To mark International Women’s Day 2018, MEDA is highlighting important issues and voices around women’s economic empowerment and gender equality in the area of economic development. This is the fifth in our “Press for Progress” blog series celebrating the power of women entrepreneurs and their partners around the world.
At MEDA, we are proud to hire local staff in our offices around the world. Our Nigeria office is no exception.As part of activities marking the International Women’s Day celebrations, the men of MEDA Nigeria WAY have chosen to stand for progress. They pledged to support the elimination of gender-based violence and increase women’s access to equal opportunities both in their communities and in their homes.
The men charged themselves with the responsibility of educating themselves to be sensitive and aware of gender biases and discrimination. They pledged to strive to eliminate gender-based violence, increase women and girl’s access to equal opportunities and be a positive example and role-model at home, the office and communities in which they work. They promised to speak up against discrimination and gender biases at home, their social circles, community and work.
In addition to the pledge, the project office organized an #IWD2018 event that focused on staff commitment to supporting and promoting gender equality initiatives in their communities. They also discussed some of the forces that are currently hindering women, especially in the agro-processing field in rural communities. Much work still needs to be done in regard to women inclusivity and gender quality, but staff are committed to fostering change.
On International Women’s Day 2018, MEDA Nigeria invited three prominent women in the Nigerian community to speak to their staff. Yagana Gidado, representative of the Federation of Muslim Women’s Associations in Nigeria (FOMWAN), Hafsat Ibrahim, chairperson of No Retreat No Surrender and Dr. Rose Danladi Idi from the Bauchi State Agricultural Development Programme (BSADP).
“The home-front is fundamental in the shaping of attitudes and decisions of women in rural areas, especially with regard to agricultural activities,” said Gidado. She pressed the importance of including women in the agricultural sector and shared strategies that could encourage women to become financially capable.
“Women want to be empowered, but they need encouragement and support from their homes and communities in order to fulfill their desires,” said Gidado.
Hafsat Ibrahim, chairperson of No Retreat No Surrender, lamented over the fact that rural women were still limited by society, especially when it came to working or receiving support from their husband.
Dr. Rose Danladi ichi from the Bauchi State Agricultural Development Programme (BSADP), noted that agriculture should be open to women so that they feel free to participate. But also noted that it is, “Important to be patient and respectful when working with people in order to sustain community development programs.”
When participants at the event were asked who their role-models were in their life when it came to women empowerment - 95 percent of participants stated that their mothers have played a significant role in their lives.
This is telling.
Women in communities around the world play an important role. The work they do is not invisible to those around them. That is why it is important to support women as they lead those around them and encourage them as they advocate for change.
Our Nigeria WAY project recently launched in November of 2017 will support 16,000 small scale businesses and entrepreneurs, particularly those run by women and youth, to improve their business performance and the business environment in the agricultural sector in Bauchi state. The project will also aim to increase communities’ awareness on the issues of early and forced child marriage with 25,000 community and family members in Bauchi state.
Roxie Ola-Akuma is passionate about using media tools to transform people's thinking patterns. She holds an M.Sc. in Media and Communications and is currently serving as the communications officer for MEDA Nigeria WAY Project.
Want to support our Nigeria WAY project? Join us for Women Walking to GROW to support the WAY! Be one of the heroes, trekking 100km to raise $100K for the Nigeria WAY project.