Women CSOs Networking to Realize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) also known as the Women2030 project is a 5-year (2016-2020) global project supported by the European Commission and implemented by a coalition of 5 global and regional gender and women-focused organizations which WEP is a part of. The project aims to monitor the implementation of the SDGs in different regions of the world to ensure they are implemented in a gender-sensitive manner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

1.0        INTRODUCTION

Africa, just like other regions of the world has made efforts towards actualizing the rights of women through the regional bodies, member states, women-led and other civil society organizations, private sector and other stakeholders. These efforts are from regional policies, plans and programmes; national plans, programmes, policies and laws; and programmes and activities of civil society organizations, women groups and other stakeholders.   These actions focus on different issues affecting women ranging from poverty, education, violence, conflict, economic empowerment, environment, power and decision making among others.

2.0        REGIONAL EFFORTS

At the regional level, Africa has Agenda 2063, a shared strategic framework for inclusive growth and sustainable development, which the 6th of the 7 Aspirations aims to achieve gender equality in all spheres of life. The African Union also has developed a Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Strategy for the period 2018-2028. This strategy, which is expected to be implemented by the member states focuses on 4 key pillars: maximize opportunities, outcomes and e-tech dividends for women, ensure security and dignity for women, promotes leadership, voice and visibility of women, laws and policies to realize rights of women and girls. The African Union Gender Policy “…focuses on closing the equality gap between men and women in general and particularly addressing gender inequalities which have resulted in women’s disempowerments and the feminisation of poverty, in order to have a better understanding of the contribution of women in development.” African Union also had in 2003 adopted the Maputo Protocol known officially as the “Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa.” The Maputo Protocol aims to guarantee comprehensive rights to women including right to participate in the political process, improve autonomy in their reproductive health decisions, and end female genital mutilation.

There are several regional efforts to address gender inequalities and contribute to realizing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but gender inequ]alities persist.

3.0        NATIONAL EFFORTS

At the country levels, different countries in Africa have made different efforts of achieving gender equality and have achieved varying results. Nigeria for example in its National Beijing + 25 report highlighted some of the progress the country has made towards attainment of gender equality as follows: “… adoption of a social protection budget as part of the federal budgetary framework; the passage of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act; the integration of gender perspectives into the national security and peace architecture and into interventions in North Eastern Nigeria; as well as targeted programmes to improve girl child participation in science and vocational education.[1]

Specifically, Nigeria recorded the following as some of the progress it has made from 2015-2019:

  • Passage of gender related legislations such as Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act 2015, Child Rights Act 2003, Trafficking in persons (Prohibition) Law Enforcement and Administration Act 2003.
  • Creation of gender responsive social investment programing and budget which saw the creation of Social Intervention Project (SIP) budget line that that is split between four programmes: The National Cash Transfer Programme; N – POWER; the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) and the National Home-Grown School Feeding programme (NHGSFP).
  • Creation of poverty reduction, agricultural productivity and food security programs such as: Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprise (LIFE), The Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP), and Nigeria for Women Project.
  • National Gender Policy which provides a 35% minimum threshold for women’s participation in politics whether in appointive or elective positions. A Nigerian Women’s Trust Fund has been established to provide technical and other resources to female political aspirants. Women’s political empowerment offices have also been set up in each of the country’s 6 geopolitical zones for purposes of ongoing interface with and support to women politicians in the states and rural areas. The ‘100 Women Lobby Group,’ which comprises women of influence at community, state and national levels respectively was set up just after the Beijing Conference to undertake regular advocacy for women’s visibility in leadership structures across all tiers of government and this continues to function with structures in all the 36 States and Federal Capital Territory.

 

Ghana on the other hand reported the following progress it recorded between 2014 -2019 to realize the Beijing Platform of Action:

 

“Gender Equality and Women’s empowerment:

  1. Ghana launched the updated National Gender Policy and the Strategic Plan in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

 

  1. The Ghana National Action Plan 2018- 2022 (GHANAP II) on the UN Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security was finalized.

 

  1. Conducted a country level diagnostic survey to assess the incidence, attitude, determinants and consequences of domestic violence in Ghana.

 

  1. During the past five years, Ghana focused on Fistula repairs and family reintegration with a coverage of 575 surgeries and repairs nationwide.

 

  1. In line with SDG8, a total of about 1,062 marginalized women were trained in livelihood and pre-employment skills, which provided them with decent work, for a sustainable productive employment and economic growth.

 

  1. Ghana has been able to mobilize political commitment and action for girls and women’s empowerment with the President as the Lead Champion. Through this effort, the country has extended the campaign to all regions nationwide under the HeForShe Campaign.

 

  1. Substantial numbers of women (56%) and households have benefited from the livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty.

 

Mainstreaming gender into socio-economic development:

a.The gains made under this theme are as follows:  a. Strengthen the Capacity of Gender Focal Persons, Planning and Desk officers of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) on Gender-responsive budgeting and gender mainstreaming for ensuring gender-responsiveness at the local level through the Regional, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs).

