Ruth Abunaw Besong
Program Officer for Africa
Ruth Abunaw is a Program Officer for Africa at the GNWP. Throughout her career, Ruth has worked with multicultural institutions such as Plan International Cameroon, Counterpart International Cameroon, Relief International Cameroon and the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPs). She volunteered for Oxfam International Peterborough United Kingdom and the United Nations online Volunteer Program. Ruth has had several capacity-building sessions and earned professional certifications from institutions such as the Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping Training Center (KAIPTC) Accra – Ghana, L‘Ecole de Maintien de la Paix Alioune Blondin Beye (EMP-ABB) in Mali, Ministry of External Relations Cameroon, European Union & UNREC, and The CommonWealth. Through these trainings, she has experience in gender, peace and security; gender-based violence prevention and response in Africa; conflict-sensitive project management, the integration of gender in small arms and light weapons control in Cameroon; and gender and violent extremism.
Through her position at Investing in People Worldwide Cameroon, she effectively engaged women and youth who had suffered as a result of the socio-political crisis in the country. Her service within local communities in Cameroon earned her several international awards, including the Anglia Ruskin University Vice Chancellor Outstanding Alumni Award (1st runner up) and the Global Goodwill Ambassador to the GGA Foundation USA. She also received Congressional recognition from US Congressman Hank Johnson for her outstanding contribution to peacebuilding and crisis management in Cameroon and Central Africa. Ruth was awarded an Honorary Citizenship Award by the Dekalb County Board of Commissioners in Atlanta, Georgia, for her service to the county during her professional development experience with the Dekalb Government. Ruth is a certified civic engagement leader from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, in the USA through the sponsorship of the United States Department of State as a young African leader under the Mandela Washington Fellowship (MWF) flagship program.
Ruth recently served at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Center (KAIPTC) Accra, Ghana, as a project officer for the Humanitarian Assistance in West Africa Project funded by the Austrian Development Agency and the Austrian Federal Ministry of Defence. While co-facilitating training sessions under the women empowerment extension component of the project, Ruth trained women humanitarian leaders from West and Central Africa on female leadership and empowerment for their career advancement.
Ruth’s academic interests include conflict management, women’s economic empowerment and their participation in international trade and business, human rights, migration and development, among others.
Ruth holds degrees in Laws and Logic (LBB) from the University of Buea in Cameroon, International Business from the Anglia Ruskin University United Kingdom, and she is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Gender and Development at the University of Buea in Cameroon. Her academic research focuses on the effects of armed conflict on women’s informal cross-border trade along the Cameroon-Nigeria borders.
Ruth also volunteers as a Central Africa Regional Representative for the Gender is My Agenda (GIMAC) Young Women Network where, together with other regional representatives across Africa, she participates in strategic policy advocacy and formulation with the African Union and other regional economic communities.
Ruth is fluent in English, French, and Pidgin English.