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WEP’s EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR RECEIVES ANOTHER AWARD AT THE HIGH LEVEL SYMPOSIUM ON SDG 6

 

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The Executive Director, Women Environmental Programme (WEP), Priscilla Achakpa, has received another award in addition to her catalogues of awards.

This award was presented to her during the High Level Symposium on SDG 6 in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, which held from 9th – 11th August, 2016. Over a thousand people including government officials, water policy experts, businesses, and civil society representatives gathered to discuss how to implement SDG 6.

This award is in recognition of her laudable contributions at national, regional and global levels to ensuring that no one is left behind in access to water and sanitation.

Priscilla Achakpa

Priscilla Achakpa is an Ashoka Fellow, and currently the National Coordinator, Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, Nigeria; and the Regional Focal Point, West and Central Africa for GEF-CSOs Network.

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NIGERIA: WHERE WILL THE MONEY TO IMPLEMENT THE SDGs COME FROM?

John Baaki Terzungwe

Programme Manager, Women Environmental Programme

Women2030 Delta

“We have no funds to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).” This was the popular response we got from most offices of the Senior Special Assistants to the Governors on SDGs (SSAs on  SDGs) in the course of our baseline gender assessment against selected SDGs and targets in 10 states of Nigeria.

Following the adoption of the SDGs in September, 2015, to succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), my organization, Women Environmental Programme (WEP) in collaboration with four other global and regional women’s organizations signed a 5-year framework agreement with the European Commission to monitor the implementation of the SDGs in 52 countries, under the project titled: “Women CSOs Networking to Realize the SDGs, also known as Women2030.” It was in the course of establishing baseline against selected goals and targets that would guide our engagement with different stakeholders on this project that we came to understand how the SDGs were viewed among government Ministries, Units, Departments and Agencies (MUDAs).

This view held about the SDGs by some government institutions and other stakeholders has necessitated this write-up.

It is important to clarify that SDGs are NOT PARALLEL development agenda that stand separate from other development plans of the Federal and State Governments. SDGs are part and parcel, or ought to be part and parcel of national and sub-national development plans and hence it is needless to design and implement a stand-alone project or program and tag it SDGs project or program. Strategies to realizing the SDGs are supposed to be mainstreamed in national and sub-national sectorial development plans. That is why the mandate of the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs (OSSAP-SDGs) which is responsible for SDGs implementation in Nigeria is “coordination and policy formulation of programs designed to achieve SDGs.”

To me, SDGs are like any other development plan that the federal and states governments have always developed and implemented. Federal and states governments have always implemented poverty alleviation programs (Goal 1), health programs (Goal 3), education programs (Goal 4), water and sanitation programs (Goal 6), electrification programs (Goal 7) and many more. This is to say that before the adoption of the millennium declaration by the United Nations that gave rise to the 8 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that elapsed in 2015, and subsequent adoption of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Nigeria was already implementing the MDGs and SDGs respectively. Remove the targets and indicators from the SDGs and they become like any other development plan the federal and states governments have been implementing. So, why say you have no funds to implement the SDGs when every year the Governors prepare and lay on the floor of the States Houses of Assembly an Appropriation bill which is later signed into an Appropriation Act that authorizes expenditure from the States’ Consolidated Revenue Fund to implement the programs I have mentioned above?

The difference between the SDGs and any other national or state development plan is its global nature, its comprehensiveness and its integrated approach that revolves around social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable development.

The implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals may not need funding outside the funding sources available to the states – states budgets and other external support to the states. And the offices of Senior Special Assistants to the Governors on SDGs may not need funding to implement “SDGs projects.” What the offices of the Senior Special Assistants to the Governors need is funds to coordinate different sectors, departments, ministries and agencies of government to mainstream SDGs in their plans.

Did I say the states do not need more funding for SDGs? No, but states can implement the SDGs with or without additional funding to the existing funding sources available to the states. And did I say the offices of the Senior Special Assistants to the Governors need not seek funding for SDGs implementation? No, offices of SSAs on SDGs can collaborate and coordinate relevant sectors to get additional funding from external sources to complement the sectors’ activities geared towards realizing SDGs. However, offices of SSAs on SDGs should not turn themselves into implementing agencies, but channel the resources they may get to the relevant sectors and only provide oversight on projects implementation.