 

  1. Finalized and received Cabinet approval for an Affirmative Action Legislation 2016

 

Development of Laws and Establishments of Boards:

Bills such as the Affirmative Action Bill, the Aged Bill, the Foster Care and Adoption Regulations were submitted and approved by Cabinet in 2016, the change in government requires that, they are resubmitted to the new Cabinet for approval. In line with this, the Ministry undertook further consultations on the bills and regulations to reflect the broader views of the public and government priorities for women, children and the vulnerable. The current status of the bills are as follows:

-Domestic Workers Regulation in Draft with the Attorney General’s Department

-The Foster Care and Adoption Regulations are at their final stages of passage in Parliament.

  • The Affirmative Action Bill has been re-submitted to Cabinet for consideration and approval.

  • Four (4) Bills; the Aged Persons, Social Protection, Persons with Disability, and Ghana School Feeding Bills will be taken through stakeholder consultations and subsequent submission to Cabinet for approval.

  • Existing legal documents and policies such as the Domestic Violence Act, the Human Trafficking Act, and the Children’s Act are being translated into voice format in eleven (11) Ghanaian languages for easy access by the general public.

 

To ensure the achievement of the Ministry’s mandate, a number of Boards have been constituted in line with Acts of Parliament to advise and provide technical support to the Ministry. These include:

  • The Ministerial Advisory Board,

  • The Human Trafficking Management Board,

  • Domestic Violence Management Board,

  • The Cancer Board,

  • Adoption Board and

  • The National Council on Persons with Disability Board

 

Social Development: 

The Ministry developed various programmes and interventions to eradicate the Kayayei phenomenon. These are:

  • A five-year Strategic Plan1 to eradicate ‘kayayei’ is being developed through the support of UNFPA.
  • The Ministry has developed a Porterage Module to link women in rural communities to Government’s initiatives such as the one Village, One Dam and One District, one Factory to make them economically independent.
  • Developing a strategy to mainstream gender in climate change programme.”

 

Liberia on the other hand reported the following achievements:

  • Adoption of the Government’s development plan, Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) (2018 to 2023)

  • Adoption of the revised National Gender Policy (NGP), which was launched in 2017, and covers the period 2018-2022

  • Re-formation of the Ministry of Gender and Development to the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MGCSP) whose function was increased to include social welfare and social protection

  • The establishment of Gender Units in (10) security institutions including: Liberia National Police (LNP), Liberia Immigration Service (LIS), Bureau of Correction and Rehabilitation (BCR), Ministry of National Defence (MOD), and in a few Ministries, Agencies and Commissions (Ministry of Finance and Development Planning; Ministry of Agriculture; the Governance Commission; Liberia Land Authority (LLA); and the National Housing Authority)

 

The Federal Republic of Togo also reported progress on the priority areas of the Beijing Platform of Action by adopting appropriate policies, plans and institutional frameworks. Certain articles of the country’s constitution were amended to promote women’s participation in elections. Similarly, the land and state code was reviewed to guarantee access to land for women in the same way as men. The reviewed criminal code of Togo incriminates violence against women. Several policies and plans have been put in place in Togo to achieve gender equality.

 

Like Togo, Burkina Faso also has put in place laws that prevents and penalizes violence against women and have developed a National Economic and Social Development Plan (PNDES) which aims to reduce gender inequalities and make women actors in development. There is also put in place a national plan to prevent and eliminate child marriage, national plan to eliminate female genital mutilation and a strategy to accelerate, the integrated programme for empowerment of women in Burkina Faso.  The country also formalized 825 women’s businesses in 2017.

 

It is similar case in Cameroon, Tunisia and other African countries where the countries report efforts across different priority areas of the Beijing Platform of Action ranging from development of gender sensitive policies and laws, gender-responsive programmes and plans.

 

 

4.0        CONTRIBUTION OF WOMEN-LED ORGANIZATIONS AND OTHER CSOs

In addition to the efforts made above by regional and national governments to realize the priority areas of the Beijing Platform of Action, women-led organizations and other civil society groups equally made tremendous contributions towards the progress of realizing the Beijing Platform of Action.

 

One of the coalition of gender and women-led civil society organizations known as Women2030 coalition working under the European Union’s funded project titled: “Women CSOs networking to realize the Sustainable Development Goals), has since 2016 been working to contribute to the realization of gender equality globally. The project whose aim is to ensure gender sensitive implementation of the SDGs comprise of 5 women-led civil society organizations working with other women and gender civil society organizations around the world to achieve its goal. The Women2030 coalition is led by Women Engage for a Common Future (WECF) and the following as partners: Women Environmental Programme (WEP); Asia Pacific Forum for Women, Law and Development (APWLD) and Global Forest Coalition (GFC).

 

The activities of the Women2030 project revolve around: capacity building, policy advocacy and media outreach.

 

On capacity building, the Women2030 project, has built capacity of women and gender organizations and other civil society groups as well as policy makers and legislators on understanding the SDGs and mainstreaming gender in its implementation.  Capacities of these groups have been built around understanding gender equality and mainstreaming it in actions, gender sensitive assessments and data collection, media campaigns, policy advocacy, organizational and financial management among other issues. The Women2030 project through WEP had in 2016 built capacity of 10 leaders of 10 women-led organizations who became trainers that train other women organizations on the issues mentioned above. From 2016 to 2019, the Women2030 project has built capacities of over 1000 persons from 300 organizations on different issues around SDGs, gender, advocacy, data collection, organizational and financial management. These persons come from the following countries: Nigeria, Togo, Cameroon, Ghana, Tunisia, Burkina Faso, Liberia … Through this capacity building interventions, different movements of women have been created that advocate for gender sensitive national plans and programmes. The capacity building activities equipped many people with knowledge that they previously did not have.

