CSR-in-Action Advocacy, the charitable expression of one of sub-Saharan Africa’s foremost sustainability advocacy and consulting outfit, CSR-in-Action Group, has empowered rural women in the Badagry area of Lagos to tackle gender-based violence (GBV), women exclusion and other pertinent social challenges facing them via a recent workshop themed Inclusive Communities, Empowered Women, which held recently at the riverine oil-producing community.
The workshop, which was co-facilitated by partner, Spaces for Change, analysed issues that have limited women’s terms of participation in society such as violence and gender inequality, and with the radio series, outlines strategies by which women can rise to overcome these challenges. It is part of the ‘SITEI-Woman’ project, a series of initiatives targeted at empowering women, especially those impacted by the extractive industries in Nigeria.
SITEI-Woman is an offshoot of 10-year-old Sustainability in the Extractive Industries (SITEI) Initiative, of CSR-in-Action which is aimed at fostering fiscal and social justice for communities with oil and gas and mining resources.
The project, which was funded by Ford Foundation, also featured representatives from the Lagos State Government (LASG) as well as partners and community leaders in the Badagry area.
According to Mrs Abosede Oluwakemi George – Permanent Secretary, Office of the SDGs and Investment, who represented Ms Solape Hammond – Special Adviser to the Governor on SDGs and Investments, women often suffer severe difficulties in silence.
“It is time for them to rise and speak up about those challenges threatening to limit their progress, as well as their active contribution to society,” she said.
Condemning the conspiratorial silence often accompanying the occurrence of violence against women in the society, Hon Adeniji Oluwatoyin – Assistant Director of Community Development, Ministry of Chieftaincy and Local Government Affairs, Lagos, challenged the participants to “go back to our various communities and tell everyone to speak up whenever such incidents happen to them or others around them.”
Other dignitaries at the event include Mrs Taiwo Peters – Assistant Director, Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources; Prince Olutosin Kosoko – Founder, OK Foundation; Sewede Pot-Balogun Olorunfemi – Women Leader, Badagry Development Women Forum; and Opeyemi Oke – Founder, Equip Africa, Princess Dami Sonayan James – Founder, BSJ foundation; Olayinka Subair – Supervisor, Lagos State Women Empowerment Poverty Alleviation (WAPA); and Mr Mobolaji Ogunleinde – Patron, Badagry Development Women Forum.
“In Nigeria, women have been largely excluded from the growth and the development opportunities given by extractive industries in communities, while being at the same time disproportionately vulnerable to many of the risks associated with them”, said Bekeme Masade-Olowola, Chief Executive of CSR-in-Action and organiser of the event.
“SITEI-Woman is aimed at tactfully questioning and reversing those norms that have culturally and systematically hampered women’s progress,” she added.
Addressing participants in Yoruba, Mrs Sewede Pot-Balogun Olorunfemi, Women Leader, Badagry Development Women Forum, lauded the initiative, which aims to encourage and empower rural women to demand for more rights and benefits for themselves and their children.
“This is a step in the right direction, and we are happy that the CSR-in-Action team has chosen Badagry for this workshop,” Olorunfemi said.
SITEI-Woman initiatives include an educative documentary; a series of trainings for select government, community, company, civil society and media personnel on women security, gender-based violence and human rights best practices; and an expanded Community and Human Rights (CAHR) Awards, now Africa’s most inclusive celebration of outstanding individuals and organisations that have performed creditably in engaging their communities through equity, environmental awareness, poverty alleviation, education and the general promotion of human dignity. Visit www.csr-in-action.org/sitei/sitei-woman for more information.
Other partners of the workshop include Zenera Consulting, Olu Kosoko Foundation, BSJ Foundation, the Badagry Development Women Forum and the Badagry Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture.