Women Environmental Programme
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Pre-Project Advocacy and Sensitization in Zamfara State

IATI Identifier: NG-CAC-495140-NG-CAC-495140-RSG0123117

Published on IATI
  • date_range Jan 14, 2017
  • autorenew Finalisation (Status)

1.0 INTRODUCTION Women Environmental Programme (WEP) supported by Kingdom of Netherlands for the implementation of a project “Ensuring Effective Implementation of Programmes, Policies and Legislations, that contribute towards Achieving Gender Equality in Nigeria by 2030, seeks to ensure effective implementation of policies, programmes and legislations that will see to the attainment of gender equality in Nigeria. As part of the project activities, Advocacy visits were carried out in the target state of Zamfara to meet with and brief the stakeholders about the goal and objectives of this project. The project team convened a meeting with identified women’s rights civil society organizations to brief them about this project and seek their support. The team also met with members of the States Legislature and Executives to brief them about the planned actions in the state and seek their cooperation. 2.0 OBJECTIVES OF THE PRE-ADVOCACY AND SENSIZATION VISIT i. To identify relevant stakeholders that influence achievement of the project objectives. ii. To inform relevant stakeholders of the project particularly objectives and expected outcomes to elicit support and buy-in for the project. iii. To clearly discuss the roles and responsibilities of relevant stakeholders. Being a project targeted at increasing women’s participation in governance and decision making processes, the Project team identified to meet with the Zamfara State Commissioner for Women Affairs as a relevant Ministry to engage in the implementation of the project. 3.0 ADVOCACY STRATEGIES The project proposed Advocacy visits as key strategies used to engage stakeholders that have the capacity to influence policies, programmes and legislations to overcome the obstacles to women empowerment and gender equality. Because of the experience of Benue State Pre Advocacy and Sensitization meeting where most of the stakeholders did not attend the meeting, the Project team agreed on a one on one advocacy visits to the different stakeholders mapped.The team also proposed to meet and to seek the support of the office of the Honourable Comissioner of Women Affairs in facilitating the process of reaching other stakeholders identfied on the project. The stakeholders identified included State Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, Environment, Finance and Budget, Office of the Special Adviser on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Office of the First Lady, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Speaker of State House of Assembly, Chairman House Committee on Women and Gender Affairs, Traditional and Religious leaders. A meeting with identified women’s rights Civil Society Organizations was convened to brief them about the project goal and objectives, activities as well as seek their support. A state Project Contact Person from among the identified women’s rights civil society organizations who will provide necessary assistance in mobilization and other activities of the project was also identified. MEETING WITH STAKEHOLDERS Honourable Commissioner Zamfara State Ministry of Environment and Solid Minerals: Honourable Idris Mohammed Kaita- The Honourable Commissioner commended the project and pledged his support to ensure the project objectives were achieved. The Commissioner rated women’s political participation in the State at a ratio 90:10. He disclosed that his administration had made efforts to promote gender balance within the Ministry. “At the recent recruitment, 100 applications were forwarded and only 5% were female and their applications were for menial positions, and efforts to employ more women proved abortive as no woman showed up for employment”. He stressed that it was key to address issues of cultural, religious and educate women to have functional education thereby giving the women the opportunity to participate in nation building. According to him, the Ministry will initiate projects on alternative energy and climate change targeting grassroots women. The Commissioner added that he would support the project as well as other partnership with WEP to ensure women are fully represented in Governance. Permanent Secretary State Ministry of Women and Children Affairs: Yusuf Abdullahi The Permanent Secretary who received the team in the absence of the Commissioner for Women Affairs commended the initiative saying the Ministry welcomed any support on women issues. He lamented that in Nigeria, Zamfara State rates lowest in women’s political participation. In his remarks, he pledged to support the project with relevant information to facilitate the assessment of policies and programmes in the Ministry. The Permanent Secretary informed the group that the State Government made budgetary provision to fund projects on women empowerment. He admonished the team to share the work-plan which would support similar projects within the Ministry. He further pledged to participate actively in activities of the project particularly training of Commissioners on SDGs, gender responsive policies and program implementation. His Royal Highness Emir of Anka The Emir of Anka welcomed WEP team and expressed his satisfaction at the project initiative. He informed the team that his administration supports issues of women and girls