Rose Pélagie MASSO of African Women’s Network for Community Management of Forests (REFACOF) from Cameroon testified how the Women2030 project has helped her as an individual and her organization. In her words:

The activities of this project are very useful; from a personal point of view, of REFACOF as well as of beneficiary communities. As far as I am concerned, I want to thank this project because I have strengthened my capacities. Before the project, I had a very vague idea of the SDGs, I confess that I heard about Women2030 for the first time when I was invited to the train of trainers in Morocco by WEP and it is from this moment that I am really familiar with the Sustainable Development Goals that I can explain to others today with a certain ease…”

 

Similarly, Samuel Kyiei-Berko of Lifetime Empowerment Center (LEC) Ghana testified thus: “for the first time, I had a better understanding on the goals.”

 

The Women2030 project also has succeeded in advocating and putting in place gender sensitive policies and laws in different countries to advance the realization of the priority areas of the Beijing Platform of Action. One of the Women2030 partners, Women Environmental Programme (WEP) has been instrumental for advocating for laws, policies and programmes in different African countries. WEP teamed up with other women and gender civil society organizations and pushed for the domestication of Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act (VAPP Act) and Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) in Benue State of Nigeria and this was realized. WEP has also presented a bill on Affirmative Action for Women in Zamfara State of Nigeria to promote participation of women in politics. The advocacy action by Women2030 partners in Nigeria led by WEP also saw to the development of Gender and Climate Change Action Plan for Nigeria, a document that provides guidance on mainstreaming gender in climate change and environmental actions in Nigeria.

 

In Togo, Women2030 project mobilized women’s groups and facilitated their contribution to the National Development Plan of Togo (PND) launched from 2016 to 2018. Similarly, in countries like Ghana, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Cameroon and Tunisia, women groups under the Women2030 project made inputs to the countries’ development plans for incorporation of gender issues therein. The Women2030 partners in these countries participated in policy forums organized by the government or other stakeholders and in some cases organized policy fora, discussed and made recommendations to government and other stakeholders on issues affecting women.

The Women2030 partners in Africa have also influenced regional decisions on issues through position statements and engagement with policy makers at different regional programs. Women2030 partners coordinate the women’s groups to make inputs into regional SDGs and climate plans and were instrumental in the establishment of Africa Civil Society Engagement Mechanism which engages with the African Union (AU) and other regional bodies on development issues.

 

In addition to the above, Women2030 project partners implemented different initiatives in different African countries that contributed to the realization of the Beijing Platform of Action and the Sustainable Development Goals. These initiatives were supported through sub-grants provided by the Wome2030 project. Through one of the Women2030 partners, Women Environmental Programme (WEP), sub-grants and seed-grants were awarded to 51 women and gender civil society and community-based organizations in Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Togo, Burkina Faso and Tunisia. These initiatives ranged from preventing inhumane treatment of women, promoting women’s rights to land, promoting political participation of women, promoting menstrual hygiene management, access to water and clean cooking energy, poverty alleviation and economic empowerment for women amongst other initiatives.

Highlight of some of the initiatives implemented by beneficiaries of the sub-grants and seed-grants are below:

 

Center for 21st Century Issues (C21st) used the Women2030 sub-grant and built capacity of policy makers and women’s CSOs and raised awareness on climate change and the UNFCCC’s Gender Action Plan (GAP) in Lagos State of Nigeria, while Echoes of Women in Africa (ECOWA) advocated for increased participation of women in politics in Lagos State and Center for Development Support Initiative (CEDSI) got school girls acquire information and communication skills in community secondary school Oginigba, Port Harcourt, Rivers state, Nigeria through establishment of a computer laboratory and provision of training on ICT.

Global Women Development Promoters (GLOWDEP) used its sub-grants to implement an initiative in Schools in the Central Tongu District (Volta Region of Ghana) increasing school enrollment rate of girl child. One of the respondents gave testimony of the impact of the Women2030 project on her life thus – “Through my attachment with the Girls’ Club, I have received education in soap making and beads making. In the community, there has been a reduction in the teenage pregnancy and domestic violence cases. Most of them were engaged in them due to ignorance but now they have been educated through this project.” The project has addressed the factors encouraging teenage pregnancy among school girls in 5 schools in the Central Tonga district of Ghana increasing school enrollment rate of girl child.

Foundation for Grassroots Initiatives in Africa (GrassRootsAfrica) on the other hand sensitized communities against the use of polluting forms of energy and introduced cleaner energy sources for cooking.

Hope for Vulnerable Children (HOVUCA) in Mankon and Nsongwa in the Bamenda II Municipality of Cameroon guided women and girls on proper menstrual hygiene management, while WEP Tunisia promoted agroecology amongst school children in Tunisia.

The above initiatives are among 51 different other initiatives implemented by sub-grants and seed-grants beneficiaries of the Women2030 project across different countries of Africa.

