Friday, November 25, 2011

Press Statement on the occasion of the "16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence"

BAOBAB for Women’s Human Rights (BAOBAB)
On the occasion of the
“16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence”
Lagos, Nigeria, November 25 2011
Press Statement

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press,

BAOBAB for Women’s Human Rights (BAOBAB) happily welcome you to this Media conversation happening on the first day of the “16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence,” “From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let's Challenge Militarism and End Violence Against Women’.”

The 25th November every year marks the beginning of the “16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence” which is an international campaign that started in 1991 dedicated to advocate against all forms of Gender Based Violence. The 16 Days runs from November 25, (International Day against Violence against Women) to December 10, (International Human Rights Day) to symbolically link violence against women and human rights and to emphasise that such violence is a violation of human rights. This 16-day period also highlights other significant dates including December 1, which is World AIDS Day, and December 6, which marks the Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre in 1989, when 14 women students were massacred by a lone gun-man opposed to the affirmative action policies promoted by feminists at the University of Montreal.

Since the “16 days…” campaign started, this period has been utilized by various women’s groups to call for the elimination of violence against women by raising awareness about gender based violence as a human rights issue at the local, national, regional and international levels; strengthening local work around violence against women; establishing a clear link between local and international work to end violence against women; providing a forum in which organisers can develop and share effective strategies; demonstrating the solidarity of women around the world organising against violence against women and creating tools to ask governments to implement promises made to eliminate violence against women.

Over the years, gender based violence has been a cause for concern in Nigeria and the world at large. This is mainly due to the very patriarchal nature of the society and obnoxious cultural beliefs that subjugate women and lead to their systemic discrimination in private and public spheres. The need for strategic campaigns and interventions has become even more crucial with recent reports of the prevalence of rape and assault cases on women and young girls in the country. This rise in the number of cases is a very worrisome development as BAOBAB has also continued to receive more reports of violence against women at its offices and via email and telephone calls. Two of such cases of violence are the alleged infamous gang rape in August 2011 of a young woman by 5 men suspected to be students of Abia State University, as well as the rape of female students of St Anne’s college Ibadan, Oyo state. There was also the cold murder of a female banker allegedly by her husband, amongst others.

The theme for this year’s campaign is ‘From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let's Challenge Militarism and End Violence against Women’. BAOBAB for Women’s Human Rights is today joining other partners around the world to mark the period with a series of activities which include: a Gender and leadership training for young boys and girls between the ages of 13 -17 years; solidarity street campaign by a network of Men and Boys against Violence against Women (MABVAW); an in-house debate by the BAOBAB team on “Violence Against Women and Globalization, ”as well as various social advocacy activities by members of our community based volunteer outreach teams in 15 states of the country.

BAOBAB is using this opportunity to call on the government of Nigeria to:

1. Expedite the passage of the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill into Law;

2. Expedite the reintroduction, adoption and passage of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Bill into Law;

3. Establish support mechanisms including one-stop centers for victims of SGBV and formal shelters in collaboration with women focused NGOs;

4. Strengthen existing laws and frameworks to protect women from FGM and other harmful practices

5. Increase involvement of women in peace building processes and strengthen CSO collaboration for sustained engagement in conflict prevention and peace building.

6. Improve the collection of disaggregated data and maintenance of statistics on SGBV.

7. Ensure efficient investigation and prosecution of SGBV cases.

Distinguished friends of the Press and fellow agents of social transformation, once again we are happy that you have honoured this invitation to participate in the conversations of the next few hours and some of the activities with us, and we hope that this will translate to further collaboration towards eliminating all forms of gender based violence and consequently promote human development. Remember, if it is not good for your mother, daughter or sister, then it is not good for any woman! Let’s stop violence against Women now!

