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.

Women’s Working Group Reaction to FfD Outcome Document

WOMEN’S WORKING GROUP ON FINANCING FOR DEVELOPMENT REACTION TO THE OUTCOME DOCUMENT OF THE THIRD FfD CONFERENCE

The Women’s Working Group on Financing for Development (WWG on FfD) expresses its strong disappointment with the Addis Ababa Action Agenda adopted at the conclusion of the Third Financing for Development Conference that took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 13 to 16 July 2015.

For feminists and women’s rights organizations, the Outcome document of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development: Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA) fails to remove the global obstacles to development and to shift the balance of power in the international financial architecture in order to address systemic issues and create the conditions to respect, protect and fulfill human rights, in particular women’s rights. It fails also to acknowledge the macro-economic dimension of the unpaid domestic and care work and the need to reduce and redistribute it among the State, private sector, communities, families, men and women.

The AAAA might leave the impression to some that it is strong on gender equality, women’s empowerment and women’s rights. However, while the AAAA, importantly notes in the first paragraph a commitment to respect all human rights, including the right to development, and that member states will ensure gender equality and women’s and girls’ empowerment, it lacks an integrated, consistent and explicit human rights based approach. The references to gender equality and women also rely on previously agreed language (i.e. Rio+20, Open Working Group (OWG) of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Doha), some of which consolidate regressive formulations (i.e., as found in Paragraph 6), others rely heavily on private sector contributions to achieving gender equality (such as Para 41).

Moreover, some of the references about women’s rights in the outcome document show strong tendencies towards the instrumentalization of women (i.e. Para 21) and to financing gender equality and women’s empowerment as a means to achieve economic growth, to increase productivity and to improve economic performance. This reference is limiting, rather than realizing women’s and girls’ human rights as per the foundation of the UN.

The outcome document has seriously reduced the integrity of the Financing for Development (FfD) agenda. On several points, there has been a serious retrogression from the commitments made in Monterrey (2002) and Doha (2008). The potential of removing global obstacles to development, setting the right priorities, policies and rules for financing the SDGs/Post 2015 Development Agenda and allowing for the full implementation of other internationally agreed development agendas, including those critical for women’s rights such as the Beijing Platform for Action and the Cairo Programme of Action is being severely curtailed.

The global partnership between developed and developing countries established in the Monterrey Consensus has been weakened by the developed countries through: i) their promotion of multi-stakeholder partnerships, ii) their lack of commitment to address systemic issues in the United Nations (UN), iii) their inability to fully recognize and respect the principle of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR) and iv) their disagreement over the establishment of an FfD Commission. While the document includes a narrative of “sustainable development”, it still relies on orthodox economic assumptions regarding growth, ‘trickle-down effects’, commodification of nature and people. The WWG on FfD flags the following key issues and demands structural changes in the global economic governance and development architecture in order to move:

  1. From ignoring systemic imbalances to creating a rights-based pro-development multilateral economic and financial architecture.
  2. From making the business case on women’s empowerment, to respecting, protecting and fulfilling women’s human rights and establishing the structural conditions to realize these rights.
  3. From creating an enabling environment to attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), promoting Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) and talking “womenomics” towards safeguards, investment frameworks that have binding norms, including for Transnational Corporations, that are consistent with Human Rights.
  4. From imbalanced global trade rules to respecting developing countries policy space for productive diversification, decent work for women, and sustainable industrial policy.
  5. From taxing women in the informal economy, to progressive taxation and international tax cooperation.
  6. From using Official Development Assistance (ODA) and development cooperation, to leveraging private finance and follow donor priorities, towards untied, additional and predictable ODA and development cooperation that contributes to the respect, protection and fulfilment of gender equality, human rights and sustainable development.
  7. From “new social compacts”, towards the implementation of comprehensive and universal social protection systems and public services.
  8. From reducing the FfD agenda to the Means of Implementation of the Post 2015 Agenda, towards a robust FfD mandate and follow up mechanism that maintains the integrity of FfD commitments in order to remove global obstacles for the implementation of all internationally agreed development agendas.

As feminists and women´s human rights organizations, we reaffirm the centrality of ensuring respect, protection and fulfillment of women`s human rights also in the Financing for Development Agenda. The Forum for Financing for Development, more than ever, will be the space in which we continue to strive for structural commitments to change the current economic and financial rules, system and unequal power relations. We will keep on demanding the level of ambition needed to achieve this task from Member States, so that true actions to subvert structural inequalities are implemented

Link to Full 39-Page Addis Ababa Conference 2015 Financing for Development Outcome Document:

http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/CONF.227/L.1

LASGAT Decries Poor Women’s Representation in Elective Positions

PRESS RELEASE BY LAGOS STATE GENDER ADVOCACY TEAM (LASGAT)

The Lagos State Gender and Advocacy Team (LASGAT), congratulates all candidates who contested and won in the just concluded 2015 general elections. LASGAT particularly congratulate all women who won elections into elective positions nationwide.

