Elle doit s’épanouir: The Women’s Entrepreneurial Program and Women’s Empowerment in Dschang

Class Year


Document Type

Student Research Paper

Date of Creation

Spring 2013

Department 1

Center for Global Education


This paper provides a field study of the Women’s Entrepreneurial Program (WEP) in Dschang, Cameroon. It looks at the obstacles that impede women’s involvement in Cameroon’s economic development and that keep them trapped in a cycle of poverty, especially their access to financing and socio-cultural influences. Notions of ‘women’s empowerment’ are discussed and an overview of the WEP’s functions and goals is provided. This study seeks to explore how access to micro-finance in conjunction with entrepreneurial training has impacted the economic situation of WEP participants as well as any corresponding changes in their culturally dictated roles and responsibilities. The gendering of household roles and responsibilities in the Grassfields region, heavily influenced by Bamiléké culture, is discussed in relation to the concept of ‘empowerment.’ A sampling of current and former WEP participants as well as staff involved in the WEP were interviewed to gain their perceptions of how financing and training have influenced the women’s daily lives and to gain their perspectives of what it means for a woman to be ‘empowered.’


This paper was written during the author's study abroad experience as part of the SIT Graduate Institute - Study Abroad Program. It is part of the Independent Study Project Collection.

Required Publisher's Statement

Original version is available from SIT Graduate Institute - Study Abroad Program at: http://digitalcollections.sit.edu/isp_collection/1497/