[1] Federal Republic of Nigeria. National Beijing + 25 Review. Page 9

POWER SHIFT: Gender Equality from the Ground Up (Women2030 side event at the 2020 High Level Political Forum)

Since the implementation of Agenda2030, the women2030 coalition partners have gathered community-based data and published shadow reports to identify gaps between policies and live realities on the ground in 35 countries in 4 regions.
We are launching our global report based on findings from national assessments, on how to ensure a gender-just and transformative Agenda2030 in key priority areas of climate and environmental justice, redistributive and economic justice, political participation, Gender Based Violence, and gender stereotypes. Feminist activists from around the world who authored the reports will share their stories, outlining the structural barriers and constraints faced in SDG implementation, showcasing opportunities and best practices drawn from the grassroots, and inspiring actions to ground the global.
You are invited to join us and discuss how we can, together in the feminist movement and beyond, build from lessons learned and recommendations to achieve a transformative, feminist Agenda2030.
DATE
Wednesday, 15 July 2020
TIME
Bogota: 7:00 – 8:30 am
New York: 8:00 – 9:30 am
Lagos: 1:00 – 2:30 pm
Berlin: 2:00 – 3:30 pm
Bangkok: 7:00 – 8:30 pm
Suva: 12:00 pm – 1:30 am
Language & Accessibility
This event will have interpretation in: Spanish, French and Russian. We will have speech-to-caption in English. Our accessibility coordinator for the event is hanna.gunnarsson@wecf.org. Please let us know in advance how we can make this event accessible to you.
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CALL FOR APPLICATIONS: CONSULTANT TO DEVELOP A TRAINING MANUAL FOR THE TRAINING OF BORDER OFFICIALS ON GENDER AND BORDER MANAGEMENT

ORGANISATIONAL BACKGORUND

WEP is a non-governmental, non-profit, non-religious and voluntary organization whose vision is to ensure a society where the environmental, economic and political rights of women, children and youths are protected. Our mission is to empower women and youths to effectively address the environmental, economic and political issues that affect them. WEP has United Nations ECOSOC Special Status, Observer Status to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum and United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). With the Observer Status, WEP can participate as a major group organization in contributing to the intergovernmental decision making process in the UN-System.

PROJECT BACKGROUND

Small-Scale Cross-Border Trade (SSCBT) is often neglected in the discussions on African trade policies, although remains an imperative to local economic growth.  The operation of small scale trade cross border trade within the Sub-African region has been timeless sustaining economic resilience of many households.  In a context of feminisation of economic opportunities, SSCBT is often considered as offering employment and income opportunities to women traders. Therefore, SSCBT plays a vital role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (Goal 2 and 5) although still limited, increasing attention is being paid by policy makers to this sector. Despite the seeming importance of these activities to regional trade, national economic development, poverty alleviation, the organization of regional markets and regional integration it remains a significantly under-represented in the development discourse.

As this backdrop, WEP under the project Promoting Women’s Socio-economic Rights (POSER), funded by African Women Development Fund to mainstream gender issues in institutional policies of border agencies. Integrating a gender perspective into the work of state institutions responsible for border management can have a significant impact on the ability of border officers to recognize and respond to the different needs and vulnerabilities of women small scale traders. It can also help them to learn from the experiences and insights of members of border communities. This contributes to more effective trade facilitation process while complying with human rights standards. Advancing gender equality through the work of the border security sector is part of the responsibility of governments to protect and promote the rights of all, in accordance with commitments made at national and international levels.

In order to achieve the aforementioned, WEP seeks to engage a consultant to produce training manual  to support capacity building of border agencies to develop plans and strategies to integrate gender in their procedures and practices. The manual is expected to provide guideline to raise the consciousness of border officials to domesticate regional policies into their strategies and operations. We believe if the border officials have the right mind-set and training, women small scale traders will have an enabling environment to conduct their business in an atmosphere devoid of violence and intimidation.

EXPERIENCE AND QUALIFICATION:

Education

  • Masters’ Degree in any management and social science field.

Experience

  • At least 5 years of working and research experience in trade including those of customs administration and other border agencies as well as the private sector.
  • Excellent experience in economic empowerment issues, including working with financial institutions. Proven experience in gender analysis and women’s empowerment.

APPLICATION INFORMATION:

Interested applicants should send their applications indicating clearly in the subject line of the email the position being applied for (in Caps E.g. CONSULTANT FOR DEVELOPMENT OF TRAINING MANUAL) to: wep2002@hotmail.com or info@wepnigeria.net.

All applications should be sent in on or before June 14th, 2020.

Applications should include the following:

  • As part of the application package, submit a proposed training manual outline to info@wepnigeria.net or wep2002@hotmail.com
  • At least two references.

Female candidates are highly encouraged to apply.

WEP COMMEMORATES WORLD BEE DAY 2020

Today we join the global community to celebrate the World Bee Day. Bees are responsible for one out of every three bites of food we eat, but unfortunately, bees are under serious threat due to human activities. Most crops grown for their fruits (including vegetables such as squash, cucumber, tomato and eggplant), nuts, seeds, fibre and hay require pollination by insects. Pollinating insects also play a critical role in maintaining natural plant communities and ensuring production of seeds in most flowering plants.

Pollination is the transfer of pollen, containing the male gamete of a plant, from the anthers where it is produced to the receptive stigma, the female part of the same or another plant of the same species. This process results in fertilisation, and sexual reproduction of the plant to produce seeds. The main insect pollinators, by far, are bees, and while honey bees are the best known and widely managed pollinators, there are also hundreds of other species of bees, mostly solitary ground nesting species, that contribute some level of pollination services to crops and are very important in natural plant communities.

