African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development (Centre LSD) on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 introduced grant to, among other things, empower women and bridge gender imbalance gap in natural resources management in Nigeria.
Programme Coordinator, Centre LSD, Victoria Udoh, made this known at a news conference on the official launch of the Centre LSD BUILD grant in Abuja.
Udoh said that the grant was for general support for strengthening an inter-sectoral approach to gender and natural resources management and project support for institutional strengthening.
According to her, in Nigeria women face systemic discrimination in all phases of the extractive industry.
She added that the entrenched gender bias not only prevented women from engaging in and accessing economic benefits, but also manifested in how companies and governments engaged with communities at all stages of extractive activities.
“The mineral and mining Act 2007 which guides processes and procedures in the sector is gender blind, and as a result, company-community consultation and decision-making are done in alienation of women and their perspectives.
“The result is increasing gender inequality and the further disempowerment of women.
“Centre LSD in sync with the government’s determination to reform the extractive industry and diversify revenue resources to include non-oil revenue, implemented the Strengthening Civic Engagement and Advocacy for Effective Natural Resources Governance in Nigeria Project.
“The aim was to mobilise citizens to participate in the governance of natural resources for the mineral sector to contribute significantly to the Gross Domestic Product.’’
Udoh said that during the implementation of the project, emphasis was not placed on the gender dimensions of the impact and benefits of the extractives on humans as the effect on men varied from effects on women and children.
According to her, for example, as land is expropriated for extractive industry projects, so are the family farms that women often manage.
She said that those farms gave women the ability to earn income, some level of independence and decision-making power in the households and communities.
She, however, noted that women could lose such influence when their livelihoods were lost because of extractive industry projects.
She said that at the same time, men’s influence could increase significantly when they were employed and received incomes from extractive projects.
“To address these anomalies, Centre LSD is implementing a grant, still in the extractive sector, specifically looking at how to integrate gender in its extractive work to lay the foundation and baseline for this new intervention.
“The Centre is commissioning a research on the forms and prevalence of gender-based violence in the extractive sector in Nigeria.
“The research will lay the basis for advocating for women’s inclusion and participation in the governance of natural resources in Nigeria.’’
Udoh said that the goal of the project was to build a strong and resilient organisation that would contribute to the elimination of all forms of gender-based violence in the extractive sector in Nigeria.
She said that the project was in two folds: institutional strengthening interventions, and programmatic interventions adding that the N95 million project would run for five years but the first phase would run for one year.
Mr Monday Osasah, Executive Director, Centre LSD, said that the Centre implemented a project called strengthening civic engagement and advocacy for effective natural resources governance in Nigeria from 2016.
Osasah said that because of the successes registered in that project, the centre got a renewal from Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA).
He said that Ford Foundation also supported as the centre was able to mobilise citizens, government’s miners and others to participate in the discus of natural resources.
He said that basically the grant was to look deeper into the extractive discus from the lens of gender so that no one was left behind adding that there was a bias for women because all along they were not carried along.
“So this project essentially brings some form of equilibrium to the representation that we currently have so that everybody will take ownership of whatever that is happening in their domain particularly for mineral bearing communities.’’
Osasah commended Ford Foundation for supporting the centre to carry out the project.
By Angela Atabo