Thank You all

Chibogu Obinwa

Ag. Executive Director

Monday, November 21, 2011

Concept Note - “16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence” (2011)

BAOBAB for Women’s Human Rights
 “16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence”
November 25th – December 10th   2011
Theme: “From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let's Challenge Militarism and End Violence against Women.”
Concept Note
Gender-based violence is a universal reality existing in all societies regardless of economic status, class, culture or any other diversity. So many women have, and are experiencing this form of violence which has adversely affected their well being as well as productivity in their homes, communities and places of work. This problem in a country like Nigeria is mainly due to the very patriarchal nature of the society and obnoxious cultural beliefs, which suppress women and leaves them to suffer in silence. These inhumane acts have continued to prevent women from achieving their maximum potentials and compromise their physical and psychological integrity.
The 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence is an international campaign that was started by the Center for Women's Global Leadership (CWGL) in 1991. The 16 Days runs from November 25, (International Day against Violence against Women) to December 10, (International Human Rights Day) to symbolically link violence against women and human rights and to emphasise that such violence is a violation of human rights. This 16-day period also highlights other significant dates including December 1, which is World AIDS Day, and December 6, which marks the Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre in 1989, when 14 women students were massacred by a lone gun-man opposed to the affirmative action policies promoted by feminists at the University of Montreal.

Since it began, the 16 Days of Activism has been used as an organising strategy by women’s groups to call for the elimination of violence against women by raising awareness about gender based violence as a human rights issue at the local, national, regional and international levels; strengthening local work around violence against women; establishing a clear link between local and international work to end violence against women; providing a forum in which organisers can develop and share effective strategies; demonstrating the solidarity of women around the world organising against violence against women and creating tools to pressure governments to implement promises made to eliminate violence against women.
BAOBAB for Women’s human Rights in line with one of its objectives to partner with like-minded organizations, is joining other groups across the world to mark the 2011  “16 days of Activism against Gender Based Violence.”
The theme for this year’s campaign is ‘From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let's Challenge Militarism and End Violence against Women’.
In line with this theme, the following activities have been planned for the period.

1.       Media Conversation
BAOBAB plans to invite some members of the Media (both electronic and print) for a briefing on the concept of the “16 Days…” campaign, and for a post briefing conversation around gender based violence in Nigeria, the role of the social responsibility of the media and follow-up action. The media will also be invited to interview a few of the teenage students who will be in attendance regarding their role in addressing gender based violence in Nigeria.  
Date: November 25th 2011
Venue: BAOBAB’s Conference Hall
Time: 9am

2.      Peer Educators’ training on GBV and leadership training for young boys and girls, respectively, between the ages of 13 -17 years.
Society has changed over the years. One of the most significant changes that will have a great impact in the development process and leadership is the involvement of adolescents in leadership. With the influence of globalization and modern social media, teens of today desire different things from teens of yesterday. These drives pull or attract teens to negative activities or towards a desirable goal or objective. The power of peer influence and helping teenagers cope with the universal, everyday problems and pressures of becoming adults which involves team building is the essential foundation of a strong, diverse and democratic society. BAOBAB recognizes the strategic importance of mentoring leaders while they are young especially as leadership skills can be learned by those who might never imagine themselves playing such prominent role in the world.
In view of this, BAOBAB will organize a two (2) day Peer Educators’ training on GBV for young boys and a three (3) day transformative leadership training for young girls both in Lagos state.

Date:     25th and 26th November 2011 (Training for teenage boys)
               28th -30th November 2011 (Training for teenage girls)
Venue: BAOBAB’s conference hall

3.      Men and Boys against Violence against Women (MABVAW) solidarity walk.
Globally, there is more recognition of the need to involve men and boys in the campaign to end violence against women. Since 2005, BAOBAB has translated this strategy of involving men and boys to address gender based violence to local advocacy mobilizing and action. Our first gender sensitization training and debate was organized in 2005, with the male relatives and friends of BAOBAB in attendance. We have since then organized different groups of men and boys in gender awareness workshops, popular theatre, ‘men-only’ led street campaigns on anti-gender based violence, and open debates. These men have been committed to lead the campaign against violence against women.   We have also been doing on-line advocacy to provoke strategic discussion on involving men and boys to address violence against women. The general feedback we received, spurred us on to institutionalize this strategy and extend it nationally and possibly regionally.
 This year, BAOBAB will organize a solidarity campaign walk around the Ogudu environs where men and boys will disseminate stickers with varied anti gender based violence messages and other IEC materials as well as sensitize people on issues of violence against women.
Date: 9th of December 2011
Venue: Take of point is BAOBAB’s office

4.      In-house debate on Violence Against Women and Globalization
As a means of updating BAOBAB personnel knowledge base, BAOBAB will organize a debate on “Globalization and Gender based Violence.” 

