Training workshop for Legislators, Commissioners and other States Executives, on SDGs and Gender-Responsive Legislation, Policies and Programmes: The workshop was organized to target Legislators, Commissioners and other members of the state executives in Zamfara State. The project had begun with an advocacy/engagement of the key stakeholders relevant to achieving the set goals for the project. For this activity, relevant House committees in the Zamfara State House of Assembly, Commissioners and Executives of Ministries, Department and agencies were selected as key participants for the training workshop. The two- days’ workshop was held 27th and 28th of September 2017 at City King Hotels and Towers Gusau. A total of thirty participants were selected after considerations of their roles and responsibilities towards achieving gender equality and equity. This involved two Honourable House members on- House Committee Leader who heads the entire committees in the House of Assembly and Committee Chairman on Women and Children Affairs. Then the relevant key MDAs such as Ministry of Women, Children and Social Development, Ministry of Religious Affairs, Environmental, Judiciary, Planning and Budget, Zamfara Development Corporation, Education, Inter Party Affairs, Head of Service (HOS), Health, Local government and chieftaincy affairs and Small & Medium Entrepreneurship Development Agency Nigeria (SMEDAN). The Ministries were represented by Permanent Secretaries and Directors, this as observed was good for the project as Commissioners are political appointees who exit such roles when the tenure of that particular administration ends and most times give directives and are not directly involved in implementation processes. The workshop was aimed at: 1. To sensitize these group on drafting legislation and initiating programs and policies that facilitate the attainment of SDGs especially as it relates to gender equality and women’s rights. 2. To enhance the awareness of the Legislators, Commissioners and other State Executives on SDGs and women’s rights which serve as a guide to their work. Methodology The methodology used during the training were Power Point presentations, video shows, brainstorming, group work, role play, questions and answers. This allowed for active participation of the participation of the participants as well reflections on how things will be done after the training. The use of Pre- and Post-Training Evaluation as well as the Workshop evaluation was conducted to gauge participants understanding of the subject s of the training and overall organization of the workshop. It also involved some start up activities such as introductions, setting ground rules, workshop expectations and fears and use of ice breakers to set the tone for the start-up of the workshop. Participants were given flash cards to express their apprehension on the workshop. A summary of the expectations generated were for gaining knowledge for career advancement and project implementations in their MDAs. In like manner, the summary of the fears generated were hinged on ability of the facilitators to deliver the training in such a way that their aspiration will be met and management of time to enable them grasped the training content. The comprehensive training covered presentations from the training manual developed for this training on the following topics which were extensively dealt with and was quite interactive. • Project Overview • Understanding the key concepts of Gender • Human Rights and Women’s Rights, Human Rights Approach to Development • Legal and Institutional Framework for Gender Responsiveness • Introduction to Household/Public Budget Process • Gender Responsive Budgeting • General Overview of Sustainable Development Goals. • Gender Mainstreaming and the Sustainable Development Goals • Roles of Stakeholders in implementation of SDGs/ Presentation of Group work The project Overview: This session explained the project background information and stated clearly the roles stakeholders at the meeting were expected to play towards achieving the overall project goal. The session welcomed comments, questions and suggestions from participants. Some notable inputs were as follows; • Whether the project had provision for engagement with Islamic scholars like similar projects such as MNCH2, UNICEF, SAVE THE CHILDREN did during implementation • Need for aggressive advocacy that will involve Religious and traditional leaders especially those that have both Western and Islamic education • What political parties are doing to advance the course of women participation in politics. • Whether there was provision for individuals to make submissions on budget to the legislative arm of the government. • The objectives as observed did not capture issues on women education • Suggestions were also made to involve grassroots women, religious / traditional leaders and husbands who are expected to give support to women who wish to participate in politics. The participants all agreed the project was a step in the right direction and pledged their support and responses were given to issues of engaging traditional rulers during the sub-granting for NGOs to build on existing structures and involve these stakeholders who had been mentioned above. Understanding the key concepts of Gender: This presentation had two learning objectives as 1. To explain the different concepts of gender and gender responsiveness; and 2. To establish the impact of different structural and cultural barriers in relation to gender responsive public service design and provision The presentation gave an in-depth meaning of gender and disabused the general notion of gender as a women affair only. It was quite interactive as