Marthe Wandou – Human Rights Profile

This month’s Human Rights Profile is Marthe Wandou. 

We think we are small, but now we are known worldwide. It’s visibility, but also recognition and support to girls’ and women’s rights. Since the situation in my region is more known now, I’m sure more people will be interested in learning and helping more. – Marthe Wandou.


Marthe Wandou is renowned Cameroonian gender and peace activist, who has been working towards eradicating sexual violence against children, particularly girls, since the 1990s. She was awarded the Right Livelihood Award in 2019 for her tireless work defending the rights of local girls and women. 

“courageous work in fighting sexual violence and promoting the wellbeing of girls and women in Cameroon and the Lake Chad Basin.”

Marthe has dedicated her life to fighting sexual violence against children. She is the founder of Action Locale pour un Développement Participatif et Autogéré (ALDEPA), an organization that provides a comprehensive approach to support the welfare of girls through education, psychosocial care, and legal assistance.

Wandou’s tireless work with ALDEPA has helped over 50,000 girls in Cameroon and the Lake Chad Basin region. The organization focuses on mobilizing entire communities, particularly by involving parents, children, and community leaders. ALDEPA has played a critical role in ending the practice of early marriage, providing school and life skills support, and helping families prosecute cases of rape, abduction, and physical violence.

Wandou has also been instrumental in providing psychosocial support for victims of sexual violence and abduction. This has been particularly crucial in her work with refugees and internally displaced persons affected by the Boko Haram extremist group in the Far North Region, where she is from in  Cameroon. In this context of insecurity and harmful cultural practices, Wandou has emerged as a courageous leader, fighting sexual violence and championing the wellbeing of girls and women.

Wandou’s work and recognition by the Right Livelihood Award underscores the importance of gender and peace activism in the fight against sexual violence and the promotion of human rights. Her holistic approach to addressing the needs of survivors of sexual violence and her focus on community mobilization have demonstrated the impact of bottom-up approaches to social change. By working with communities to challenge harmful cultural practices and build resilience, Wandou has created sustainable and effective solutions to the challenge of sexual violence.


Despite the challenging context of harmful cultural practices and insecurity, Marthe Wandou has emerged as a courageous leader in fighting sexual violence and promoting the wellbeing of girls and women in Cameroon and the Lake Chad Basin.

The Right Livelihood Award, also known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize,” is awarded annually to individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to social justice, environmental sustainability, and peace. Wandou was recognized with the award in 2019 for her “courageous efforts to protect the environment and human rights in the face of corporate greed and state violence.” 

Marthe Wandou’s work is an inspiration to activists around the world who are fighting for the rights of marginalized communities and the protection of the environment. Her dedication and courage in the face of adversity serve as a reminder of the power of grassroots activism to bring about meaningful change 

On 9 May, Marthe will be in Lund where she will hold a lecture. More information tbc. 

Read more about our Human Rights Profiles here.

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