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News and Resources

Creating Economic Opportunities for the Improvement of Housing

News and Resources

By Kelly MacMillan


Rooftops Canada’s partner organization, the Coalition of Non Governmental and Community Based Organizations Working in Human Settlements in Cameroon (CONGEH), understands that women’s income-generating activities significantly enhance a family’s living conditions. CONGEH is a coalition of over 30 member organizations.


A major challenge CONGEH encounters in its housing and human settlements work is the inability of rural producers, particularly women, to access markets. Many factors contribute to this situation, including poor infrastructure and a lack of transportation. CONGEH and its members have responded by developing the Centre for Commerce and Development (CCD), a commercial space in Yaoundé for rural producers. Inspired by the principles of fair trade, the CCD enables producers to bypass intermediaries and receive a fair price for their goods and labour, which, in turn, increases their overall revenues.


Through the CCD CONGEH members work closely with rural producers, especially women, to help expand their productive capacity and improve the quality of their goods. Training programs reinforce women’s capacities in areas such as sewing, dying fabrics, home restoration, interior design and information technology. The overall

goals are to improve women’s access to revenue, and allow them to get a better price for their goods. This increased income can then be reinvested into the household.


Through initiatives like the CCD, CONGEH is working in the spirit of this year’s International Rural Women’s Day theme. It is helping women become the leaders of today and tomorrow by promoting gender equality and the building of better homes and communities.