Venue: BAOBAB’s conference hall
Date: 8th December 2011

5.      Community Based Outreach activities
BAOBAB’s volunteer outreach teams in 15 States of Nigeria will also organize various social advocacy activities (e.g. media briefing, street campaigns etc) to raise awareness against GBV.
BAOBAB believes that these activities will further enhance public knowledge of GBV and opportunities/avenues for access to justice for the violated–all geared towards ensuring that ‘Women’s Human Rights become an integral part of everyday life’
6.      Expected Outcomes
  • An increased awareness by the general public, the media, law enforcement and other state agents towards addressing cases of violence against women and girls –especially domestic violence
  • Increased awareness amongst men and boys on women’s human rights in general, and different dimensions of violence against women in particular
  • Beneficiaries committing to initiate programmes e.g. teenage girls and boys initiating social clubs in schools and religious institutions, to campaign
  • Significant reduction of incidents of VAW
  • Increase and strengthen the network of men and boys who campaign against VAW

Gender Violence; Women mostly affected - by Theresa Kelubia

Violence is an act carried out with the intention or perceived intention of physically harming another person. From a gender perspective, it is a violent act perpetrated on women mostly by men because they are women. It has also been pointed out by the society that women are vulnerable to various forms of violent acts for several reasons such as being seen as weaker vessels,   being financially dependent on their men, and low self esteem. When there is a crisis woman and young girls are usually targeted and this has led women to be subjected to rape, sexual harassment, just to mention a few.
Rape has become the issue of the day as many women and young girls are victims of this evil act. Rape is an unlawful carnal knowledge of a woman or a girl without her consent. The word rape sends shivers down the spine of most women, I for one. It is the worst sexual assault and violence any women can be subjected to but a very common incident in our society today. Women are often raped by their fathers, stepfathers, uncles, strangers and robbers.
It is bad enough for robbers to do away with your valuable goods but very devastating when they encroach on the most valuable, priceless part of you, carting away with that which cannot be replaced in a life time, leaving the victims with a life-time  scare,  a condition that in most cases has an adverse effect on them. In the same vein, it is very bad to hear a situation where a father will rape his own daughter. It is very disheartening. This in turn has other very traumatic consequences such as; expulsion from school, early/unplanned pregnancy, HIV/ AIDs, abortion and in certain cases death.
In relationships with men, women are also said to be vulnerable (weaker vessels).  This relates to the society’s concept that views women as property owned by men and dependant on their male ‘protectors’. Many women suffer humiliation, brutalization and battering as a result of this misconception. The marriage of under-aged girls against their will is a harmful practice embedded in many cultures and traditions. The root causes are complex but driven by factors that include gender inequalities, poverty, negative traditional or religious practices, weak enforcement of laws that prohibit such practices as well as pressures caused by conflict and natural disasters. It is a cross border issue affecting women and young girls in many countries around the world.
Violation of women’s human rights exist in three contexts- the family, community and the state. It is very appalling that the family is a major site of violence from the very moment a female child is born she is considered as a second-class. She is deprived of education and inheritance in favour of her male siblings. Everything done to her is geared toward preparing her to carry out her duties to her husband and family. The community culture, religion and ethnic values play a critical role in reinforcing the structure of the family and the position of women within it. The community plays the role of defining gender relations within the ideal family and often set the stage for female subordination. Punishment for extra-marital sex, rape and other forms of physical chastisements  are amongst additional practices of gender violence perpetrated against women in the name of preserving ethnic or religious integrity. At the state level, for example in Nigeria the rights of women are clearly spelt out in the nation’s constitution. Rights is defined as “A power, privilege or immunity, guaranteed under the constitution. Respect for rights is seen as a matter of justice. The rights of women enshrined in the Nigerian constitution are consistent with the ideals of humanism. Unfortunately, it is sad to say that those rights and ideals have remained paper tigers, mere theoretical postulations without any practical bearing on the lives and conditions of women.
Every woman deserves more than being seen as a weaker vessel, and discriminated against in the society. Domestic violence in the country should be discouraged. Women should be protected and not to be destroyed. Nigeria is blessed with women and if encouraged and given the opportunity, they will contribute substantially to the development of the country and Nigeria would become a better place. "A woman's body is the only piece of Real Estate on which she owes no mortgage." (Glenda Simms, Jamaica)

