Helah Robinson

Helah Robinson (Vital Voices in Cameroon): Helah did her undergraduate degree at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. She graduated in 2009. During her studies, Helah studied in Dakar, Senegal for five months, traveled to Guinea and the Gambia and volunteered with the African Assembly for the Defense of Human Rights (RADDHO) in 2008. She also interned with Vital Voices Global Partnership. After her fellowship, Helah wrote: “As cliché as it sounds, this summer was truly a life changing experience. I learned not only new skills and how to work in varying environments, but much about myself as well. How I interact with people, work best with others and more. Furthermore, in a more practical sense, I had no video, editing, much interviewing or blogging experience before this summer. Now, I have developed those skills in addition to experience working abroad and more practice in a foreign language. I feel I am more capable, confident and equipped to do real substantial work.”

Action Phase: The Creation of UCOMAS

08 Jul

Spending 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for 5 weeks with one person can have one of two results. You either begin to morph into one being, or you both end up dead. Thankfully, Johanna and I seem to be leaning towards the former, which explains this week’s posts. As our time in Douala comes to an end, we decided to present a brief, yet comprehensive view of what we’ve been up to and what UCOMAS is all about. In two parts, our posts excerpt the documentary we produced while working with the union.

Johanna’s blog entitled “Assessment Phase: Understanding Women Traders’ Needs” profiles the women of the Sandaga Market, the problems they encounter and their need for more representation. In the face of “intimidation, manipulation, blackmail, and scams, [and] verbal, physical and sexual harassment,” as an opening sentence from the documentary explains, “they (women traders) must fight to secure the functioning of their commercial activities in order to improve of the conditions of their lives and those of their families.”

In the video below, I present a short introduction to the story of UCOMAS and its future. Vital Voices Global Partnership, a DC based NGO, partnered with Mme Kah Walla to launch the AMA Women Project whose goals were to empower the women traders and bolster their efforts at improving market conditions. After participating in the AMA Project’s leadership and advocacy trainings, the women decided to come together and “speak with one voice” to make change. Thus, you have: UCOMAS


We have also set up a Google site for the organization. Please check it out and give us feedback!


Posted By Helah Robinson

Posted Jul 8th, 2009


  • Walter James

    July 9, 2009


    Wow, you two have got a lot done already. Awesome stuff, Helah.

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