CLEEN Foundation Commemorates International Women’s Day 2022
The focus for the International Women’s Day 2022 was on promoting gender equality for a sustainable tomorrow in the context of the ongoing climate crisis. In light of this, it was imperative for world leaders, policymakers, women’s rights activists, development partners and citizens in line with the principle of “Leave No One Behind” to imagine a gender neutral world where difference is celebrated and not punished; a world free of bias, and the harmful stereotypes that hold women back; a world where women are free to not only dream, but are empowered to go after their dreams and lead fulfilling lives.
Thus, in line with this overarching objective, the CLEEN Foundation, on the 8th March 2022 held three events in commemoration of International Women’s Day 2022. The focus was to celebrate women’s achievement and how members of rural communities can take action in mitigating the effects of climate change on food security. It also aimed to coordinate intergenerational conversations at reimagining primary and secondary education as a tool for breaking the biases that hold women and girls back from achieving their God given potentials.
In the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, the one-day conference was organized to highlight the contributions of Nigerian women and girls who are leading the charge against climate change, disaster management and risk mitigation. Tagged: #BreaktheBias Conference. The event held on Tuesday, March 8th, 2022, and had in attendance a total of 30 participants- women and girls between the ages of 16-30, who were drawn from the seven Area Councils.
The two guest speakers and Honourees, Zainab Yunusa and Bilikis Ishiola, while sharing their success stories, spoke extensively to the barriers girls and women face in the climate action space, and the society at large and also examined the plethora of opportunities that exist in the space for girls and young women who are passionate about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 5 and 13 respectively. The event came to an end with the signing of the call-to-action plaque by the participants, as proof of their commitment to promoting women’s empowerment and a sustainable world.
In Owerri, the Imo State Capital, CLEEN Foundation engaged community women as critical stakeholders in the fight against climate change, this was necessitated by the fact that women and children are often the worst hit by the climate crisis due to the underlying socio-cultural and systemic barriers they face. The Foundation engaged rural women farmers on how to incorporate sustainable farming practices and establishing the nexus between climate change and worsening food insecurity challenge world over. The two facilitators highlighted the effects of climate change on daily-living, especially as faced by rural farmers, and stressed the importance of agriculture to reducing the amount of greenhouse gases trapped in the atmosphere. The women were encouraged to incorporate best farming practices like reduced tillage, expanding crop rotations, equipped with this knowledge, the beneficiaries promised to not only incorporate these best practices but to step down the trainings to other members of their communities.
Similarly, the CLEEN Foundation in Edo state, took the conversation to the in-school students and a cross section of key stakeholders in the state. The intervention logic was based on the premise that to combat the harmful stereotypes that hinder women from maximizing potentials and lead full lives, gender-sensitive education must begin in early childhood, and in line with the conversation on climate change, educational policies, regulatory and institutional frameworks must take on a gender responsive lens from design to implementation. At a community level, parents, teachers, and guardians were urged to create an enabling environment that would better position the female child to thrive and compete fairly with male counterparts.
Summarily, for International Women’s Day 2022, the CLEEN Foundation highlighted the critical leadership role women and girls play in not just leading the charge on climate change, but at all levels of public and private life with the role of government, policy makers, faith based, and non-profit practitioners and organizations can play in women’s development. It brought to fore the urgent need to begin to proactively tackle the myriad of socio-cultural and systemic biases women and girls encounter daily. For the Foundation, amplifying women’s voices and inspiring hope does not stop with the political significance of commemorating this day, but requires continuous and deliberate policy effort by lawmakers and world leaders. It is imperative for civil society organizations to continue to galvanise for public support in breaking the biases that hold women down.