Margaret Schuler- Freedom from violence women’s strategies from around the world
Akanda L. & Shamim. I (1984) Women and Violence: A comparative study vio_b_986669.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000008
Women unfairly treated by policy-makers”, Daily Sun Newspaper, Tuesday, June 22, 2010, p 7.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Concept Note for The International Youths Day Online Disscussion Forum

The International Youth Day was first marked on the 12th of August in the year 2000. It is a day set aside to give opportunity for governments and other organizations to draw attention to issues affecting youth worldwide. Over the years various intervention strategies have been developed and targeted at youth although not all have been very effective. This is partly due to the fact that most interventions are made without considering the views of the youth. This year BAOBAB for Women’s Human Rights (BAOBAB) is creating a forum for young men and women to air their views thus offering them an opportunity to unlock their potentials.

BAOBAB is asking why the youth should wait to be leaders of tomorrow when they can be great leaders today. This is against the backdrop that the youth are the leaders of tomorrow. So why should the youth allow themselves to think only of the future while the present is failing them? The lack of Youth Friendly Health Services has been an issue ailing Nigeria and the rest of the developing world. This issue has played a big role in young women experiencing high maternal mortality rate, rise in teenage pregnancies and unsafe abortions everyday. Other issues to deal with are increase in unemployment, high levels of poverty, human trafficking and expensive education. The root causes of these issues need to be addressed with immediate effect to safeguard the safety of the youth and these questions will form the basis of the online discussion.

The discussion will be conducted online for a period of two weeks, from the 12th of August to 26th of August 2011. The main participants of the discussion will be youth across Africa and because the discussion will be conducted online, it will give room for as many participants as possible. This discussion is meant to provide a platform for youth to speak out about the issues they have been facing and how they intend to make things better for themselves and share the ideas that they may have in promoting equality among men and women.

There are many other issues that the youth in Nigeria and across the region face, this year BAOBAB is offering the youth a chance to air their views, comments, share their experiences, expectations, fears, struggles, strengths and above all we are giving them a chance to be among those who will make an impact by speaking out (like is going out of style) by joining the BAOBAB online discussion.

The Objectives of the online discussion include:

• Create a platform for the youth in Nigeria and around the globe to share their concerns, their views, their worries, and their struggle, through the online discussion.

• Create ways to advocate for improved access to sexual and reproductive health and right’s knowledge, information, education and services in Nigeria and the developing world.

• Create awareness on issues of human rights and the need to promote these rights

The expected outcomes of the online discussion are:

• Have more informed youth in the area of their rights as it regards the youth friendly health services.

• To have more interaction between the youth and the non governmental organizations that advocate for their rights.

• To have more organizations willing to advocate for better solutions to the issues that the youth will mention during the discussion.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Nigeria’s democratic culture is characterized by assassinations, lawlessness, illegalities, rigging, oppression, manipulation, marginalization and violence. Other issues are male dominated party executives, labeling, money politics, and innumerable social, cultural and religious factors. These constitute barriers to women aspiring and contesting for elective positions in Nigeria. In the 2011 general elections an increased number of Nigerian women defied the odds, stepped into the murky waters, aspired and contested for party’s primaries; many lost and only few emerged as candidates and fewer of them emerged as winners. The number and percentage of women who were successful at the polls in 2011 was less than the figures in 2007 and 2003.

There was only 1 female presidential candidate in the person of Mrs Ebiti Ndok of the United National Party for Development. It is doubtful if she eventually voted given issues she had with the administration of justice system. It should be noted that Sarah Jubril was a presidential aspirant under the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). She lost at the party’s primaries. For a review of Sarah Jubril’s performance visit;  There were 4 female vice-presidential candidates although at the time of writing this article the writer was unable to verify if their parties also adopted President Goodluck Jonathan as a consensus candidate, suffice it to say none of the big 4 political parties had a female vice-presidential candidate.

Whereas there were 36 governorship seats in the Federation, there were 348 governorship candidates with just 13 (2.98%) being women who were all casualties at the polls. It appears some parties agreed to adopt female deputy governorship candidates as there was generally an increase in the number of governorship candidates that had women as their deputy. At least four parties in Lagos State chose women to contest as deputy governors.  In 1999, only Lagos State had a female deputy governor in the person of Mrs Kofoworola Bucknor although she was later removed and replaced by Femi Pedro, a man.  In 2003 the number of deputy female governors increased to 2 (5.5%), it increased to 6(16.6%) in 2007. In 2011 there is only 1 female deputy governor in the person of Mrs Adejoke Orelope Adefulire of Lagos State who contested under the platform of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).  

