Civic Education & Participation for Women Project

 

Overview
EWEI’s Civic Education and Participation for Women Project was designed as a means to address the under-representation of women and excluded groups in the political space, giving a voice to citizens’ concerns and encouraging participatory governance. CEPWOP activities include lectures, panel discussions, town hall meetings, interactive discussions  and pressure group activities by participants with politicians, Government Officials,  legal practitioners and other resources persons.  Other activities include the design and distribution of IEC materials, information dissemination using Nu-media. CEPWOP activities have benefitted 2,378 Nigerian citizens as at December 2011. CEPWOP activities have been supported by Open Meadows Foundation NY, USA starting in December 2011.

The Problem
Nigerian women have encountered a number of problems while venturing into politics. There is large scale discrimination from the men folk, both in voting for candidates and in allocating political offices. More often than not, men constitute a larger percentage of the party membership and this tends to affect women when it comes to selecting or electing candidates for elections. Since men are usually the majority in the political party setup, they tend to dominate the party hierarchy and are therefore at advantage in influencing the party’s internal politics.

Women usually constitute a smaller percentage of political party membership because of the social, cultural and religious attitudes of different Nigerian societies which most often tend to relegate women to the background. As a result, only very few men, even among the educated, allow their wives to come out and participate in politics. In Northern Nigeria, for instance, an important factor inhibiting women’s participation is the purdah system (i.e. house seclusion of women).

Another problem facing women is lack of adequate education. Women constitute a larger percentage of the illiterate group in Nigeria. This could be attributed to the fact that in most families, parents prefer to send their sons to school, instead of their daughters whom they feel would eventually get married and thus get incorporated into another family. Thus, a larger percentage of the girls remain uneducated and unexposed to opportunities for education.

Lack of adequate finance is another crucial hindrance to effective female participation in politics in Nigeria. A large portion of the Nigerian female population is not as financially strong as their male counterparts. Family responsibilities and childbearing also hinder women from participating effectively in partisan political activities. During a sizeable part of their adult lives, most women are involved not only in child bearing, but also in child rearing. Thus, much of the time they may have wished to devote to politics is taken up by their maternal challenges and obligations.

At both the national and international levels, there is a growing academic interest in the level of participation of women in politics. The ‘third wave’ of globalization emphasizes the issue of democratization, women and human rights which dominate world interests in Africa. African women, especially in Nigeria are exploited and marginalized. Despite the fact that women constitute about 49% of the total population, they are discriminated against in the political process.

The marginalization of Nigerian women is more pronounced in the democratization processes. Women in Nigeria constitute more than two – thirds of the country’s 70% adult non literate population while they hold less than 5% of the important decision making positions. The present national assembly in Nigeria has an appallingly low average of 0.05% of women in both houses.

Activities

Activity Convener Date Venue No. of Beneficiaries
CEPWOP Stage 1 EWEI 30th November, 2010 ABANTU for Development,Ahmadu Bello Way, Kaduna 7
CEPWOP Stage Two CEPWOP Delegate:Asabe Victor Yohanna 8th January, 2011 Kanikon Hall, Ungwar Romi, Kaduna 54
CEPWOP Stage Two CEPWOP Delegate:Talatu Baba 19th February, 2011 Baptist Church, Agyeityap, Goningora,Kaduna 30
CEPWOP EWEI and Gender Working Group 8th March, 2011 Kay’s Fun Centre, Police College, Kaduna 200
CEPWOP Distribution of IEC materials EWEI During Programmes and events 2,000
CEPWOP Stage Two CEPWOP Delegate:Tina Simon 19th March,  2011 St.Paul’s Anglican Church Ungwar Romi, Kaduna 34
CEPWOP Stage Two CEPWOP Delegate:Theresa Biniyat 18 February 2012 Tum Community Hall, Kaura LGA 18
CEPWOP Town Hall Meeting CEPWOP Delegate:Theresa Biniyat 14 September 2012 Tum Community Hall, Kaura LGA 31
Survey EWEI 17th June to 24th July 2013 Questionnaires 26
CEPWOP has benefitted  and involved at least  2,400 beneficiaries Nigerian Citizens since November 2010

General impact on community: Positive, more impact on the community, the programme had really help women see the need of education, give them the zeal to enroll in adult school and involve in politics. Women were able to define their roles and contribution they had made in the community and also changes they want to see in the community and the next CEPWOP programme.

Suggested improvement: Human development of the women in the community will assist them in generating income and improving their livelihoods.

Comments:
Hon. John  B Laah- Councillor: “Invite and organize experts to come and train the youth on trade and skill acquisition”

Tabita Bala Partticipant : “From the first CEPWOP organized, I have learnt a lot and even in this program, I am looking forward to a time where the women of Tum will be heard and assisted in politics”

George M Laah, District Head Tum Community : “Education is the best thing a woman can obtain to go into politics, so women should enroll in school and encourage their children to be educated”

Joseph Major Bala, Senior  Legislative Aide Federal House of Representatives:  “Politics is not a dirty game as people think, it is important as this improves the life of a community and makes it easier to ensure the provision of social amenities to the people.”

Conclusion:  The introduction of the project to Tum community has shaped the mind of the women towards development and improvement of their lifestyle especially towards educating their children and also acquiring knowledge.

Reports of all CEPWOP activities are available on request & can be downloaded here.