British Council set to mark women’s day

Joe Okei-Odumakin, President of Women Arise for Change Initiative, leading a protest against rape

As part of activities to mark the 2015 International Women’s Day, British Council and two of its development programmes, the Nigeria Stability and Reconciliation Programme, NSRP, and the Justice for All, J4A, programme will honour deserving ‘women advocates and champions’ in three key areas namely: women in peace building, women in public service and decision making, and women in creative enterprise.

March 8th of every year is celebrated globally as the International Women’s Day. It is a time to reflect on progress made regarding women’s security, rights and empowerment and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by women who have distinguished themselves especially in male dominated environments.

This year, the theme of the day is ‘Making It Happen’ which the United Nations has closely linked to the 20-year anniversary of the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action -‘Beijing+20’, the 15 year anniversary of the MDGs and the 15 year anniversary of the UNSCR 1325. The Platform for Action envisioned a world where each woman and girl can exercise her freedoms and choices and realise all her rights. These include the right to live free from violence, to go to school, to participate in decisions and earn equal pay for equal work. Hailed as ‘the most progressive blueprint ever for advancing women’s rights’, the Platform for Action created a defining and lasting framework for change, through the comprehensive commitments in critical areas of global concern.

To mark this year’s IWD, the British Council will profile “Champions” through social media, radio talk show, workshops and round table discussions. ‘Champions’ include those who have distinguished themselves in works related to peacebuilding, women’s participation in public service and decision making and women in creative enterprise. .

The identified champions include: CSP Olabisi Kolawole, Dr Rabia Salihu Said, Prof Theresa Nnamdu, Eseoghene Odiete, Emem Ema, Risikat Muhammad, Grace Jerry, Huwaila Ibrahim and Nnaemeka Oruh.

Using its ‘Active Citizens’ network, British Council will support a roundtable discussion at the Bayero University Kano, to sustain the discussion on the role of women in the academia, peace building and enterprise and then share the experience of our women champions with University students. This will encourage more persons to join the drive against Violence Against Women and Girls and support the participation of women in decision making and enterprise. We will leverage the support of the university management to engage men on gender issues and establish networks to tackle gender based violence in campuses. Our ‘Champions’ will be featured on radio programmes in Kaduna, Kano and Jos where they will share their experiences, rising through the ranks and attaining success in a male dominated work environment. This way, younger women and girls will find success stories in which to draw inspiration.

About NSRP
NSRP is working to reduce violent conflict in Nigeria. Working in the country’s most conflict-prone states, NSRP supports Nigerian efforts to reduce the negative impacts of conflict on the most vulnerable, including women, girls and youth. We partner with federal, state and community level organisations to address the key drivers of conflict, improve their coordination and accountability, and promote greater inclusion. NSRP is a five-year (2012-2017) programme funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development and implemented by a consortium led by the British Council. For more information, visit www.nsrp-nigeria.org.


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