The most important thing to realize the SDGs is not necessarily about getting more and more funding, but more about making judicious use of the available funds, channeling it where it is needed and avoiding unnecessary expenditures that will not contribute to realizing SDGs. This is where the offices of the SSAs on SDGs need to play a guiding role. The offices of the SSAs on SDGs need to get the relevant ministries, departments and agencies of government to understand the goals and targets that are relevant to their work and develop plans that are relevant to achieving the targets with timelines towards 2030. There should be a clear plan on how the state wants to achieve each target of its priority SDGs.

If for example, a state prioritizes Goal 4 and target 4a – Build and upgrade education facilities that are child, disability and gender sensitive and provide safe, non-violent, inclusive and effective learning environment for all – the state is morally bound to ensure that within its set timeframe, on or before 2030, all the schools in its jurisdiction has access to: (a) electricity; (b) the Internet for pedagogical purposes; (c) computers for pedagogical purposes; (d) adapted infrastructure and materials for students with disabilities; (e) basic drinking water; (f) single-sex basic sanitation facilities; and (g) basic hand-washing facilities. Any target prioritized by the state, it should ensure it addresses all the indicators set against that target in the SDGs.

Based on the above, it is the role of the states’ office of SSA on SDGs to get the education sector to focus its programs in the state within a particular timeframe and also push for appropriation appropriate to fund such programs to ensure target 4a above is met within a set timeframe.

To be candid, states that are desirous of realizing the SDGs should make it mandatory that state sectorial development plans are developed in collaboration and with the guidance of the offices of SSAs on SDGs. The states offices of SSAs on SDGs should prioritize the relevant goals and targets for the state based on its situation, set annual or 5-yearly target for different sectors. The states SDGs offices also should work with the states Planning Commissions, states ministries of Finance and Budget to get annual states appropriations that will contribute to the realization of the SDGs.

It seems to me that there is so much political authority required to coordinate and guide the implementation of the SDGs in the states. The SDGs implementation process in the states may be given more attention if coordinated directly from the offices of the Deputy Governors.

With or without additional funding, reasonable progress may be made towards realizing SDGs in states if the states maintain a focus on some priority goals, align their plans to the priority goals, fund and effectively implement programs and projects in line with the priority goals.

SDGs should not be viewed as an alien development agenda, but as those programs and projects which are capable of addressing the basic needs of the citizens if properly implemented.

A FEATHER TO WEP’S MANY

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The World Health Day celebrated on 7th April every year as initiated by the World Health Organization (WHO) provides a unique opportunity to mobilise a specific action around themes that every day affects us. This year 2017 the theme was ‘Depression Let’s Talk’.  WEP as an organisation does not have Reproductive health as a thematic focus but through her peace building interventions in communities’ deals with trauma experienced by individuals who have faced issues that could lead to depression and its effect.

As part of her activities towards the commemoration of this year’s World Health Day, the Universal Peace Federation on 7th April, at Merit House Maitama, honoured WEP with an award on peace building in recognition of her contribution as a peace advocate in Nigeria.

Many proponents of peace were honoured some as individuals in their capacities as peace builders alongside some organisations that have been fostering peace in the Nation. It was a gathering that had business men, Ambassadors and many dignitaries in attendance.

WEP was ably represented by her Bibian Ama, Cliff Gai and Eje Emmanuel

WEP TRAINS CSOs IN 10 STATES, CARRY OUT GENDER ASSESSMENT

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Step-down training on gender and SDGs in Delta State

In the first quarter of this year, Women Environmental Programme (WEP) convened a National Training of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) drawn from different states of Nigeria on Gender and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), under her “Women CSOs Networking to Realize the SDGs, aka Women2030” project, supported by the European Union. The training equipped the CSOs with deeper knowledge of SDGs and gender. This knowledge is to be used by the CSOs to effectively monitor implementation of SDGs in the states, ensuring that gender issues are mainstreamed in programmes, policies and legislations driving the implementation of the SDGs.

To ensure more CSOs have deeper knowledge of SDGs and gender, WEP in the second quarter of this year supported the step-down of this training in 10 states of Nigeria: Lagos, Benue, FCT, Kano, Katsina, Delta, Yobe, Anambra, Plateau and Rivers. The step-down trainings reached over 150 CSOs in the 10 states.

This training was followed by a gender assessment in each of the states to ascertain the different needs of women, men, the aged and other vulnerable groups that may hinder the realization of the SDGs in those states.

