The 2021 International Women’s Day (IWD) celebration, with the theme: “Choose to Challenge,” was the first ever IWD in the history of Southern Kaduna. The event was organized by the Nigeria Early Response Initiative (NERI)/United State Agency for International Development (USAID) in concert with Fantsuam Foundation in Kafanchan, yesterday.
The Chairman of Jema’a Local Government Area of Kaduna State, Hon. Peter Danjuma Averik stated that, his administration will continue to encourage, support and inspire women to achieve their dreams.
Averik ushered encomium on Gov. Nasiru El-rufai for running a gender sensitive government by giving women the opportunity to serve in various capacity in his government.
Averik appreciates USAID/ NERI, Fantsuam Foundation and other groups for facilitating the IWD celebration in Jema’a LG.
In a paper she delivered to observe the IWD celebration in kafanchan, Dr. Hauwa Shekarau (Esq.), said, “Women the world over play a central role in the stability, progress and long-term development of nations. In Africa 80% of the agricultural production comes from small farmers most of whom are rural women. They play key role in food production globally. Women are the primary caretakers of Children and elders in every country of the world. International studies demonstrated that when the economy and political organization of a society change, women take the lead in helping the family adjust to new realities and challenges. They are likely to be the prime initiator of outside assistance and play an important role in facilitating (or hindering) changes in family life.”
Hauwa went further saying, “Women, particularly rural women are key agents for development. They play a very vital role towards the achievement of transformational, economic, environmental and social changes required for sustainable development. However, they have limited access to credit, health care and education. These are further aggravated by the global food crisis, economic crises and climate change. Given equal resources, women could contribute much more. Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) estimates that if women farmers who constitute about 43% of the agricultural labour force in developing countries; had the same as men, agricultural output in 34 developing countries would rise by an estimated average of up to 4 percent. This could reduce the number of undernourished people in those countries by as much as 17 percent, translating up to 150 million fewer hungry people.”
Barr. Omokide Chikodinaka, Programme Manager of NERI and USAID, said, “NERI and USAID are particular about women in Southern Kaduna and they are happy that women have come out to celebrate the IWD. Women are ready to challenge the iniquity facing them as women in Southern Kaduna. They are asking to be included in Peace Building Processes, Stability Processes, they don’t want to be seen as victims of conflict, they want to be seen as agents of peace and of change and they have chosen to challenge the structures, systems and the policies that puts them down and those that do not allow them to be included in stability processes in their region.
“Southern Kaduna women are highly resilient, I have never seen these set of women. They are tired of seen their husbands die, they are tired of seen their children die, they want peace. Look at them, from different ethnic and religious backgrounds. Peace is the heartbeat of the Southern Kaduna women.
“Southern Kaduna has the best Ginger, women are the farmers and processors of the Ginger but, they are not the exporters of the commodity. So, how can we bring them into the mainstream of economic activities in the region. We are happy they are speaking out, NERI is strengthening their voice to be able to challenge the things they are facing them.”
According to Kazanka Comfort, CEO of Fantsuam Foundation, “Women and girls are often portrayed as victims of violence. However, our experience in Kaduna state has shown that despite the risks we as women and girls faces, because of our gender, we have shown remarkable resilience in supporting our families in times of crisis. We often transform ourselves into caregiver to the wounded and the dying, we are forced to take on the roles of female-headed households and generally try to rebuild our communities from the ruins of the crises. In many instances, the first sign of return to normalcy and economic activities in the affected communities is initiated and sustained by women through our petty trading and agricultural activities.