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An array of key stakeholders including activists, business leaders, celebrities and government representatives are set to deliberate on pathways for empowering women in Nigeria’s extractive communities at the 9th Sustainability in the Extractive Industries (SITEI) Conference, holding virtually on Tuesday, 17 and Wednesday, 18 November, 2020. To attend the free event, interested participants can register online at csr-in-action.org/sitei.

Some of the prominent personalities participating in the SITEI 2020 Conference include the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Olumide Akpata; Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Social Investments; Maryam Uwais; Managing Director of LADOL Free Zone, Dr Amy Jadesimi; Special Adviser to the President on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire; Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Edo Iyamu; Lead Pastor, The Elevation Church, Godman Akinlabi; President, Women in Mining in Nigeria (WIMIN), Hon. Janet Adeyemi; and rapper, Michael Ugochukwu Stephens, known as Ruggedman. Others include Country Manager, Natural Resource Governance Institute, Shari Bryan; Author and Associate Professor, CUNY, Yuliya Zabyellina; Deputy Director Nigeria Office, Dayo Olaide; Executive Assistant and Coordinator, Delta/UNIDO Centre and Export Initiative, Chief Mrs Shimite Bello and Ghanaian Community Politician, Hannah Owusu-Koranteng, to name a few.

Organised by CSR-in-Action – the multi-level, multi-stakeholder organisation driving collective social responsibility and corporate governance in West Africa – in collaboration with private and public sector partners, SITEI has served as a veritable platform for charting sustainable paths to more fairness and inclusion in Nigeria’s volatile and complex extractive industries sector for almost a decade.

This year’s meeting will include the 2nd Community and Human Rights (CAHR) Awards, aimed at celebrating outstanding individuals and organisations that have performed excellently in community engagement and the protection of human rights.

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The SITEI 2020 Conference, themed: Inclusive Communities, Inspired Women, will focus on reversing the norms that have culturally and systematically hampered women’s progress and youth exclusion in extractive industries’ dialogue and benefits.

“Women in oil and gas and mining host communities across the world still face challenges with inclusion and it is worse off now during the pandemic when women have to stay at home with lowered incomes for families leading to higher rates of domestic violence and other human rights abuses. What they face now is what I call a porndemic,” Chief Executive of CSR-in-Action and SITEI Conference Convener, Bekeme Masade remarked.

She expressed optimism that through the discussions at the Conference, stakeholders – both men and women – will be inspired and empowered to foster oil and gas and mining community inclusion leading to more transparency and active female participation in this section of the Nigerian economy.

“Government officials often talk about gender inclusion without really following through with it,” the President of WIMIN, Janet Adeyemi, said. WIMIN is a partner of the SITEI Initiative.

According to Adeyemi, gender inclusion begins by taking statistics of the number of women in various organisations. “There is also a need for building capacity because we still need capable women to fill in the quota in the mining industry as well as other sectors of the economy,” she added.

Adeyemi revealed that WIMIN is happy to see how its partnership with CSR-in-Action’s SITEI can lead to the development of the industry and to ensure that women have their rightful place in the society.

For the first time in nine years, the SITEI Conference will be held virtually with speakers and panellists joining from remote locations across the world. This reflects the digital transformation sweeping across Africa, fast-tracked by the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors.

“SITEI is adjusting to the new reality of digital transformation…SITEI2020 is going virtual. We have evolved, not just the organisation, but the way we will embrace technology to achieve our goals.” Chairman, SITEI Conference Planning Committee, Meka Olowola, said.

Ford Foundation has been critical to enabling the hosting of the SITEI Conference over the years, and Global Rights is a co-sponsor of the CAHR Awards.

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