The step-down trainings and the gender assessment were facilitated by our National Women2030 partners as follows:

Lagos: Center for 21st Century Issues and Echoes of Women in Africa – 25th May, 2017

Benue: Benue NGO Network, Kwande Sisters Foundation and Charles and Doorsurgh Abaagu Foundatio – 29th and 30th May, 2017

FCT: Fresh and Young Brains Development Initiative – 9th June, 2017.

Kano: Ziongate Empowerment Initiative – 25th May, 2017

Katsina: Murna Foundation – 23rd-24th May, 2017

Delta: Niger Delta Women’s Movement for Peace and Development – 30th – 31st May, 2017

Yobe: Women’s Rights Initiative – 8th June, 2017

Anambra: Gender Perspectives and Gender Development Center – 5th June, 2017

Plateau: Organized Centre for Empowerment and Advocacy in Nigeria (OCEAN) – 25th May, 2017.

Rivers: Center for Development Support Initiatives (CEDSI) – 13th June, 2017

The findings from these assessments will be used as advocacy tool to engage different organs of governments at the states to push for actions that will contribute to the realization of the SDGs.

 

WEP JOINS PEACEFUL PROTEST AGAINST GMOs

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Women Environmental Programme joined Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) and other Civil Society Organizations to stage a peaceful protest against Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) to the National Assembly on 7th June, 2017.

GMOs are products of genetic engineering also known as genetic modification (GM). Genetic engineering or modern biotechnology is a technology that allows scientists to create plants, animals and micro-organisms by manipulating genes in a way that is not possible via traditional or natural processes. GM technology is not simply an extension of conventional agriculture as it is radically different from traditional plant and animal breeding.

What informed this peaceful protest were the two permits issued to Mosanto Agriculture Nigeria Limited, a biotechnology company by National Biosafety Development Agency (NABDA) for the commercial release and placing on the market of genetically modified cotton, and the confined field trial of maize in Nigeria. These permits were issued despite objections and concerns about safety raised by activists and environmentalists.

Read more on this link http://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/top-news/233364-%e2%8enigerian-ciciv-groups-march-against-gmos.html

WEP CELEBRATES 2017 WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY (WED)

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World Environment Day (WED) which falls on June 5 of every year was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972. It is a day set aside by the international community to celebrate nature. WED has since served as a global platform to raise awareness on environmental issues with plans to mitigate these issues.

To commemorate the 2017 WED, the United Nations SDG Action Campaign in collaboration with The Osasu Show and Women Environmental Programme (WEP) in line with the 2017 WED theme ‘Connecting People to Nature’, put together an event at the  Millennium Park, Abuja, to assess the current state of the environment and its impact on human development, link environmental actions to the achievement of the SDGs, and proffer policy, legal and institutional interventions necessary for preserving and protecting the environment for future generations.

Thereafter the conversation moved to the National Assembly where the Senate and House Committees on SDGs deliberated on best practices that will aide Nigeria in achieving the SDGs by 2030.

PREVENTING VIOLENT EXTREMISM IN BENUE STATE

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Women Environmental Programme (WEP) has continued with her interventions aimed at Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE) and helping communities build resilience to violent extremist activities under the project “Connecting Women and Youth in Violent Extremist Prone Areas Through Empowerment and Skills Acquisition in Benue State.” The implementation of this project commenced since December, 2016.

The project which is been piloted in four Local Government Areas of Benue State (Ado, Agatu, Kwande and Logo) continued with series of activities including dialogue sessions between herdsmen and farmers, trainings for communities on preventing violent extremism as well as trainings aimed at preventing the recruitment and radicalization of in-school youth and community policing.

These interventions saw communities engaged in meaningful and peaceful dialogue with one another, gather skills that will enable them police their borders, learn effective methods for engaging themselves peacefully and adopting alternative dispute resolution (ADR) approaches in resolving grievances with the aim of entrenching peace and preventing the spread of violent extremism.

