SWITZERLAND, JULY 14 – 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, Nigeria to tackle gender-based violence (GBV), women exclusion and other pertinent social challenges facing them via a recent workshop at the riverine oil-producing community.
The workshop, which was co-facilitated by local partner, Spaces for Change, analysed issues that have limited women’s terms of participation in society such as violence and gender inequality, and 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.
Themed ‘Inclusive Communities, Empowered Women’, the project, which was funded by international agency, Ford Foundation, also featured representatives from the Lagos State Government (LASG) as well as partners and community leaders in the area.
According to Abosede Oluwakemi George, representative of Lagos State’s office of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), 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 Nigerian society, Adeniji Oluwatoyin, another government official from Lagos State, challenged the participants to “go back to your various communities and tell everyone to speak up whenever such incidents happen to them or others around them.”
“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, Sewede Pot-Balogun Olorunfemi, leader of the local women association, 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.
The CSR-in-Action Group is a conglomerate of three sustainability-driven businesses: Consulting, Training and Advocacy. Its mission is to redefine the sustainability terrain in Africa, through collaborative strategies with stakeholders aimed at attaining higher levels of corporate governance, workplace and sustainable philanthropy. The organisation has a clear vision to propel collective transformation in Africa by promoting responsibility amongst all levels in their day-to-day individual or business activities.