Nigeria is a signatory to several United Nations and African Union Instruments that promote and protect rights of women and encourage their participation in decision-making e.g. United Nations Convention on Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW); the African Charter on Human Rights; the Beijing Platform for Action; the Rio Declaration of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development; Sustainable Development Goals etc. All these instruments have one provision or the other on the protection of rights of women, inclusion in decision-making, empowerment and development.
Despite these, Nigerian women still face dehumanizing treatments, they are less represented in decision making and have the least access to economic opportunities and ownership of resources. Participation of women in politics in Nigeria has remained low in spite of all efforts made so far. This situation is worse at the sub-national (state) levels.
It is in this vein that Women Environmental Programme (WEP) deemed it necessary to design the project Ensuring Effective Implementation of Programmes, Policies and Legislations, that Contribute Towards Achieving Gender Equality in Nigeria by 2030, a project funded by the Kingdom of Netherlands, which is aimed at contributing specifically to the attainment of gender equality in Benue and Zamfara States of Nigeria.
This project has the objectives of; advocating for policies and legislations that promote women participation at all levels of decision making, and remove all obstacles (social, political, cultural and economic) hindering women’s empowerment and participation in decision making and that infringes on women’s rights; ensuring effective implementation of programmes and projects through capacity building of CSOs, budget monitoring and information sharing and; raising awareness amongst stakeholders on the fundamental women’s rights.
In commencing the project, WEP organized a pre-project advocacy and sensitization forum starting with Benue State which is one of the two states in focus.
The pre-project advocacy and sensitization forum which took place at the Benue State Planning Commission’s Conference Hall, State Secretariat, Makurdi, Benue State on Thursday, 8th December, 2016 was organized in collaboration with the Benue State Ministry of Women Affairs. The forum brought together members of the State Executives, Legislators, Civil Society Organizations, Women Groups, Traditional/Religious Leaders and the media within the state who were briefed on the planned activities and expected outcomes of this project as well as solicited for their contributions.
The Honourable Commissioner of Women Affairs, Barr. Mwuese Mnyim expressed her gladness to co-host the event as she said it was in line with the state’s agenda. She emphasized that gender equality does not in any way mean making women equal with men, but providing equal opportunities for both women and men to realize their full potentials.
In the same vein, the Executive Director of WEP, Priscilla Achakpa called on all stakeholders to support the project in any way possible to ensure its goal is achieved. One after another, participants pledged their support and commitment towards ensuring that the goal of this project is realized.
See more pictures from the pre-project advocacy and sensitization forum http://bit.ly/benueadvocacypixs