The Educational Co-operation Society (ECS), in consortium with other four non-profit organizations, has embarked on a project of promoting the empowerment of women and vulnerable groups for participation and inclusion in social and economic developments in peri-urban areas of Lagos State.
The other consortium NGOs in the action include the Institute for Media and Society. (IMS), Healthy Living and Women Empowerment Initiative (HELWEI), Advocacy for Anti-Bribery, Corruption & Crime Prevention Initiatives (AABC & CPI), and Koloba & Lala Women Progressive Association.
The consortium project is funded by the British Council and the European Union, within the Agents for Citizen-Driven Transformation Programme (ACT), which is a strategic response to invest in and engage with the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Nigeria, with the view to strengthening their capacity to engage effectively and influence sustainable development, towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Nigeria.
The overall goal of the project is to contribute to the realization of gender equality and social inclusion of women and people with disabilities, in local development processes within Lagos State.
Specifically, according to a statement by ECS Executive Secretary, Dr. Chudi Iheanacho, the project aims to strengthen the capacity of Women through processes of advocacy, training on gender equality, and financial management, to enable them to participate effectively in decision-making and development initiatives at community levels, in Alimosho, Mushin, and Ibeju Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Lagos State.
Duration of action, according to Dr. Iheanacho, is six months, from July 2022 through February 2023.
Within the period, women will not only enhance their capacity for participatory processes but also, leadership development initiatives to meet basic social needs in their communities.
Women empowerment session at Egbeda, besides the offer of basic financial management skills to enable some two hundred and seventy (270) women to grow their small businesses, the project would also endear gender equality values to local leaders in target communities, and help them to appreciate the position of women enough, to support the participation of women in social development processes that affect them.
Gender equity and equality are one of the SDG goals yet to be achieved in Nigeria, particularly in Lagos State where the disparity is more markedly manifest, despite past interventions by various development institutions and governments.
The current action in the consortium is, therefore, a practical and multi-dimensional incorporating an educational approach to drive gender equality.
Accordingly, gender-equality studies have been extended to teachers, pupils, and other educators at the basic levels in target communities in Ibeju-Lekki. As a result of this intervention by the consortium, the capacities of 320 women (including women living with physical disabilities) in Alimosho and Mushin are strengthened enough to grow their petty businesses and participate in decision-making or development initiatives in their communities. Also, local leaders in target communities of Alimosho, Mushin, and Ibeju-Lekki Local Government Areas are beginning to recognize the position of women and to support theirarticipation in locial development processes.