Violence against girls in and out of school settings is a problem that is on the rise in countries of sub-Sharan Africa. In Cameroon today, the abuse of girls has progressed into the realm of primary education affecting prepubescent girls, making schools unsafe spaces for girls and thereby, hindering them from accessing and furthering their education, basic rights and agency. A study on the victimization of primary school girls in Malawi funded by the United Nations found that girls are subject to several forms of violence as a result of their gender and that this disrupts their access to basic education (Bisika, Ntata and Konyani 2009). This study also established that there are various forms of violence against girls; prominent among these are beatings, sexual assault and rape by both boys and teachers, and discriminatory classroom practices that favor boys (ibid). Using this study as a basis for comparison with the situation in my country Cameroon, I argue that many girl children in Cameroon also suffer similar abuse today, and that the UN Millennium Development Goals of 2000 that aimed at ending gender-based violence, extreme poverty, and promoting primary education for girls in its Member States by 2015, which was the basis the Malawian study was carried out, have not been realized. Focusing on Cameroon and using a qualita-tive approach of data analysis, I use secondary data analysis that build upon Girls Studies, Gender-Based Violence and Third World/African feminisms. These theoretical frameworks help situate the African girl child in a global space that is unfavorable to her political and personal advancement. In order to examine the situation of the girl child in Cameroon, I make use of semi-structured interviews with grassroots advocates for girl child empowerment in Cameroon. This study therefore aims to understand whether Cameroonian girls ex-perience the same kinds of abuse as girls of other African countries; whether abuse inhibits girls’ access to primary education, and how grassroots advocates are involved in preventing or responding to abuse of girls.


Maria Bevacqua

Committee Member

Ana Perez

Committee Member

Agnes Odinga

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Social and Behavioral Sciences

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



Rights Statement

In Copyright