Bees are very beneficial, therefore there is every need to protect bees and provide support for beekeepers.

Breaking gender inequalities

IMG_0232

Women Environmental Programme (WEP) on Wednesday, 11th March 2020 organized a programme themed: “Breaking Gender Inequalities,” to mark this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD). The programme held at WEP’s head office at Block E Flat 2 Anambra Court, Gaduwa Estate, Abuja.

This year’s International Women’s Day has a theme: “Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights for an Equal Future,” which calls for equal pay, equal sharing of unpaid care and domestic work, an end to sexual harassment and violence against women and girls, health care services that respond to their needs, and their equal participation in political life and in decision-making in all areas of life.

The programme, “Breaking Gender Inequalities” was a forum deliberately designed by WEP to change mindsets of participants, share experiences, facilitate learning and unlearning, and to inspire participants to gender-sensitive actions.

To set the right tone, the event was heralded by the Women’s Anthem that was passionately sang by the participants:

“All across the nations

All around the world

Women are longing to be free

No longer in the shadows

Forced to stay behind

But side by side

In true equality

 

(Refrain)

So sing a song (2x)

For women everywhere

Let it ring around the world

And never ever cease

 

So sing a song for women everywhere

Equality, development and peace…”

After the Women’s Anthem, WEP Team was set to break gender inequalities held as beliefs, values, norms and ideas by some participants.  Breaking gender inequalities was done by interrogating the beliefs, values, norms and ideas of participants by posing some questions or statements that required yes or no as the answer and further justification of the answer. This triggered debate and analysis among participants as they justified their answers. For every question or statement, after the debate from the participants, WEP team lent their voice to point participants to answers that were more gender sensitive.

Some of the questions or statements made were:

  • It is important to train a girlchild to be a good wife
  • Women are not many in public leadership positions because they don’t come out to take their place
  • Men have the ultimate authority to decide whether women access political leadership positions or not.

From the discussions that ensued trying to justify their positions on a statement or question, it was clear to WEP team if participants were gender bias, and thus the biases were addressed.

Participants were encouraged to respect the rights of everyone irrespective of whether they are men or women and to also train their female children the same way they would train their male children, as every child has right to be educated, and only then will they contribute meaningfully to the development of the society. The minds of participants were also disabused about the position held by many that women are not many in political offices because they don’t come out to support themselves. Participants were made to understand that for a very long time culture and religion have been used to manipulate the political system in such a way that women work against themselves. As a signatory to the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), Nigeria ought to be deliberate on ensuring more women have access to political positions by implementing affirmative action in her laws and policies as recommended by CEDAW. The myriad of social and cultural issues affecting full realization of women’s rights can only be achieved with deliberate actions. Participants were also advised to walk away and not stay comfortable in abusive relationship as it is better to break such relationship before it breaks you.

At the end of the programme, many participants expressed appreciation to WEP for the new things they learnt and for the things they unlearnt. “This event is therapeutic. It has made me heal as I spoke about the things I have been holding for long,” confessed one of the participants.

WEP will continue to advocate for gender parity because, “gender parity is not good for women, it is good for societies.”

Promoting business opportunities for women around Niger-Nigeria border

IMG_0140
Group photograph of some stakeholders during the project start-up meeting in Katsina State, Nigeria

Import and export trade are some of the contributors to economic growth which leads to poverty reduction and improved living conditions. Import and export trade can lift many out of poverty in Nigeria where 87 million people are poor[1],  and in Niger where more than 40 percent of the population earn less than $1 a day[2]. A reasonable number of those who live in poverty are women as observed by UN Women that more women than men live on less than $1.90 a day.

Research[3] shows that small scale cross-border trade supports livelihoods of vulnerable households and that, most of Africa’s small-scale traders are female.[4]

As important as the cross-border trade is in lifting women out of poverty, several challenges are encountered by women who engage or would have engaged in this trade which affect the gains they would have made. Some of these challenges are insufficient capital, deficient infrastructure, cumbersome regulatory and documentary requirements among others.

To assist women to overcome these challenges in cross-border trade and reap the benefits therein for overcoming poverty and achieving gender equality, Women Environmental Programme (WEP) with support from the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) has initiated a project: “Promoting Women’s Socioeconomic Rights (POSER),” aimed at promoting cross-border trade opportunities for women around Niger-Nigeria trade corridor.