We are however  deeply concerned that the outcomes of the 2015 elections has produced less than 10% of women in elective positions nationwide resulting in a marked reversal in women’s representation in elective position compared to past years. This situation no doubt is discouraging and could lead to the further marginalization of women in politics and public life in future.

Nevertheless, LASGAT still believes that the low representation of women in elective positions can be addressed by giving women the opportunity to serve in appointive positions in government.

LASGAT hereby ,calls on the federal and states government to increase the representation of women in appointive positions by ensuring that women occupy  nothing less than 50% of all appointive positions in Nigeria.

LASGAT has a list of qualified women in all spheres of human endeavour who can be appointed to serve the country. LASGAT is ready to work with the Federal and States Government to recommend credible and qualified women for appointive positions.

Meanwhile, we call on all successful candidates   to leverage on the opportunities provided by their victory at the 2015 polls to pursue requisite measures to mainstream gender equality and promote women’s empowerment in all their undertakings as representatives of the people.

Dr Keziah Awosika                                  Ms Titilope Akosa

Chairperson LASGAT                             Coordinator LASGAT

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A CALL TO ACCELERATE ACTION IN ACHIEVING EQULAITY FOR NIGERIAN WOMEN BEING THE TEXT OF A PRESS STATEMENT ISSUED BY CENTRE FOR 21ST CENTURY ISSUES (C21st) ON THE OCCASION OF THE 2014 INTERNATIONAL WOMEN ‘S DAY CELEBRATION

A CALL TO ACCELERATE ACTION IN ACHIEVING EQULAITY FOR NIGERIAN WOMEN BEING THE TEXT OF A PRESS STATEMENT ISSUED BY CENTRE FOR 21ST CENTURY ISSUES (C21st) ON THE OCCASION OF THE 2014 INTERNATIONAL WOMEN ‘S DAY CELEBRATION
Centre for 21st Century Issues (C21st) join the global world in celebrating the International Women`s Day (IWD) today 8th March 2014.
This year’s IWD celebration is a very significant moment for Nigerian women in that it is coinciding with the celebration of Nigeria’s 100years as a Nation, the kicking off of the National Dialogue and the processes leading to the transition from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Undoubtedly it is an important policy moment to raise awareness about critical areas where government needs to accelerate efforts in achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment in Nigeria.
C21st welcome some states governments initiative in enacting gender sensitive Laws (such as Domestic violence law, child rights Law and the Gender equality and opportunities Law) and the efforts by the current government to achieve equality for Nigerian women through its various policy pronouncements supporting women’s right.
We are however deeply concerned that government words are yet to match their actions in achieving equality for the Nigerian woman. We are concerned that;
1. In spite of women ‘s contribution to the development of Nigeria , the percentage representation of women in politics and governance is still less than 35% affirmative action target stipulated under the Nigerian National gender policy.
2. The National dialogue which is a key policy space to galvanize action for the achievement of equality for women parades less than 35% representation for women.
3. Nigeria still has one of the highest rates of maternal and infant mortality in the world
4.Women and girls in Nigeria are still exposed to all forms of violence and abuse. One in 3 women and girls aged 15-24 have been victims of violence.
5.Majority of Nigerian women are still poor and Nigerian women has one of the lowest rates of female entrepreneurship in sub-Saharan Africa.
6. Nigeria has one of the lowest rates of gender energy poverty index.
7. Women and girls are at the receiving end of disasters occasioned by the impacts of climate change and the violent conflicts.
8.As the nation is progressing with the global world to transit from the M DGs to the new SDGs, Nigeria still displays high level of inequality which disproportionately affects women.

21st hereby calls for accelerated action in the above highlighted areas and calls on Nigerian government and all stakeholders to as a matter of urgency;
1.Implement 35% affirmative action to increase the number of women in politics and governance
2.Increase women representation to not less than 35% in the forthcoming National dialogue.
3. Ensure that gender equality and women empowerment issues are central in all discussions during the National Dialogue
3.Strengthen the implementation of domestic violence law and enact the gender equality and opportunities Law in all states of the federation
4.Ensure protection and adequate security for the lives and property of all Nigerians especially those living in the Boko- Haram catchment areas
5.Adopt and implement minimum social protection floors and /standard to address poverty, losses and damages arising from the impacts of climate change and inequality generally for equitable and just development.

C21st joins Nigerian women in mourning the death of children and other citizens killed as a result of Boko- Haram attacks in the Northern part of Nigeria and pray that God will give the families of the dead the fortitude to bear the losses.
We celebrate and congratulate all women including Nigerian women for their relentless effort in achieving equality for women.
God bless Nigerian women.
Signed

MS Titilope Akosa
Executive Director Centre for 21st Century Issues (C21st), Lagos, Nigeria
This 8th day of March 2014
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