The project ‘’Ensuring Effective Implementation of Programmes, Policies and Legislations, that Contribute Towards Achieving Gender Equality in Nigeria by 2030” was conceived to address the challenges of the address the gaps in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women. The project commenced in 2016 and ended in 2020. Based on the prevailing institutional gaps in achieving gender equality and empowerment of women, Benue and Zamfara State were the target locations for the project. Advocacies were conducted to traditional leaders, Members of parliament, Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), Political parties to get their support for their project.
Key Outcome and Results: Three arenas of achievements in of the project may be cited: development of policies, program and legislations that are gender responsive; generation of policy documents that support advocacy to decision makers, inclusion of the needs of women and girls in the public budgets, emergency of women’s movement and tools, knowledge and skills were gained by members of parliament, Ministries, Agencies and departments on gender responsive programmes, legislations and policies. Civil Society Organisations also gained knowledge and skills on gender programming, gender budgeting and Sustainable Development goals.
At the policy level, the project generated policy, programmes and legal reforms that contributed to the achievement of gender equality and empowerment of women and girls in Benue and Zamfara State. In Zamfara State, automatic employment was granted to female corps members in the State Ministry of Justice. Based on the project advocacies, three hundred (300) community women received training for community nursing and midwifery. Five hundred (500) women have been empowered with monetary supports to boost their businesses; Six (6) women appointed as special advisers in government agencies, twenty (20) girls were granted scholarships to study in various institutions outside Nigeria and the First Female Chief Judge was appointed. The project also led to the creation of grassroots women’s movement with eight hundred (800) members in eight local governments. The bill affirmative action for inclusion of women in public leadership was presented to the house and sponsor was identified. Civil society organization’s and women’s movement advocated for execution of two (2) projects in their community. In Benue State Women head strategic committees in Benue State House of Assembly Committee Chairperson on Appropriation and Chairperson Sustainable Development Goals and Development Cooperation; Seven women were elected as Local Government Chairpersons, three Deputy Chairpersons and Nin In the State Ministry of Rural Development and Cooperatives, twenty (20) female community development workers were employed , seven (7) women promoted as Directors. Two (2) laws that are gender responsive were passed, the Violence Against Persons Prohibitions Law and Administration of Criminal Justice (ACJA). Ten (10) cases of sexual abuse were prosecuted under the VAPP law. Ten thousand people were reached through media radio sensitsation programmes on the VAPP and ACJA. Grassroots women’s movement with five hundred (500) members in eight local governments was created.
The project encountered challenges in the course of implementation. The high level of insecurity in the States affected implementation of activities, insufficient budget allocation to the needs of women and girls, delay by government bureaucracy and political instability and COVID-19 affected the flow of activities, the patriarchal norms and change of political leadership was the major constraint to the passage of affirmative action law. To address these challenges, it was recommended that future funding programs should support legislative frameworks such as Gender Budget Act, which enshrines a law specifying budgetary provisions to address the needs of women, girls and persons living with disabilities. Grassroots Women’s movement engaged political leaders, demanded and got their needs included in the State budget. In order to consolidate on the gains made, future interventions should prioritize capacity building of grassroots women’s movement on organising feminist movements. Programmes should be tailored around capacity building of these women to prepare them for political leadership. In the future funding priorities should also be designed to pass the affirmative action law in Zamfara and other Northern States in Nigeria.