This project has the following objectives:

  • To mainstream gender into national and regional trade policies
  • To protect the human rights of women small-scale traders
  • To ensure institutions responsible for policy implementation are gender-responsive
  • To promote women’s access to financial support

To commence the implementation of the above project, WEP team between 25-28 February 2020 was in Katsina, Nigeria and Maradi in Niger, for project start-up meeting and sensitization of stakeholders relevant to cross-border trade. It was pertinent to get these stakeholders to be aware of this project and seek their cooperation for its success. From 25-26 February, WEP convened a project start-up meeting at Katsina Tourist Lodge with civil society organizations from Nigeria and Niger, where the project was discussed, and roles clarified between WEP and the partnering civil society organizations who are critical to support our advocacy to achieve the project objectives. After the project start-up meeting where WEP and partner civil society organizations strategized on how to implement this project, a high-level advocacy meeting that brought together relevant government agencies to cross-border trade was organized at the same Katsina Tourist Lodge. The Nigerian Customs Service, Central Bank of Nigeria, National Identity Management Commission, Department of State Services (DSS), were some of the government agencies that participated in the high-level advocacy meeting. All the agencies present gave their word to support the project towards providing business opportunities for women. “We are available to give any support to empower women in transborder trade and guide them on the procedures of engaging in transborder trade,” said the representative of the Zonal Controller, Nigerian Customs Service, Katsina Command. Similarly, the representative of the Branch Controller, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Katsina State, assured that, “as the agency responsible for the provision of foreign exchange and guidelines for trade, we shall work with the project team to support women cross-border traders in any way we can.” The CBN representative also highlighted some of the financial instruments that small-scale cross-border women traders can benefit from the CBN. Since carrying huge cash is another challenge for women cross-border traders, the National Identity Management Commission of Nigeria also promised to support in addressing this challenge by ensuring it produces national identity cards for women cross-border traders which also serve as a master card and can hold as much as 4 million Naira.

From Katsina, Nigeria, the advocacy team moved to Maradi in Niger Republic on 28 February 2020, where the team held meeting with some government agencies and some women cross-border traders at the office of Niger/Nigeria Joint Cooperation Commission (NNJCC) to seek for their cooperation to the project. Some of the agencies met with were the Police, Customs, Chamber of Commerce and officers of NNJCC. Just like in Nigeria, all expressed their commitment to see the project succeed.

Having prepared the ground, we shall roll out the activities of this project in the coming months. We shall start by carrying out a comprehensive assessment into the specific challenges faced by women cross-border trade around the Niger-Nigeria border with the view of making appropriate recommendations to addressing the identified challenges. We shall provide training to border managers on mainstreaming gender in their operations. Similarly, we shall provide training to cross-border women traders to understand regional and national trade policies and the step by step procedures of engaging in a legal cross-border trade. We shall provide a forum for women cross-border traders, relevant government agencies and civil society organizations to discuss issues affecting them pertaining cross-border trade, opportunities that exist, and best practices.

At the end of this project, the following are expected to be achieved: enhanced gender sensitive border management, increased financial support programs for women cross-border traders, strengthened relationship between women cross-border traders association and border officials, increased understanding of national and regional trade policies, and enhanced skills in business management by women cross-border traders.

[1] Punch Newspaper. https://punchng.com/with-87m-poor-citizens-nigeria-overtakes-india-as-worlds-poverty-capital/

[2] Business Insider. The 23 poorest countries in the world. https://www.businessinsider.com/the-23-poorest-countries-in-the-world-2015-7?IR=T

[3] https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/f36f/d591eebd38c104f11331d10f77909dd144f0.pdf

[4] International Center for Trade and Sustainable Development. Small-Scale Cross-Border Trade in Africa: Why It Matters and How It Should Be Supported. http://www.ictsd.org/bridges-news/bridges-africa/news/small-scale-cross-border-trade-in-africa-why-it-matters-and-how-it

 

How WEP Volunteer and Mentorship Programme has impacted participants

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Participants brainstorm during one of the mentoring sessions at WEP’s office in Abuja

When we launched WEP Volunteer and Mentorship programme in 2018, little did we know it will record such impacts it has recorded.

We were inspired by the new vision of WEP in her 2018-2027 strategic plan of a world where the lives of women and youth around the globe are positively transformed and decided to create a programme that will lead to the positive transformation of the lives of youth.

This birthed the WEP Volunteer and Mentorship programme with the goal to assist communities address development challenges through volunteer service. The programme has the following specific objectives:

  • Equip volunteers with community development skills
  • Provide guidance to volunteers on designing and implementing community development projects
  • Assist volunteers to build a career in the development sector

The programme had started barely 3 months, when we were still at the introductory stage, that participants started pouring in testimonies about how their eyes had been opened to things they never imagined. The screenshots of WhatsApp discussions below explain more:

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At the end of the programme, more testimonies came in from participants on how impactful the WEP Volunteer and Mentorship programme has being.

Read testimonies of some of the participants in the programme below:

“While my employment with the Federal Civil Service Commission was terminated, I decided to look for volunteering jobs particularly in areas of environment to keep up to date with happenings as I needed to update my knowledge as per environment because I had already developed passion for its sustainability.

I had known WEP during my HSE induction in 2017 and I decided to look further on what they are up to while I started following WEP on all her social media platforms as well as a subscription for newsletter or updates as the case may be hoping for my volunteering opportunity to be actualised. After few months, I read a tweet from WEP handle on Twitter and Facebook about an upcoming volunteer and mentorship program which I quickly applied for as it was an opportunity I had long waited for. I was lucky to be among the few mentees that were shortlisted.

The WEP mentorship program has helped me build my self-confidence and taught me the need to take action even if starting as a lone voice, it has helped me understand that volunteering entails basic fundamental skills and knowledge that needed to be critically explored before applying as a volunteer and what it entails to be a team leader.

I used to believe the national budget passage does not have any significant effect on me but, now, I know that the comprehensive knowledge of the budget is significant to any developmental project to be embarked on. Now I can write a detailed project proposal as well as apply as a knowledgeable volunteer.

