Community Education and Development (CEDS) Services works with grassroots communities in Northwest Province and South Province of Cameroon, which have little or no access to the vast majority of NGO services available in the country. In addition to leadership training for grassroots women's groups, village councils, and national and regional organizations, CEDS carries out HIV/AIDS sensitization in prisons, post-primary institutions and rural communities. CEDS also conducts information communication technology (ICT) training for women at the WLP-CEDS Information Technology (IT) Center in Bamenda, Cameroon.
In cooperation with the Women's Leadership Project(WLP), CEDS ensures that leadership training is accessible to grassroots women in areas often neglected by large NGOs. CEDS has empowered women to mobilize collectively and cooperate on a diverse range of projects. In the equatorial forest, workshop participants in one community challenged a harmful cultural practice where girls were committed into marriage before they were born. In Nkambe, workshop participants launched the Nkambe Women's Credit Union to increase women's access to credit. Women who participated in leadership training in Ndop formed the Ngoketunjia Food Cooperative and started a rice hulling and packaging project. A year later, they had a positive balance in their account at the Bamunka Ndop Credit Union.
Learning Institutes for Women's Leadership and Training of Trainers:
Two representatives from CEDS participated in the Africa Learning Institute for Women's Leadership and Training of Trainers in Calabar, Nigeria in February 2005, along with 22 women NGO leaders from seven additional African countries - Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. The goal was to strengthen participants' leadership capacity, equipping them with the tools to empower women to become effective decisionmakers in their families, communities, and societies. CEDS plans to conduct a National Institute for Women's Leadership and Training of Trainers in 2007, bringing together English and French speaking women NGO leaders from across the country.
ICT Capacity Building:
The WLP-CEDS IT Center in Bamenda, Cameroon has increased CEDS' organizational capacity by enabling better documentation of CEDS' activities and improving the ICT skills of CEDS' staff. ICT workshop participants are given individually tailored courses using a flexible training timetable to accommodate their work schedules. Participants are trained in the use of word processing, spreadsheet, database, and accounting tools, as well as the use of ICTs for research and advocacy. ICT workshop participants include NGO staff and local journalists. A senior journalist with the Cameroon Radio and Television (CRTV) said, "CEDS' contribution to the education of women is critical because most women in the Northwest Province have not had access to computers." The IT Center will be expanded and upgraded during 2006.