empowerment through other development partners such as UNICEF and UNDP that have implemented interventions related to girl child education in his community. He made reference to a man that was recently arrested for coercing a young girl of school age into marriage. He pledged to ensure she returns safely to her parents until she is ready for marriage. In his words “there was no place in the holy Qur’an that restricts women from active participation in decision making”. The Emir admonished the team to engage credible educated women as role models and mentors of grassroots women and girls. He also promised to support the legislation on gender and equal opportunities. Hakimi Tudun Wada: Abdullahi Umar The Hakimi welcomed the project team. He emphasised that Islamic Religion supports women’s participation in decision making. He admonished the team to focus advocacies at the grassroots due to the prevalence of illiteracy. He promised to step down the messages within his constituency. Special Adviser to the Governor on Political Affairs: The Special Adviser emphasised that the intervention was apt. He emphasised on the important role political parties play in supporting women’s political participation. He mentioned the need to work with political parties who are key to the election of the legislators in States Houses of Assembly who can influence the legislation. He also mentioned their recent training/seminar in National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) Kuru, Plateau State where action plans were developed for increasing women’s participation in governance. The Special Adviser advised that inclusion of political parties will facilitate achievement of the project objectives. He said his office was open for collaboration and WEP team promised to work with his office especially to see how the action plan developed can be implemented. Zamfara State Chairman of Inter Party Advisory Council: Alhaji Sani Yusuf The State IPAC Chairman welcomed the initiative ad added that the he was part of the NIPSS workshop on the engagement of Women in political participation in governance. He advised that there was need to identify the areas of weakness of women and support to participate in the political processes. He stressed the need to work with the political parties in the state while also addressing issues of culture and religion. He also pledged his support for the project. Special Adviser to the Governor on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Honourable Hambali Shittu The Special Adviser commended the team for selecting Zamfara State for the project and for identifying his office as a key stakeholder. He added that gender equality is cross-cutting issue in the SDGs therefore gender issues are highly prioritized in the State. He disclosed that there was an ongoing baseline on women’s participation in decision making and the data collected so far indicates that there was a huge gap in women’s representation. He pledged to share the reports of the baseline and support the project with other relevant information. Civil Society Organisations: Civil Society Organisations commended WEP for continuous interventions on issues of women’s political participation in Zamfara State. They disclosed that the previous project on Women’s Political participation contributed to the emergence of two women in Zamfara State Executive Council and the initiation of the gender and equal opportunities bill at the State House of Assembly. The gains of civil society interventions was marginal but the project Ensuring Effective Implementation of Programmes, Policies and Legislations, that contribute towards Achieving Gender Equality in Nigeria by 2030 was apt and would complement the milestones of previous interventions. They suggested that the proposed bill should be forwarded to the State Ministry of Justice; traditional and religious leaders should be included in the advocacies and communication platforms established to ensure prompt sharing of information between CSOs and WEP. They also sought to know their roles on the project which was clearly explained. 4.0 DISCUSSION OF ISSUES EMERGING FROM THE ADVOCACY VISITS Extensive discussions were held during the visits and the following summarizes the outcome of the issues that emerged from the discussions. i. Religious and cultural beliefs are barrier to women’s participation in decision making: Most of the stakeholders agreed that the societal norms are guided by religion and culture, particularly men feel their spouses should not engage in public activities. Women who engage in public activities are seen as women with questionable character hence, this misconception deters other women from participating in any form of public activity especially politics. Contrary the religious and traditional leaders particularly the Emir of Anka disclosed that Islamic religion allows women to play active role in decision making the assertion is fallacious and women’s right advocate should debunk them with evidence from the holy Qur’an. ii. Prevalence of illiteracy in the State: Education is one of the major requisite that prepares one to undertake leadership role of any society. The acquisition of functional education in most cases have proven to improve the quality of leadership. The Commissioner of Environment disclosed that Zamfara State has the highest prevalence of illiteracy where women particularly are the most affected. The issues of early marriage and poverty constitute barriers to their acquisition of formal education. Girls of school