One thing I like specially about the WEP Volunteer and Mentorship program is the unique approach of mentoring which was well detailed with participants interactive sessions and practicable examples. The experience has widened my horizon which I found time worthy.

I have started recommending WEP Volunteer and Mentorship program to family and friends as the impact of the program has reflected positively in my relationship with people and the environment.

Towards the end of the mentorship program, my employment with the federal civil service commission was reinstated and I have been performing on the job beyond expectation, also, I have been recently contacted by a national government organization on climate change to be part of their volunteers team. All these was made possible by WEP volunteer and mentorship training which was made available to us at no cost.

My appreciation goes to the founder of WEP, the brain behind the mentorship concept, the facilitators, all staff of WEP, greater heights by God’s grace.  Thank you WEP, I will always make you proud.” Abiodun Fatima Animashaun.

 

My name is Doom Torhee. I joined the WEP volunteer training in the 10th month in 2018, but I must say it has been a great journey. I gained a lot on how to use the TOC approach in project design which I am applying in designing my campaign against child abuse in 2019.

 In the course of my training program, I was given the opportunity by WEP to attend the Protection of Civilian (POC) training course, organized by the Nigerian Army in Jaji. This course has exposed me to the UN guidelines on mission projects and the importance of protecting the rights of human beings, who are the core components of every project we embark on.

 I would like to use this opportunity to appreciate the leadership and staff of WEP for this great initiative and for giving their time and resources to empower volunteers especially women and youths in Nigeria. I hope this effort will grow and we will make you proud.”  

 

“WEP made my 2018 very meaningful in no small measure.

 My dream of pursuing a career in the development /humanitarian sector got rejuvenated at WEP. 

 The volunteer/mentoring programme has indeed equipped me with more confidence, the resolve to make a difference.

I met and made new friends. Learnt new skills and can now take on more developmental challenges.

 I can now initiate a community development project from start to finish with monitoring and evaluation. The fun aspect can’t be forgotten.

 Thank you WEP, this knowledge will go a long way.

My name is Micheal Orkuma Goon and I’m proud to have partaken in this programme.”

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Michael Orkuma Goon

 

“WEP Volunteer and Mentorship programme was very impactful, it helped me secure a contract job presently which I’m doing, it’s a project which is themed Building a culture of Pro Bono project in Nigeria where three parties are in partnership which is the Nigerian Bar Association, Justice Research institute, and Open Society Initiative for West Africa.

The project is in its second phase which I’m privileged to be amongst the team in Abuja and we are overseeing about five other states which are Sokoto, Kaduna, Kebbi, Lagos and Osun.” Adzege Stephanie Doofan

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Adzege Stephanie Doofan

“Knowledge they say is power and I have been empowered thanks to the Women Environmental Programme (WEP) .There was a time, I thought it was alright to sit from afar and determine a communities’ needs but I was wrong. WEP taught me to go close and relate with the community to decide their actual need.

Through the WEP mentorship programme, my skill and knowledge in volunteering, stakeholder mapping, project design, community needs assessment, monitoring and evaluation, community development, proposal development etc has improved greatly.

I am so grateful to WEP for this wonderful opportunity.” Nguvan Mercy Agaigbe

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Nguvan Mercy Agaigbe

“The WEP volunteering and mentorship program inspired me to believe more in myself and my abilities. This training inspired me to successfully design, manage and execute a 10days peer mentorship program for teenage refugees from southern Cameroon, through different trainings, cross-cultural interactions and capacity building tasks. It is a life changing experience how my little effort can change the world by volunteering and championing the Sustainable development goals (SDGs).” Agber kwaghdoo Sussan

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Agber kwaghdoo Sussan

“In today’s globally competitive environment, creativity has become the watchword for individuals and national success. Many non-governmental organizations are providing support programs, skills and knowledge to potential youths who aspire to be leaders in different spheres of life. WEP happens to be one of such that has created a conducive environment for volunteer youths to develop themselves towards achieving greater heights

The WEP volunteer program has enabled me think like a developer, carry out advocacy, conceive, implement and manage a project. Before now l had limited knowledge but with the training undertaken in the past months has clearly proven that one can improve their skills, rediscover their talent and have a zeal to contribute great towards societal development.”

Thank you WEP and God bless.”  VAJIME GRACE

The volunteers will soon unveil the community development projects they have conceived. We at WEP wish all of you well as you go out there to become ambassadors of community development.

WEP’s 2017 Annual Report and Audited Accounts

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The year 2017 was a period of transition and progress on many fronts for the Women Environmental Programme (WEP). As a way of projecting into the year 2017, WEP organized a two-day retreat for her Staff and Board of Directors to review her projects/activities of the previous year, to share success stories, lessons learned and to plan ahead towards attaining successful implementation of projects and activities and strengthening our global presence. WEP recorded a significant stride in the history of her existence with the celebration of her 20th anniversary tagged “WEP @ 20, celebration of service to humanity.” As at 2017, WEP had reached over 20,000,000 lives globally with her innovative and actionable initiatives. Download and read our report here – WEP’s 2017 ANNUAL REPORT AND AUDITED ACCOUNTS

WEP sub-grants to women and gender CSOs in Nigeria to advance SDGs’ implementation

WEP has provided sub-grants of 1000 Euros each, under the Women2030 project,  to 11 women and gender CSOs in Nigeria to implement activities that promote gender equality and contribute to the overall attainment of SDGs in the country.

