A Cameroonian Women’s activist, Aissa Doumara Ngatansou, has been awarded the inaugural Simone Veil Prize of the French Republic for her organization, l’Association de lutte contre les violences faites aux femmes, that helps victims of rape and forced marriages in Cameroon.
French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday awarded the inaugural Simone Veil Prize to Doumara on Friday, March 8, last International Women’s Day.
The 46-year-old dedicated the prize to “all women victims of violence and forced marriages, to all those who have escaped from Boko Haram,” the armed Islamist movement active in northeast Nigeria and across neighbouring borders.
The prize is worth 112,000 dollars (about 65 million FCFA).
The ceremony marked the 42nd International Women’s Day and the award was created in tribute to the life and work of Veil, who died in 2017, aged 89.
Last year, Veil became just the fifth woman to be laid to rest in the Pantheon in Paris, the burial site for France’s most distinguished citizens, along with her husband.
Aissa Doumara Ngatansou was born in 1972 and she hails from northern Cameroon. She was forced to marry at the age of 15 years. As a young girl she fought hard and finished high school, despite the fact that her in-laws were in denial.
She was beaten by her husband, and she fled home. In 1996, she co-founded a branch of the Association to Fight Violence against Women (AVLF) in Maroua.