By Michael Eboh &
The United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, have advocated increased role for Nigerian women especially in the areas of decision making, planning and allocation of land and other critical natural resources in the country.
Speaking at the Youth Leadership Entrepreneurship Access and Development, YOULEAD, Project’s Learning and Sharing Forum in Abuja, National Coordinator of the Global Environment Facility, GEF, Small Grant Programme of the UNDP, Mrs Ibironke Olubamise, also emphasized more involvement of women in business. She also called for a national plan for women and youth entrepreneurship, with emphasis on environmental management, as this would ensure that all the resources needed are available.
She said, “We are advocating more emphasis for women, not only to get engaged in sustainably doing business but also to become part of decision-makers in land and natural resources planning and distribution.”
Olubamise noted that the UNDP GEF Small Grant programme had been playing a major role in the area of women empowerment.
She said, “We start right from the policy, project development and right from the programme development’ we emphasise women. Then, we have a women mainstreaming framework, such that every project and programme are reviewed in line with women empowerment framework. When we even go to the communities, UNDP insist and emphasise on the participation of women. Not only that we want to see their name on the list, we actually want to see them actually working.
“What you find out is that when you go to these communities, the majority of the people that are working with the natural resources and the environment are actually the women. They are the ones that used the water, they are the ones that collect the non-timber forest products; they are the ones that sell them in the market. These are the reasons why the women must be empowered, educated and given the environment to be able to do much.”
Also speaking, Country Representative of Cuso International, Mr Ebrima Sonko, noted that the organization highlights gender equality and social inclusion as one of its key programmatic areas, with the aim of promoting inclusive employment, focus on women’s economic empowerment.
According to him, it is known that economically empowered women contribute more financially to their families and subsequently, adding that not only do the women contribute to key decision-making in their families, they also contribute to raising healthier and better-educated children.
“Addressing these factors in a comprehensive intervention led to the development of the YouLead Project, implemented by Cuso International in Cross River State, with support from the Government of Canada, through Global Affairs Canada, GAC,” Sonko noted.