Saturday, June 2, 2012

NGO Challenges President Biya to Proclaim Father's Day

In a bid to make the celebration of Father’s Day in Cameroon a currency and to step up the visibility of this beautiful event as a complement to both Women’s Day and Mother’s Day, A Common Future Organization that works to transform lives and build common frontiers by highlighting the central role men can play in ending violence against women, girls and children urges President Paul Biya to sign a Father’s Day Proclamation that sets aside June 17 as Father’s Day in Cameroon, as obtains today around the world. In doing this, President Paul Biya would not only be paying tribute to his own father but also to all the fathers that toil day and night to see that the children they are bringing up are Cameroonians worthy of respect. It is today incumbent on President Paul Biya to proclaim a Father’s Day for, if his father did not swing the Bible as a catechist to raise him up, he would not be there today to swing his Presidential pen. It should be recalled that Father’s Day is intended to acknowledge and celebrate the important role a father plays in raising a child and consequently, building a stronger society. Though fathers have been revered at all times across civilizations, ironically what was missing until the last century was the official recognition of the significance of fathers in ones life. The Father’s Day story is the tale of the realization of the need for a father’s day festival primarily by Ms Sonora Louise Smart Dodd of Washington for a date to be set aside to honour all fathers and father-figures. The story goes that when in 1909, Sonora, then 27 years old, heard a Mother’s Day sermon, she started reflections on the hardships her father must have gone through while bringing up his six children alone after her mother died during childbirth. Sonora questioned that if there is a day to celebrate and recognize a mother then why is not there a day to honour a father? Her advocacy campaign bone fruits when on June 19, 1910, the local Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) celebrated Father’s Day. As Sonora’s Campaign intensified, President Lyndon Johnson signed a Presidential Proclamation in 1966 declaring the third Sunday of June as Father’s Day. By 1972, Father’s Day had become a hugely popular event across the world where people thank their fathers and pay tribute to them by offering gifts and cards. In Cameroon, the Baptist Church has upheld this tradition by recognizing the work of the Men’s Wing every June 17 during Sunday service. This year 2012 is the first time a civil society organization is stepping in to complement the church and to put Father’s Day at the forefront of public consciousness by organizing a campfire for youths and men on the evening of June 16, and a Roundtable conference after Church services on June 17, on the central role fathers play in building a strong society where men and women, as well as boys and girls have a common future. The conference which shall take place at the Ntamulung Church Hall, shall witness the participation of nationally acclaimed church leaders including Christian Cardinal Tumi and Ntumfor Barrister Nico Halle We urge youths and men fellowships, associations and civil society organizations to join us at the June 16 evening campfire at New Station Hill for prayers, singing and story telling about our own fathers and for the Sunday June 17, 3 pm conference to share the Father’s Day cake, exchange of gifts and the autograph of 200 copies of the book. “Ntumfor Nico Halle: An Inspiring Role Model” for Cameroonian youth Father’s Day activities shall also be launched on June 17, in Muteff, a village situated off the jaws of Fundong in Boyo Division where a football tournament Christianed Fulai-Nabeng Memoral Cup shall run to August 12, which is International Youth Day. This football competition which is in memory of a great father, Bobe Fulai Bain shall be used as a platform to sensitize youths along the River Ngwah valley on issues of HIV/AIDS, Sexual and Reproductive Health rights, violence against women and especially widow inheritance. The holiday competition shall end with the launch of a 100 page book, A Father’s Tribute in honour of my father, who, though death to this world, constantly reminds me in my dreams that: “Gwain, don’t forget my advice, grow up to be a man worthy of respect” Our lobbying and advocacy campaign comprises a “corridoring” at the National Assembly during this June session, newspaper publications, and radio and TV talk shows. All funds and resources mobilized during this campaign shall go to support the holiday sport competition in Muteff Village. A Common Future believes like George Bush at the 2007 Father’s Day Proclamation that, “Responsible fatherhood is important to a healthy and civil society”. Numerous studies confirm that children whose fathers are present and involved in their lives are more likely to develop into prosperous and healthy adults. Created in 2007, A Common Future works with men to end violence against women, girls and children in society by proposing alternative models of masculinity that are not necessarily in opposition to models of femininity and that allow men and women to share love, decision making and sexual and reproductive health decisions. 
For more information and to support our Father‘s Day activities call +237. 77 85 24 76 or email 

When News Breaks Out, We Break In. Minute by Minute Report on Cameroon and Africa

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