Strengthening The Capacity of Women Organizations to Deliver on Gender and SDGs in Nigeria

 

 

 

Participants@ the training

Overtime, various attempts have been made to reduce the level of poverty in Africa, improve women’s socio-economic status, and ensure their access to land, water, sanitation and energy but it always appears no significant results have been achieved. The efforts seem not trickling down to the women on the ground

One of the programs that has enabled countries to measure the impacts of development efforts in recent times is the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which has now metamorphosed into the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and or the 2030 Agenda

The 2030 Agenda includes 17 goals and 169 targets aimed to transform our world by eradicating poverty and any cruelty that demeans human dignity. It is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity which is expected to be achieved by year 2030. It is hoped that all countries and stakeholders acting in collaborative partnership will work towards the achievement of the SDGs without leaving anyone behind.

 

Ms Akosa Training participant

The Centre for 21st Century (C21st) and Echoes of Women in Africa (ECOWA) in partnership with Women Environmental Programme (WEP) organized a one day step down training on Gender and the SDGs. The training is part of the activities under the project “Women CSOs Networking to Realize the Sustainable Development Goals”, also called “Women2030 Project,” funded by the European Commission. The project is also being implemented in other countries of the world by other partner organizations namely: Women Engage for a common Future (WECF), Gender and Water Alliance (GWA), Global Forest Coalition (GFC), and Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD).

 

The workshop which held on 18th June, 2017 at the conference hall of West Africa Network for Peace building (WANEP) drew participation from women and gender focused NGOs, local and indigenous women  different Civil Society Organizations.

The overall objective of the workshop was to ensure that Women 2030 project builds a base in Africa that will ensure women’s needs are addressed. This was done through emphasizing the importance of gender for policy advocacy and SDGs, movement building, organizational management and the use of social media in gender and SDGs advocacy. Advocacy can be done for particular issues including the SDGs.

The training was interactive and facilitators engaged participants in group work. Skills and what participants do on SDGs were mapped out at the training. This was to help them identify their issues and take action appropriately.

 

CSOs who participated in the training  easily identified the gender and SDGs areas where their organizations have been working, the advocacy approaches they are using; which range from visible approach such as community mobilization and media campaigns to less visible approach such as advocacy letters and research.  They were also able to note the advocacy skills that stand them out and the ones they need. They expressed desire to improve their writing, mobilization, communication and research skills; all tools needed for effective advocacy on gender and SDGs. This information will enable the facilitators assist them more on the.

Apart from the fact that participants at the training were exposed to indepth knowledge on gender and SDGs and how their organizations can impact the grassroots, government and the private sector successfully, other significant features of the Women 2030 programme is to help emerging CSOs stabilize and also help with organizational development, sub-grant to those working and doing what aligns with 2030 project and those who have grafting skills in writing shadow report will be engaged.

Participating CSOs were content with the skills and awareness imbued in them in other to enable them forge alliances that will bring about the impactful implementation of the SDGs in Nigeria.

 

Participants in group work session

 

 

5 Important Things to know In Engaging Women to Develop Local Gender and Social Development Action Plan

In march  2016, the Centre for 21st century issues on behalf of Educational Coperative society  facilitated   a two day workshop for the development of a 5 year Gender and social development Action plan for Itamapako Community in Ogun state of Nigeria. It was a participatory strategic planning event  aimed at engaging community women to lead in planning and addressing community basic needs that are not yet attended to. The specific objective of the workshop is to promote communal processes, which can help expand the active presence of women in concerted processes of development in Itamapako area of Ogun State.

It was a highly interactive workshop that saw the women take ownership of the process. About 36 women drawn from the 6 Communities that make up Itamapako participated in the workshop.  The women were passionate and eager to work in solidarity to move their community forward

The 5 important  things to know in the process of developing a Local Gender and Social Development Action Plan were brought to the fore during the workshop and they are;