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Participants at a Training on Community Policing at Ugba in Logo LG of Benue State on 14th May, 2017
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Training for women in Ado Local Government, Benue State on their roles in preventing violent extremism. The training for women, teachers, media and community leaders in this Local Government took place between 21 – 27 May, 2017
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Engagement with teachers on their roles in preventing violent extremism in Agatu Local Government of Benue State
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Women in a group exercise during the dialogue session between farmers and herdsmen in Agatu Local Government in Benue State
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Dialogue session between farmers and herdsmen in Logo Local Government, Benue State on 10th of May, 2017

WEP BENEFITS FROM NIGERIAN ARMY PEACEKEEPING TRAININGS

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The Nigerian Army Peacekeeping Centre Jaji-Kaduna has continued to extend her trainings to WEP, the gesture has built the capacity of staff of the organization in various conflict management and peace building approaches. In this second quarter of the year, two staff benefited from the training; Amazemba Theophilus Ternenge participated in the Civilian-Military Coordination (CIMIC) Course/14/17, which was held from 19 May to 2 June, 2017 and Uja Damaris Nguumbur participated in the Protection of Civilians (POC) Course 14/17 held from 9 to 23 June, 2017.

The Courses are designed based on the context of the full-spectrum UN Peace Operations, paying particular attention to military support to humanitarian assistance to civilians in armed conflict and peace building. They explore the practical application of the strategic ideas at the operational and tactical levels which pays particular attention to civil-military relations and transition management through civil assistance including the protection of civilians.

This helps participants to gain a greater appreciation of how UN peace operations work in the field, serves as a primer for scenario-based, table top exercise learning platforms tailored for specific audiences, missions, and circumstances. In all, this experience is to be reckoned with, as it enhances a very cordial and social interaction between the civilians, Para-military and the military, people of different cultural background and values, religion and language. The POC and CIMIC activities are truly imbedded in the ability to respect diversity for all, which is an outstanding principle of conduct for peacekeepers on mission.

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Damaris Uja receiving POC certificate from the Ag Commandant of
NAPKC Brigadier General A.M. Dauda

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Amazemba Theophilus Ternenge making a presentation in class during  Civilian-Military Coordination (CIMIC) Course/14/17

WEP SENSITIZE STUDENTS OF JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL APO LEGISLATIVE QUARTERS ON MENSTRUAL HYGIENE TO MARK THE 2017 MENSTRUAL HYGIENE MANAGEMENT DAY

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Menstruation is every woman and every woman is menstruation, it is a normal biological process and a key sign of reproduction. Yet in some cultures women are made to see Menstruation as dirty and shameful; to the extent that young girls sometimes miss school due to the myth around menstruation.

The continuous silence around menstruation coupled with limited access to information at home and schools have not helped young girls and women who in most cases have to tackle the emotions and hygiene issues around menstruation all by themselves. This has left many of them with little or no knowledge of what happens to their bodies during menstruation.

Studies carried out by Water Supply and Sanitation Collaboration Council (WSSCC) through its members in some States in Nigeria in 2016 showed some women believing menstruation myths as some kind of sickness and blood flows from the stomach and not uterus. Faced with challenges such as taboos, limited access to affordable hygienic sanitation materials, disposable options as well as rejection by spouses and society during menstruation; women and girls may not be able to manage their period safely.  These challenges are further exacerbated by insufficient access to safe and private toilets as well as lack of clean water and soap especially in the communities.

Effective management of menstruation starts with education and this brings us to this year’s theme “Education about Menstruation Changes Everything” which advocates for education about menstruation hygiene changing everything; changing every negative perception ought to be all inclusive – involving men, women, boys and girls. All should know that menstruation is not a taboo and the wrong myths attached to it should be deterred.

The education should be such that portends it for what it is- Pride of womanhood. For when all stakeholders understand menstruation, the shame a woman feels while on her period will be dealt with and when a girl in school is stained by blood instead of being mocked – a boy will gently tap her and communicate to her and she will without shame appreciate and go for a change. This will ensure better management of menstruation. Is this possible?

Yes, it was on this background that Water Supply and Sanitation Collaboration Council (WSSCC) in collaboration with Women Environmental Programme (WEP) carried out education awareness on Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) to enlighten the students of Government Junior Secondary School Apo Legislative Quarters on 30th May, 2017, to mark this year’s Menstrual Hygiene Day. They also called on government and policy makers to;

Promote women’s right to economic and productive resources by supporting the share of free sanitary pads in the same spirit they support sharing of condoms.

Provide education on menstrual hygiene so that women and girls feel confident and are empowered to make informed decisions about how to manage their menstruation.

Integrate menstrual hygiene education into national school curriculum, policies and programmes for adolescents.

Provide water and sanitation facilities in schools, public and work places so that women and girls can manage their menstrual flow hygienically.