As people across the globe celebrate international women’s day, the Climate and Sustainable Development Network (CSDevNet) North Central zone led by her team leader Jeiyol Elizabeth held an activity with women based group in Mbasa Community, Gbemacha Council Ward, Gwer LGA of Benue state in commemoration of the 2015 International Women’s Day.
The women at the grassroots level were mobilize and sensitized to raise their demands for onward presentation to the world leaders and government, to plan, make and implement policies that will proffer solutions to the problems faced by the women at the grassroots.
During the rally, ONE country representative was given the opportunity to speak to the women on the activities of action 2015 and ONE campaign and explained how the campaign is giving a voice to the women at the grassroots by raising their issues at the global level and ensuring that their concerns are taken into consideration in the development of the Sustainable Development Goals.
ONE T-shirts were distributed to the women leaders and their consent was requested to be part of the global petition to global leaders. A total of 83 women farmers attended the meeting while 15 representatives of CSOs in Benue State were also present
Gender and Environmental Rights Initiative – GERI (CSDEVNET zonal coordinators) and other Benue Network of NGO memebers made presentations to the women on the dangers of indiscriminate use of wood fuels for domestic purpose as it is environmentally unsustainable as well as the danger it poses to their health. Clean cook stoves were introduced to them with the plan to revisit the community to get them to buy cheap alternatives to firewood.
The women also listed their concerns to include inadequate opportunities and the complete lack of access to electricity and dependence on rain water or trekking long distances to streams for domestic water supply make life very difficult for them. The use of firewood for cooking and the attendant health risks was also raised as pressing issues that they would need to overcome to ensure that future generations get a better chance of survival. They expressed surprise at the fact that there was a women’s day internationally as they had never heard of such in the past. They unanimously supported the campaign and signed their sheets by thumb printing to list their support our petition. They further requested that scholarship for their children and mechanized farming techniques among other things were needed to enhance their livelihoods and opportunities.
The North Central team leader of the csdevNet, Elizabeth Jeiyol of Gender and Environmental Risk Reduction Initiative (GERI) delivered an overview of the action2015 campaign. In her speech she noted the withdrawal of women at grassroots when it comes to the issues of development; she encouraged them to consider themselves as key agents of development.
She further told the women based groups that 2015 is a year in which world leaders seeks to address the problems faced by women such as poverty, girl child education, climate change, sexual violence on women, inequality among other issues. She then urged the women to speak out their mind what they are facing at the grassroots for onward presentation to the world leaders for redress. She finally encouraged the women to speak on their affected issues at the community setting, religious and government settings respectively.
An interlude made by the women’s group was done in Tiv language (songs and dance). In their song, they appreciated the visit made by csdevnet and welcome every member of the team to their community.
In a similar vein, Victoria Esa of ECCAI, strongly noted that without women, there would not be any nation. She emphasized that government is aware of the challenges facing women but because of bad governance, their problems remain unattended to. She encouraged the women not to be discouraged but be motivated to speak out all their challenges at all times.
Responding, Christian Dzer the spokeswoman of the group appreciated the choice of their community for the activity and commended the csdevnet team. She said poverty has affected the women and the girl child inclusive; she listed many demands based on the challenges of the women in their community.