UN Women Nigeria visits Kano Emirate Council

Date: Thursday, August 4, 2016

“It is very important for us to work with men to promote Women’s Rights” – UN Women Country Representative (a.i.) during her visit to the Emir of Kano, Women Entrepreneurs and Widows of Bomb Victims

UN Women delegation with council members of Kano Emirate, and members of New Faces New Voices

UN Women delegation with council members of Kano Emirate, and members of New Faces New Voices

“The important and strategic positioning of the role of women in any family or society – be it political, social or economic – is tied to development. Yet women are the most victimized in times of conflict … Our traditional institutions, cultures and religions in any part of the country respect and protect the integrity of women”,
said Alhaji Abbas Sanusi, the Galadiman of Kano and  Senior Councilor of Kano Emirate Council, during the courtesy call made on the Emir of Kano on 13 July 2016, at the ancient and historic Palace of Kano.

The purpose of the visit was for UN Women to seek the Emir’s (His Royal Highness Muhammadu Sanusi II) support in raising the voice on women’s rights in Nigeria especially as relates to conflict and women’s political participation. “UN Women commends the emirate for fighting violence against women, and its commitment to promoting peace in Nigeria,” said the Country Representative of UN Women (a.i.), Mrs. Adjaratou Fatou-Ndiaye.

In the same vein, the Programme Manager of UN Women’s Women Peace and Security Programme (WPS)  funded by the EU, Mrs. Njeri Karuru, pointed out that women’s participation in peace building and decision making processes are affected by cultural constraints, “we are thus using advocacy  through community and traditional leaders sensitization and local women mentors, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, to build the confidence of women”.

The Galadiman of Kano commended the UN Women delegation for the visit, assuring them that the emirate will render its support and advise whenever needed. He also noted that the Emirate is in the process of establishing a programme for Women’s development. The UN Women team which included the WPS Programme Associate, Mrs. Nneka Egbuna, and Mr. Egbe Okpewuru (Assistant Director) from the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, was accompanied by the Mrs Aishatu  Aminu, Country Director   of New Faces New Voices (NFNV), a Non-Governmental Organisation working for the economic empowerment and mentoring of women, founded by Mrs Graca Machel, former First Lady of South Africa.

NFNV showcasing their products to the UN Women team

NFNV showcasing their products to the UN Women team

The   UN Women team also met with the Country Director of NFNV Nigeria, Mrs. Aishatu Aminu and women entrepreneurs supported by her organisation, at the Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD). These included 3 widows of bomb victims, each of whom had 10 children. Mrs. Aminu sought UN Women’s support in the small and micro-enterprise businesses. “With the economic advancement of women, so many social ills can be eradicated,” she said.

The women entrepreneurs met by UN Women were engaged in the local production of soaps, shea butter, hair oil processing, spices and beverages. They said they were using natural resources in Nigeria to their benefit but lamented that women are not spared from undue challenges in setting up businesses and advancing their products. Some of the problems mentioned include accessing financing and registering their business. In her response, the UN Women Country Representative (a.i.), assured NFNV that UN Women would work together with them to bring partners to support their programmes, “There is no freedom without money in the pocket”,  she added