BY PRUDENCE IJAH, ABUJA
As beneficiaries, sponsors and participants recount gains, lessons and experience from the just concluded four years program on promoting Women’s engagement in Peace and Security in Northern Nigeria, stakeholders have advocated for the continuity and sustainability of the program.
The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development Senator Aisha Alhassan who lend her voice in this call in Abuja, during her keynote address at the End of Programme Meeting admitted that the four year initiative which ran from 2014 to 2018 helped to strengthen women’s leadership, advance gender equality and improve protection for women and children in conflict settings.
Alhassan who was represented said “this engagement has helped women to be in leadership positions in traditional councils, I request for the continuation of the project for the gains of the project to be sustained in the various states and even extended to other states”.
Speaking on the impact of the programme which was implemented in Gombe, Plateau and Adamawa state, the Country Representative of United Nations Women Nigeria Comfort Lamptey said the Programme is an implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution (1325).
According to Lamptey, “the three states developed state action plans, and local action plans which helped to drive the program while significant number of women were appointed to traditional councils in administrative positions and advisory positions.”
Comfort however called for the strengthening of the national action plan in the three states and the passage of the gender and equal opportunities bill in Adamawa and Gombe state.
In his address, the European Union Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS Ketil Karlsen advocated for the definition of the priority for the future, adding that with the progress made, women involvement should be upheld as a practice.
United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) Country Representative Mohammed Fall said that during the programme, UNICEF supported Child protection system to track and unite Children disconnected from their parents, as they provided psychosocial support to children in the three stats.
The UNICEF Country Representative who was represented by UNICEF’s Child Protection Specialist Sharon Oladeji while sharing key lessons and notable achievements from the programme, said “there is the promotion of positive social norms to end violence against Children, enhanced information and management systems, development of regulatory framework, generation of evidence to advocate for increased public expenditure on child protection services and progress in the justice and social welfare services”.
While sharing key results, best practices and lessons learnt from the engagement, Plateau state commissioner of women Affairs said the capacities of women were strengthened while women now serve as security monitors in their communities, adding that the local action plans were developed into brail messages thereby mainstreaming gender and disability into their activities.
Still on the lessons from the engagement, a religious leader Adamu Tanko said 12 local governments and 48 communities experienced the UN Women activities adding that over 853 women over the four years programme period have been included in the traditional council which has led to total inclusion of women in administrative positions in the states and local government areas.