The organizations and activities supported are:

Centre for 21st Century Issues (C21st): Capacity building of policy makers and women’s CSOs and awareness raising on climate change and the UNFCCC’s Gender Action Plan (GAP) in Lagos, Ogun and Oyo States of Nigeria. The aim is for policy makers to integrate gender issues in climate actions and for the women’s CSOs to have the skills to push for this to happen.

Centre for Development Support Initiatives (CEDSI): ICT skills training for boys and girls at Government Secondary School Oginigba, Rivers State through setting up a mini computer laboratory in the school and conducting ICT skills training.

Echoes of Women in Africa Initiative (ECOWA): Advocacyfor a gender and equal opportunities law in Lagos State to increase participation of women in politics.  

Women and Youth Environmental Safety and Empowerment Organization (EWAY):  EWAY is teaching 10 women from Kuje and Kadokuchi communities of Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) and Kuje Area Council respectively, upcycling skills to convert waste plastics into handbags and other products which they can sell and make money and at the same time clean the environment.

Fresh and Young Brains Development Initiative (FYBIN): FYBIN is empowering 3 youths (2 females and 1 male) from Mpape community of Abuja in poultry production. The youths have been trained and given starter packs to set up their poultry farms. FYBIN is also running social media campaigns to raise awareness on issues of gender, vulnerability and SDGs.

Gender Perspectives and Social Development Center (GPSDC): GPSDC is advocating for inclusion of people with disabilities in governance in Anambra State of Nigeria in Urum (Awka North),Osumenyi (Nnewi South) and Ukwulu (Dunukofia) Local Government Areas covering the 3 senatorial zones.

Kwande Sisters Foundation (KSF): KSF is training 4 women and girls on tailoring skills in Kwande Local Government Area of Benue State.

Murna Foundation: Murna Foundation is working to strengthen advocacy on gender and women’s engagement in achieving SDGs goal 5 in Katsina State of Nigeria specifically in the following Local Government Areas – Daura, Malumfashi, Batagarawa, Rimi, Kankia and Kaita

Niger Delta Women’s Movement for Peace and Development (NDWPD): NDWPD is carrying out Capacity building and skills development in Catering, Soap making and Coconut oil production for 30 women in Isoko North, Oshimili North and Warri South Local Government Areas of Delta State

Organized Center for Empowerment and Advocacy in Nigeria (OCEAN): OCEAN has proposed to build capacities of policy makers and CSOs in Plateau State of Nigeria on mainstreaming SDGs in policies and programmes of the state.

Ziongate Empowerment Initiative for the Less Privileged (ZEIP): ZEIP is advocating for policy and law on inclusive education in Kano State of Nigeria.

The project, “Women CSOs Networking to Realize the Sustainable Development Goals,” also known as “Women2030 project” is being implemented in about 52 countries of the world by the following global and regional women and gender organizations: Women Environmental Programme (WEP);  Women Engage for a Common Future (WECF); Global Forest Coalition (GFC); Gender and Water Alliance (GWA); and Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD), with support from the Department of Development Cooperation of the European Commission. The project has the following strategic objectives:

  • Build capacity of women’s and gender-focused civil society organizations on planning, monitoring and implementation of the SDGs/post 2015 agenda and the climate agreement.
  • Create awareness at all levels of gender-equitable best practices and progress of national post-2015 SDG plans
  • Ensure more gender-responsive SDGs/post 2015 plans with participation of women and women’s organizations.

In the same vein, WEP has also provided sub-grants of N600,000 each to 8 Civil Society Organizations – 4 each in Zamfara and Benue States, under the project “Ensuring Effective Implementation of Programmes, Policies and Legislations, that Contribute Towards Achieving Gender Equality in Nigeria by 2030.”

 The organizations are:

Environment and Climate Change Amelioration Initiative (ECCAI), Nigerian Association of Women in Agriculture (NAWIA), Initiative for Women’s Health Development and Right Protection (WRAHI) and Community Links and Human Empowerment Initiative (CLHEI) from Benue State. Others are  Life Helpers Initiative (LHI), Voluntary Aid Initiative (VAI), Millennium Development Centre (MDC) and Future Hope Foundation (FHF) from Zamfara State.

The organizations are expected to:

  • Conduct interactive meetings with women in selected rural communities in theses states to identify their priority needs and push for their inclusion in the States or National Budget
  •  Monitor implementation of selected capital projects in the States and National Budgets to ensure they deliver positive results for the youth, women and children

The project,“Ensuring Effective Implementation of Programmes, Policies and Legislations, that Contribute Towards Achieving Gender Equality in Nigeria by 2030”  is supported by the Kingdom of Netherlands and is being implemented in Benue and Zamfara States over a period of 5 years (November 2016- December 2020), targeting Legislators, Legislative Aides, States’ Executives; Civil Society Organizations; Traditional and Religious Leaders.

The objectives of this project include:

  1. Advocate 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 infringing on their rights.
  2. Ensure effective implementation of programmes and projects through capacity building of CSOs, budget monitoring and information sharing.
  1. Raise awareness amongst stakeholders on the fundamental rights of women