age are subjected to street trading/hawking to raise money to buy household utensils/furniture in preparation for marriage, the practice is popularly referred to as “Kayan Gara”. Generally girls in the Northern part of Nigeria are socialized to understand that marriage is highest achievement they can attain in life, consequently their quest to acquire education is repressed by this perception. iii. Lack of Self- confidence exhibited by women: The issues of self-confidence emerged in discussions because the society has continued to regard her as unimportant and inferior to her male counterpart. Right from the beginning of life, society prefers the boy child to the girl child. All through her growing-up years, the girl child is socialized to accept her subordinate position. Over a period of time this system of socialization in addition to other issues have snowballed and diminished their confidence. Interestingly women constitute majority of the voters they campaign to garner votes for their male counterpart or spouses but lack the confidence to contest political positions. During the 2015 elections a political party indicated interest to sponsor a female candidate to contest senatorial seat but no woman emerged to take up the challenge, such resistance from women was attributed to lack of confidence. iv. Strategic engagement with political parties: Political Parties are imperative to the sustenance of democracy in Nigeria they are the channel through which candidates’ contest and eventually emerge as Political leaders. Compliance with quota policy instituted to promote women candidature within political parties is low. Even within the party structures, women are most times relegated to the position of women leader, an office which takes responsibility for mobilising women for politicians and entertainment so they lack real powers to influence change in the political [party structure which are largely dominated by men. v. Prevalence of poverty among the women: The high level of poverty among women constitutes some of the barriers to women’s participation in politics. Cost of contesting elections is too high and most women cannot afford it. It was disclosed that nomination forms are free for women but electoral activities also include other cost intensive activities such as media chats and campaigns. Women who have shown interest in politics lack the financial capacity to undertake these activities. 6.0 CHALLENGES i. The State Ministry of Justice insisted that formal appointments must be scheduled before the team could have audience with the Commissioner of Justice consequently the advocacy was postponed. ii. The Legislative members who are crucial stakeholders particularly to the passage of the Gender and Equal opportunities Bill, efforts to see them was abortive because most of the legislative members had gone on pilgrimage. iii. In the same vein efforts to see the Commissioner of Women and Children Affairs also proved abortive but the Permanent Secretary and Director of Administration granted the team audience. 7.0 RECOMMENDATIONS The State has potentials for emergence of viable female political leaders that can contribute to the development of the State. Government and development partners need to evolve innovative strategies to address these hindrances. The following recommendations are drawn from this engagement which would improve future advocacies. i. The combination of formal and informal methods should be adopted. Formal letters of invitation should be forwarded to relevant Ministries and agencies. ii. Advocacy in the case of this project should be continuous since the project is for the period of 4 years. Subsequently the advocacies will include State Ministry of Religious Affairs in addition to Members of the State Legislature and others identified during the project duration. iii. Since Political Parties are identified as key stakeholders to the realization of the project objectives, they should be included in some of the activities particularly trainings on SDGs and gender-responsive legislation, policies and programmes. iv. Visibility of project should also be enhanced through developing advocacy messages that are catchy for social media publicity. v. The role of Civil Society Organisations should be clearly defined from the inception of project implementation. vi. The sub-grant to civil society organisations should be designed to address issues such as self-confidence and low-level of education. The sub-grant can be designed to encompass activities such as training and mentoring of women political aspirants. vii. Advocates should engage with political parties to ensure that systems and structures are responsive to gender issues. See related stories to the pre-project advocacy: http://bit.ly/wepadvocacytozamfarastate http://www.vanguardngr.com/2017/04/benue-women-protest-demand-appointments-elective-positions/

  • Women’s rights organisations and movements, and government institutions

Participating Organisations

The funding for this project comes from the Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands through the Netherlands Accountability Fund Government Funding


Transaction Value Provider
Type Date
612,000 NGN Provider N/A Receiver N/A Expenditure
date_range Jan 18, 2017
10,335,820 NGN Provider N/A Receiver N/A Incoming Funds
date_range Nov 08, 2016


33,977 USD
  • 10,335,820 NGN (Valued at Dec 31, 2016)
    date_range Nov 01, 2016 - Dec 31, 2016
access_time Updated on Apr 18, 2017 16:38:38
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