  1. Engaging women as a groups on their own terms to identify community needs helps to bring out the real issues that requires urgent  intervention in the community-The women showed in-depth knowledge of their community, they profiled their community by giving detailed information of water sources, festivals , state of basic amenities, major economic activities, religion  and other information. They identified their needs and ranked them in order of importance.  Some of the key issues identified for urgent action are, revitalization of their abandoned market, access to portable water provision of public toilets in the community, provision of clean cook stoves and women’s human rights training for political empowerment.
  2. Women have informed opinion about community needs– The women gave articulate justification for all the issues identified. On the market issue they gave vivid account of how miscreants used to scare them away from the market by placing  fetish sacrifices at the centre of the market. They know it was the handy work of herbalist in the community supporting some groups who wants the market taken away from their community to another place.
  3. Women have the capacity to self organize and  negotiate for changes -It was interesting to see the Itamapako women provided practical solutions to all the challenges identified in the community. One of innovative strategy they came up with was to form a negotiating team made of women leaders to meet with the traditional rulers of the communities. They sighted instances of occasions where women leaders had taken up the challenge to meet with traditional rulers to speak with herbalist in the communities to stop preparing sacrifices that are placed at the market square. They were able to organize themselves to access seedlings to introduce plantain cultivation in the community.
  4. Women are ready to contribute to the development of their community-Each woman participating in the workshop made at least one  commitment to towards the successful implementation of the action plan developed. Some women volunteered to identify areas where public toilet can be situate, some volunteered to raise awareness about availability of adult literacy classes, some decided to team up with the community Development forum to monitor the repairs going on in the community  primary school, others joined the team that will clean up the market.
  5.   Women are interested in learning more about women’s right and gender mainstreaming for political empowerment In as much as the women expressed fears about  the perception and resistance from men about their political aspiration they still  voiced the need for a systemic women’s right training that will galvanize them to take appropriate step to attain political decision making positions in the community. According to them knowledge is power . They are of the opinion that their  inadequate knowledge about women’s rights issues is a stumbling block to articulating practical strategies to participate meaningfully in the political space.

    A key lesson learnt in the process is  that its  is of crucial importance to provide the space  for women to be able to voice their needs and be drivers of change that will transform their community.

MAKE GENDER EQUALITY HAPPEN FOR WOMEN IN 2015 GENERAL ELECTIONS IN NIGERIA

 

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Being the text of a press release by Centre for 21st Century Issues in celebration of the 2015 International Women’s Day

Centre for 21st Century Issues Nigeria celebrates with women all over the world and in particular, Nigerian women on the occasion of the International women’s day (IWD) 2015.

The 2015 IWD is of particular importance to Nigerian women as it is coming at a time when Nigeria is preparing for what many has described as the most hotly  contested election in the history of Nigeria.

Nigerian women are not unaware of the events that have led to the recent postponement of the 2015 general elections. The unprecedented violence which have trailed the build up to the elections, the low representation of women candidates contesting the elections, less commitment to gender equality issues by candidates and parties contesting elections; and the grave impacts of the Boko Haram insurgency which have disproportionately affected Nigerian women and children.

Nigerian women are deeply disturbed by the call for further postponement of the elections, the removal of the INEC chairman and imposition of an illegal interim government on Nigerians by anti-democracy tendencies in the land.  Noting that any attempt to heed this call is capable of jeopardizing the electoral process and may foist constitutional crisis on the nation thus overheating the already tensed political atmosphere.

We are continuously saddened about the Boko haram insurgency and the inability of the federal government to bring back the chibok girls abducted by Boko Haram since April 2014.

Nigerian women therefore call on the federal government to;

  • As a matter of urgency step up efforts to bring back the Chibok girls
  • Ensure may 29th Handover date is sacrosanct
  • Shun any call for interim government and tenure elongation
  • Resist the attempt to remove the INEC chairman before the expiration of his tenure.

Calls on Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) to;

  • Resist any attempt to shift elections dates and ensure that free fair, peaceful and credible elections happen in Nigeria come May 28th and April 11th 2015
  • Ensure that all  Permanent Voters card (PVC) are ready for collection well ahead of the election dates
  • Proceed with the use of the smart card readers to reduce electoral irregularities and rigging.

Calls on Political parties and their candidates to;

  • Make commitments to gender equality and women’s empowerment in their electoral campaigns
  • Respect the tenets of democracy and shun violence and all appearances of violence before, during and after election.
  • Stick to issue based campaign.

Calls on Nigerians to;

  • Conduct themselves peacefully before during and after elections
  • Go out on election days to exercise their inalienable rights to vote for the candidates of their choice
  • Vote for candidates that demonstrate commitments to gender equality and women’s empowerment.
  • Vote for candidates that Commit to 35% affirmative action in appointive positions.
  • Shun money politics

CONCLUSION

As Nigerian women, we will continue to demand for greater accountability to gender equality and women’s empowerment. We know that there cannot be a haven for women if the political process is intentionally disrupted by the actions or inactions of anti-democratic tendencies, rather women and children stand to suffer the more if the electoral process is truncated. Let us therefore strive to make Nigeria a haven for women by voting for peace, gender equality, free, fair and credible elections.

Happy International women’s day! Longl live Nigeria! God bless women worldwide!

Ms Titilope Akosa

Executive Director ,

Centre for 21st Century Issues

6 Balogun street, Ikeja , Lagos