participants attempted at first to define gender in their own context. Some notable issues were captured as: • Apart from denial from education, girl child in Zamfara State is being cared for as they are exempted from “Almajiri” menace. (They agreed that issue was worrisome) • Girls are being cared for while boys in most cases are on the streets begging- “Almajiri” • On the issue of men being preferred in appointments over more qualified women, they reiterated that only graduate could attend the post of Deputy Director especially in key ministry like Education. Human Rights and Women’s Human Rights Approach to Development Learning Objectives for this session were summarised as: 1. To improve participants understanding of Human Rights, its principles and approach to development 2. To provide participants with an opportunity to analyse women’s rights as human rights and use gender lens in monitoring social responsibilities The session examined the various Human Rights and the instruments/ conventions Nigeria has signed to protect and promote human rights and how far the measures put in place has advanced women’s rights in terms of human rights. The session also involved experience sharing where participants were able to cast back their minds on some reflections on past experiences. The majority agreed that women’s right in one way or the other have been violated by their traditions and religious beliefs and practices. Some participants believed traditions were the main factor as Islamic Religion recognised women’s right. The inputs by participants as captured were: • The measures put in place by UN (Human Rights as a component of UN Declaration) to check non-implementation/ensure enforcement. • Political parties claim to give women free forms to contest election without adequate support to ensure their victory • Development can only be achieved if inequality is tackled • Inequality be eliminated at family level before the wider society • The doubt on complete elimination on inequality • It is the right of Muslims in Zamfara as a sharia state to practise their religion without harassment (Woman) • Human rights refer to right of individual as regards education, health and other social services that has to do with basic needs or requirement. (Religious Affairs) • Budget planning must involve beneficiaries to reduce inequality. Legal and Institutional Framework for Gender Responsiveness Learning Objectives 1. To properly analyse some operational laws in Zamfara state and how it affects equitable interest of women and how same can be changed to harnessed women involvement in all sector. 2. To analyses women involvement in Governance and Economic transactions in Zamfara State. The presentation was on the assessment of state policies and legislations related to gender equality in Zamfara state; just as stated in the learning objectives the facilitator who had assessed the Zamfara State legislations and policies attempted to create awareness on the gaps that existed in their laws and policies and needed to be bridged. The appointments and political posts held from 1999 to date were examined. As expected male dominated with little considerations for women and the physically challenged. Issues captured here were: • Religious belief and husbands’ attitudes are deemed a major barrier in the state that hindered women participation in politics and governance. • Even when women obtain forms, they do not scale through the primaries • Women in the past had attempted but did not receive support from even their female counterparts • Suggestion on getting a female desk officer for women in the ZSHA • Suggested on creating awareness for husbands as women required permission to attend ante natal and sometimes this is denied. Understanding Public Budget and Budget Process Learning Objectives: 1. Introduce participants to Public Budget and the Process 2. The Concepts and structure This session was equally interactive which participants attempted to define budget in their own understanding and context. They then related their definitions to what was attainable at household level when it comes to income and expenditure. The facilitator took them through definitions on public budget, how it is done, who should be involved and the expected deliverables on it. The Zamfara state 2016 budget was also presented to explain and showcase certain areas for participants to see and issues that did not really address the citizen needs were pointed out. The session gave the participant clear understanding on budget development process. From the presentations and plenary, the following issues were captured: • Orphans of the rich still collects what is meant for less previledge orphans in the state • Poor people are not always close to the government so their voice is hardly heard • Gifts given for charity by the government during festive periods do not always reach the beneficiaries. • Can the Executives arm of the government be questioned by Legislators over non-budget implementation/violation? • Most projects being executed are outside budgetary allocation • Monies targeted for projects being budgeted in most cases is hardly accessed before fiscal year runs out • Rural dwellers be involved in budget formation; right now, only Emirs know anything about budget • Typical rural dwellers do not concern themselves with budget process as they depend on their farming. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Learning Objectives At the end of this module participants were expected to 1. Be aware of the importance of mainstreaming gender in the SDGs 2. Be able to understand what the Agenda 2030 is all about 3. Have an overview about main challenges to achieve the Agenda2030 The session started with a video on transition from MDGs to SDGs and a plenary discussion on what the video showed led to the explanation on the SDGs as a comprehensive agenda which is also known as the Agenda2030 which was agreed upon by Heads of States and Governments in September 2015 The agenda which includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set out quantitative objectives across the social, economic, and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. The 17 goals comprise 169 targets, which are global in nature and universally applicable, taking into account different national realities, capacities and levels of development and respecting national policies and priorities. The participants were taken through the 17 SDGs with a view of mainstreaming gender issues into the SDGs. Roles of Stakeholders in implementation of SDGs • NGO and Ministry of Information to reach out to grassroot to disseminate messages on SDGs • Ministry of Health has started implementation of free drugs programme for pregnant women and children, provision of CLTS kits, nutrition programmes that target malnourished children and distressed adults, budget line for routine immunisations and polio eradication. There is a budget line for implementation. • IPAC- the umbrella body for political parties resolved that all political parties ensure inclusiveness by involving physically challenged people, women, the aged and youths at constitutional level. Not only that they must allot positions to contest during party congresses. • HOS- will consider all especially women counterpart and the physically challenged during recruitments in the state. • House committee Leader considered going back to sit and plan with all the committees about how the programme will be disseminated at constituency and grassroots level. • Committee Chairman on Women and Children Affairs plan to carry women and men along in implementation including disabled and juvenile people who are in prison. • Interparty- decided that their action plan would be to encourage women to participate in politics, partake in elective positions, national developments and insist their children are sent to school. • The Ministry of Education will play the role of ensuring adequate sensitisation and mobilisation of the society is carried out about the policies and programmes of SDGs; ensure also that every Zamfara citizen is considered when planning for the yearly budget in the education sector. • Ministry of Justice will ensure equity, fairness and justice for all irrespective of their gender. • Ministry of Information made a commitment to reach out to grassroots with the information on SDGs • Ministry for Women, Children and Social Development (MWC&SD ) is leading empowering women in skill acquisitions such as tailoring, beadmaking, knitting, soap making, pomade, disinfectants, car wash etc. already some women have received this training which has empowered them economically. This programme make sense the ministry will support it. There is also a rehabilitation centre under the ministry so the physically challenged will equally partake of the skill acquisition training. • Ministry of Religious Affairs will ensure change in the direction that will carry along the women, the aged, boys, girls and the physically challenged. • Zamfara State Social Development Corporation (ZSDC) has the responsibility ensuring development at grassroots but is limited by funding. Challenges • Effective communication was a challenge as most of the attendees lacked Western Education so the use local language was adopted to facilitate the training. • Getting the participants to attend the training workshop was a key challenge as most of them had to attend to their state duties after a couple of weeks they have been on strike. WEP had to shift the training a day forward to accommodate them which impacted on the budget planned for the training. • The training started late the first day due to the schedule of the HA members who were indisposed. This impacted on the two days training planned as the training sessions were stretched beyond the normal closing time. • Sessions were disrupted with participants excusing themselves to attend to official duties due to the strike action that had just been called off. Recommendations • Going forward WEP team should foster more collaboration with all stakeholders involved to achieve the set goals of the project. • The channel of communication that was established as a result of this training be developed further especially with the representatives of MWC&SD, Religious Affairs, Education, Justice, IPAC, HA members etc. • In future, such training be conducted outside the state to ensure maximum corporation of the participants • The roles as planned by the stakeholders be properly documented to serve as Advocacy tools in future engagements. Conclusion Over all, apart from the challenges encountered during the course of conducting the training, it was quite interactive, the participants showed a lot of zeal towards advancing the course of ensuring women are not left behind in governance and decision making processes in the state. Some myths that have been erroneously carried forward as regards public budget, gender equality, Religious outlook on women participation in politics and governance etc were equally discussed and the truth behind such myths were revealed. The conclusion was that Islam as a religion is not against women taking position in governance and leadership. Culture was the major hindrance. But to achieve the set goal of the project, Religious leaders (especially the Council of Ulamas) and traditional leaders were key targets. This knowledge was key for future engagement and WEP should be able leverage on it.