By Iliya Kure
Abuja (Nigeria) — Stakeholders on Gender and Social Inclusion have asked Nigeria to pay attention to the needs of women, the elderly, and people with disability by planning adequately for them.
They made the call in Abuja, at a Gender and Social Inclusion (GESI) policy validation workshop for Kaduna State, pointing out that the country needs implement policies aimed at harnessing potentials of these sets of vulnerable people.
Speaking with AFRICA PRIME NEWS, a GESI Development Consultant, Amina Salihu said, the contributions “these sets of people make, if properly harnessed” wil move Nigeria forward, citing examples of the elderly who had retired, but willing to volunteer services to willing organisations and institutions.
She said the meeting was to assist Kaduna State Government with suggestions that could help them prioritise their issues in the implementation of the policy.
“We are looking at what we should tell the government, we are looking at the principle of what informed the gender policy for Kaduna. One of the key things we need is to strengthen the government itself, to be able to deliver. It is not just the Ministry of Women Affairs
“The key learning is that GESI [Gender and Social Inclusion] transcends all borders, every MDA should have an indicator that will deliver for women, girls and the poor.
She praised the efforts of Kaduna and Lagos states for setting the pace in changing the face and style of governance in Nigeria, saying the two states have governors with demonstrated political will to make the system work.
Also speaking, the Executive Director of Aid Foundation, Emmanuel Bonet called for the proper placement of the Ministry for Women Affairs and Social Development to serve as the coordinating Ministry on Gender and Social Inclusion in the state.
He also suggested that all Desk Officers of GESI in other Ministries be officers in the rank of Directors, this he said will help better coordination at the Ministries Departments and Agencies of the state Government.
In an remark, State Programme Manager of Mobilising for Development (M4D) in Kaduna, Hannatu Ahuwan, said her organisation is working with three states in northern Nigeria to strengthen engagement at the grass root.
The Organisation which is a DFID project aims at strengthening people at the local level to contribute to governance in their communities and local government level
“We at M4D have an emphasis on two particular excluded groups of people… we are interested in working with, the physically challenged and adolescent girls, aged between 13 – 17.”
Permanent Secretary, Kaduna State Ministry for Women and Social Development, said Kaduna State is open to ideas that will propel it forward, especially with the current administration in the State.
She enjoined participants at the meeting to come up with a policy document that will address issues bordering on the needs of the vulnerable people, especially women and people with disability.
Participants at the workshop include civil servants from relevant ministries in Kaduna State, civil society groups and the media.