceful elections in the country.

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WILPF International Secretariat
6 June 2019

A presidential election is a crucial moment for a country. Human rights are often at stake during elections, which often lead to political and local tensions. Building on the successful “Women Situation Room” done in Liberia and several other African countries, WILPF Cameroon created the Women’s Early Warning Centre to support peaceful elections in the country.

With the help of its members and volunteers, the Section and the Cameroon Women for Peaceful Elections Platform set up a Call Centre through which women and youths could report any incidents of electoral violence, in order to help WILPF Cameroon with the monitoring of the elections.

The Women’s Early Warning Centre was in full swing before, during and after the Cameroon presidential election that took place on 7 October 2018. The goal was to ensure that elections run in a fair and peaceful climate. After the election, the Centre attempts to prevent post-electoral violence and educates the population in preparation of the next elections.

The work continued after the elections. Sylvie Ndongmo, WILPF Cameroon President and National Coordinator of the Platform, with Guy Feugap, WILPF Cameroon Communications Officer, worked on a report gathering the lessons learned during the process. The report analyses the monitoring of conflict-driven factors, electoral violence and electoral violence against women during the electoral process.

It includes a comprehensive analysis of the entire election process: from the pre-election phase to the post-election period. WILPF’s Cameroon main goal was to ensure that Cameroon had free, inclusive, fair and peaceful elections. In particular, they wanted to ensure that women and youths get involved in the elections, by making sure they vote.

To be accessible by everyone in the country, the report is available in English and French.

How Did They Monitor the Elections?

Starting in September, WILPF Cameroon alerted on conflict-driven factors, educated and raised awareness of social and political actors on the importance of promoting peace and active non-violence.

In this phase, they already encountered a few issues such as multiple registration of certain voters, prohibition of meetings and rallies by opposition political parties and civil society organisations, and no specific provisions facilitating displaced person’s right to vote.

During the electoral campaign, WILPF started to notice electoral violence in the form of verbal attacks and destruction of candidates’ posters. Citizens also reported difficulties in collecting their voters’ cards.

As a means to effectively monitor the elections and attempt to ensure peaceful and fair elections, WILPF Cameroon trained and deployed 166 election observers in 9 regions. In the South-West region, the presence of armed separatists groups fighting against the government impeded observers to travel. Instead, the call centre turned out to be an appropriate replacement, which received 1,100 calls and messages.

These activities helped to enrich the report with data that they collected and analysed such as the main concerns for calling the centre, the rate of irregularities and violence reported through the call centre, the types of observed violence by both witnesses and the election observers, the cases of electoral violence against women, which laws were violated during the electoral process and other factors.

On 8 October 2018, Professor Maurice Kamto declared himself the winner of the elections in a press conference. The election results saw country-wide frustration.

WILPF Cameroon and the platform Cameroon Women for Peaceful Elections condemned the election process that they declared undemocratic and in violation of the constitution and other domestic and international regulations. They concluded that the elections were not free, inclusive, fair or peaceful. They urged the international community to shine a light on the undemocratic process and emphasise that just elections are vital to peace.

Lessons Learned

Unfortunately, electoral violence is still present in many parts of the world. WILPF Cameroon wrote recommendations based on this electoral process. The recommendations can be applied and used by other countries with upcoming elections that are at risk of not being free, inclusive, fair and/or peaceful elections.

Amongst others, they:

  • Urge the government to give accreditations to an adequate number of observers from civil society organisations;
  • Call for the improvement of the registration process of voters with immediate deliverance of voters’ cards;
  • Recommend the development of a code of conduct during the electoral process;
  • Ask political parties to preserve peace, improve the political education of party members;
  • Encourage women to run for elections;
  • Request civil society organisations to educate and inform the population on the necessity to live together in harmony and contribute to promoting social cohesion; and
  • Call the media and the government to educate citizens, in particular women and youth, on the importance of their participation in the electoral process.

Make sure to read the report in English or French for more recommendations and project ideas on how to ensure free, inclusive, fair and peaceful elections.

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WILPF International Secretariat

WILPF International Secretariat, with offices in Geneva and New York, liaises with the International Board and the National Sections and Groups for the implementation of WILPF International Programme, resolutions and policies as adopted by the International Congress. Under the direction of the Secretary-General, the Secretariat also provides support in areas of advocacy, communications, and financial operations.

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Melissa Torres


Prior to being elected Vice-President, Melissa Torres was the WILPF US International Board Member from 2015 to 2018. Melissa joined WILPF in 2011 when she was selected as a Delegate to the Commission on the Status of Women as part of the WILPF US’ Practicum in Advocacy Programme at the United Nations, which she later led. She holds a PhD in Social Work and is a professor and Global Health Scholar at Baylor College of Medicine and research lead at BCM Anti-Human Trafficking Program. Of Mexican descent and a native of the US/Mexico border, Melissa is mostly concerned with the protection of displaced Latinxs in the Americas. Her work includes training, research, and service provision with the American Red Cross, the National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Centre, and refugee resettlement programs in the U.S. Some of her goals as Vice-President are to highlight intersectionality and increase diversity by fostering inclusive spaces for mentorship and leadership. She also contributes to WILPF’s emerging work on the topic of displacement and migration.

Jamila Afghani


Jamila Afghani is the President of WILPF Afghanistan which she started in 2015. She is also an active member and founder of several organisations including the Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organisation (NECDO). Elected in 2018 as South Asia Regional Representative to WILPF’s International Board, WILPF benefits from Jamila’s work experience in education, migration, gender, including gender-based violence and democratic governance in post-conflict and transitional countries.

Sylvie Jacqueline Ndongmo


Sylvie Jacqueline NDONGMO is a human rights and peace leader with over 27 years experience including ten within WILPF. She has a multi-disciplinary background with a track record of multiple socio-economic development projects implemented to improve policies, practices and peace-oriented actions. Sylvie is the founder of WILPF Cameroon and was the Section’s president until 2022. She co-coordinated the African Working Group before her election as Africa Representative to WILPF’s International Board in 2018. A teacher by profession and an African Union Trainer in peace support operations, Sylvie has extensive experience advocating for the political and social rights of women in Africa and worldwide.

WILPF Afghanistan

In response to the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban and its targeted attacks on civil society members, WILPF Afghanistan issued several statements calling on the international community to stand in solidarity with Afghan people and ensure that their rights be upheld, including access to aid. The Section also published 100 Untold Stories of War and Peace, a compilation of true stories that highlight the effects of war and militarisation on the region. 

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