With the positive and negative events that impacted on the life of women and other vulnerable groups in the country in 2012 behind us, there are prospects of improved welfare for them in 2013 going by some activities proposed by government and other stakeholders.
Three billion naira, six ministries for women empowerment
Women empowerment is expected to get a boost this year with the Federal Government's allocation of three billion naira in the 2013 budget specifically to empower women through six ministries. Five Ministries which include Agriculture, Health, Communication Technology, Water Resources and Works will be working in addition with the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development to empower women. The ministries have already signed a Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) with the Ministry of Women Affairs to deliver on specific services for women in December last year, witnessed by President Goodluck Jonathan, Vice President Namadi Sambo and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
With this arrangement, this year more jobs are expected to be created for women. The Federal Ministry of Water Resources is to provide 240 sanitation facilities across the country to be managed by women and girls, the Ministry of Agriculture will also work with the Ministry of Communication Technology to ensure five million female farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs get mobile phones in 2013 to access information on agro-inputs through an e-wallet scheme, among other services by the ministries.
National social welfare policy underway
An all-inclusive national social welfare policy that will ensure the welfare and development of persons with disabilities, orphans and vulnerable children, the elderly and other vulnerable Nigerians is to be developed for the country.
The policy is part of the resolutions of the 14th Regular Meeting of the National Council on Women Affairs and Social Development held in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State in May 2012.
The new policy is expected to provide a comprehensive social welfare package that will check the growing menace of street begging in the country by destitute and Almajirai, curb the alarming rate of street children and hawking by teenagers, check the excesses of Area Boys and Yandaba activities and at the same time, address the plight of our aging population and other vulnerable groups.
The National Council on Women Affairs and Social Development is the highest policy-making body in the sector. The body meets annually and comprises the Minister of Women Affairs, States Commissioners of Women Affairs, and the FCT Director in charge of Women Affairs. Also in attendance at these Meetings are Permanent Secretaries, Directors and Heads of Women and Children Departments, as well as Rehabilitation and Social Welfare programmes at the Federal and State levels.
Review of National Gender Policy
The Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development plans to review the National Gender Policy which was five years old in 2011.
A pre-review stakeholders meeting is expected to be convened soon with various stakeholder to make the review robust.
The Ministry believes that the review will mainstream all stakeholders and facilitate a better operational policy document which will also create an environment for Government to develop mechanisms that will assist in the achievement of the national goal of gender equality.
Finals of continental scientific contest to hold in Ghana
The top 10 finalists of the 3rd Africa-wide women and young professionals in science Competition will vie for the prices and awards at the FARA general assembly in June, 2013 at Ghana. Nigerian women also participated in the contest which had several participants from different African countries and was held in stages. The Semi -Finals were held in Uganda in September last year.
Launch of a polio eradication campaign in all the three geopolitical zone of the north
Wives of the nineteen northern states governors under the aegis of the Northern Governors Wives Forum plan to launch a polio eradication campaign in all the three geopolitical zone of the north this year. They disclosed this in a communiqué issued at the end of their meeting held on 19 November last year in Abuja. They also plan to partner with development agencies, NGOs and community based organizations to address the problem of poverty, girl child education and violence against women in the region.
NAPTIP to hold stakeholders summit
The National Agency for Prohibition of Traffic in Persons and Other Related Matters (NAPTIP) plans to hold a stakeholders summit in the first quarter of this year to brainstorm and work on advancing ways of fighting the menace of trafficking in persons.
NCWD plans re-activation of Women Development Centres
The National Centre for Women Development (NCWD) plans the re-activation of Women Development Centres across the country, to enable women acquire vocational and intellectual skills. It is expected to empower those with small scale businesses and augment their income contributions to their families.WDCs will particularly help in empowering women in rural areas.
The Women Ministry, United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) and other Development partners, civil society organizations, Non-Governmental organizations, faith based and community based organization and professional bodies will also be engaging in wide advocacy and several programmes to better the life of women and other vulnerable groups in the area of access to justice and prevention of violence against women and girls, involvement in decision making process, healthcare, and economic empowerment among others.