Gombe State intensifies women empowerment programmes

Rebecca Mu’azu, Gombe


Gombe State has intensified its empowerment programmes for women and the girl child through the provision of psycho-social support to the Internally Displaced Persons in host communities in the state.

This was revealed during a 2-day consultative forum organised by the Gombe State Ministry of Women Affairs, in collaboration with UN Women for representatives of relevant government agencies and civil society organisations in the state.

A consultant with the UN Women EU-Funded Programme, Promoting Women’s Engagement in Peace and Security in Northern Nigeria, Dr. Hassan Misari, said traditional and religious institutions in the state had also intensified their support in appointing some women to serve on their councils.

UN Resolution 1325

This is also part of the implementation programme of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325, which was adopted in 2000, aimed at meeting the special needs of women and girls during conflict, repatriation and resettlement, rehabilitation, reintegration, and post-conflict reconstruction.

After its adoption, the Security Council called on member countries to develop a National Plan of Action, which Nigeria in 2013 launched its first National Action Plan and re-launched it again in 2016, so as to cover emerging issues that were not bridged in the first National Action Plan.

The emerging issues that needed to be considered are insurgency, violent extremism, among others.

In its efforts to ensure that the revised National Action Plan is stepped down to develop the zones and state action plans, the Nigerian government has worked tirelessly to that end.

By December 2017, nine states in Nigeria had launched their state Action Plan.

They are Bayelsa, Borno, Delta, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Plateau, Rivers and Yobe have domesticated the National Action Plan, including Gombe State.

About one year ago, the Gombe State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Welfare, in collaboration with UN Women convened a stakeholders’ workshop, to enhance the implementation and reporting of the Local Action Plans.

National Action Plan

The overall objective was to enhance understanding and contributions of target agencies in the effective implementation and reporting of the National Action Plan and state specific Action Plan, as well as their effective engagement in the overall state peace architecture.

The UN Women Gender Technical Advisor, Mrs. Rhoda Zira-Dia, says the organization was partnering with other agencies to achieve the objectives of the UNSCR 1325 in Gombe State.

“The strategic engagement with MDAs will undoubtedly strengthen institutional capacity in the implementation, monitoring and reporting of the NAP and SAPs on a sustainable basis. The success of this consultative forum would serve as a model for possible replication in other states of the federation.

The Federal and State Ministries of Women Affairs and Social Development are expected to take ownership of the process as a means of enhancing monitoring and reporting of SAPs and NAPs, at all levels,” said Mrs. Zira.

The Consultant working on the Sap in Gombe State, Dr. Hassan Misari, said the successes recorded included the mobilisation of relevant stakeholders to engage on Women in Peace and Security programming segmented into four sub-committees, legal, mobilization, advocacy and the media for effective programme implementation.

“There is actually a very, very good response. The reason is, from the pre-test we had, because we had to administer some questionnaires for them. After that, when the sessions took place, there was there was this interest, there was this passion to learn more about it and on the Day-Two of the training when w e administered the post-test, there was significant difference there. They now understand what the concepts were and they are willing to actually report on the NAP and then ensure the successful implementation. As you know, it’s time bound. It’s in three years, after which we intend to review it again,” Dr. Misari said.

It was revealed during the workshop that in the course of implementing the Gombe State Action Plan, some lessons were learned, which include the need to identify state specific priorities for targeted action and the need for synergy amongst stakeholders in order to create platform for better service delivery.

According to Dr. Misari, prompt and regular monitoring and Evaluation of all activities were required and should be documented to track progress of women participation in peace processes.

Major and concrete lessons learned during this period are that; Prompt and regular M & E of all activities should be undertaken and documented to track progress on women participation in peace processes, for sustainability to be achieved, all stakeholders must be committed to WPS issues, there should be a well designed plan for sustainability after the exit of UN Women ownership to ensure the designed interactions is sustained,” Dr. Misari said.

Some emerging issues have also been identified, such as the need for the immediate attention on the State measures that directly address the absence of early warning and appropriate response mechanisms, the influx of IDPs into the state, which was contributing to the increased crime rates and the overstretching of social amenities and the disruption of societal cohesion especially in host communities