Out of the 109 Senators that emerged, only 7 (6.4%) are women. In 2007 there were 9(8.25%) female senators; in 2003 there were 6(5.50%) female senators whilst in 1999 there were only 3(2.75%) female senators. Female performance in the House of Representatives election was no less different from that of the Senate. Out of the 360 available seats women won only 19 (5.27%). This is an abysmal drop in the light of the success recorded in 2007, 2003 and 1999 where the figures were respectively 27(7.5%), 21(5.8%) and 12(3.3%), an arithmetic progression which was not sustained in 2011.

The 2011 general elections could be described as the year of “the mighty fallen”. There was indeed the whittling down of the influence of political god fathers as their candidates performed woefully at the elections. Nevertheless, it does appear that patriarchy, religion, vote buying, ethical issues, party intrigues and absence of internal democracy of political  parties constituted underlining reasons for the poor performance of women at the polls in addition to awareness by the electorate that they have the final say on who should represent them through their ballots. The fate of Senators Gbemisola Saraki and Iyabo Obasanjo Bello  who respectively contested for governorship and senatorial elections in Kwara and Ogun States typify the genre. 

Popularity of the candidates also determined the outcome of elections and not necessarily the platform the female candidates contested election. This was the case in the senatorial election in Anambra State, a traditional stronghold of APGA where Prof Dora Akunyili of APGA lost to her strongest opponent Dr. Chris Ngige of ACN who has an incomparable profound charisma.

Vote buying which was alleged by some voters may have influenced the voting pattern of some people.  Vote buying has implications for female candidates as many of them are not similarly situated economically with their male competitors and therefore, would not be able woe voters with money.

The performance of women at the just concluded 2011 general elections calls for sober reflection and an urgent need to re-strategize for the 2015 general elections. There is urgent need for internal democracy in the political parties to whittle down male dominated party executives. There should also be examination/assessment of parties’ primaries with a view to formulating and implementing reforms that will support a more level playing field.

The establishment of a Women’s Political Institute where parties and all female aspirants and candidates would be equipped with relevant skills that underpin the positions should be desired. The outcome would inform necessary remedial steps aspirants should take to address gaps to reposition them for exigency of electoral campaigns and elective office. 

The challenges ahead will truly test the motive of the first lady’s pet project – Women for Change Initiative. Will it take a recess now that President Goodluck Jonathan has won or will it start preparing women for 2015 general elections? The short term goal of getting women to participate in 2011 general elections may have been achieved although the writer of this article does not credit the Women for Change Initiative for the increased participation of women at the general elections. This is against the backdrop that women’s groups and other individuals have been on this campaign for a longer time and have been stating 30% or something higher.  The BAOBAB led Nigerian CEDAW Coalition Shadow Report submitted to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women during its consideration of Nigeria’s 6th country periodic report in July 2008 can attest to this. Also, BAOBAB for Women’s Human Rights (BAOBAB) has been working over the years to ensure comprehensive political education (not just voter education) and hopefully creating a space for experienced female politicians to mentor younger women interested in vying for political positions in future. Of course, the first lady lends her voice to a worthy cause and she deserves to be commended for pegging it at 35%. 

In the light of the foregoing, this article calls for a stakeholders’ meeting to review the participation and performance of women at the just concluded 2011 general elections with a view to chartering a fruitful course for women’s participation in future elections in Nigeria. Nigerian women need more than economic empowerment for success at the polls or largesse of the first lady. Political violence hinders women’s chances at the polls and in political participation.  Institutional defects that marginalize women must be addressed.

Favour Omoye Irabor;

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Changing the Feminine Face of Poverty in Nigeria: Challenges of Poverty Facing Women and BAOBAB’s Strategic Interventions - by Yewande Okoya

Seventy percent of those living in absolute poverty in our world - that is starving or on the edge of starvation - are female. All over the world, women and children are the mass of the poor and the poorest of the poor.

In Nigeria, as in many other developing countries, the new face of poverty is woman. This has become an economic phenomenon as the gap between women and men caught in the cycle of poverty has continued to widen in the past decade, a phenomenon commonly referred to as ‘the feminization of poverty’. This underscores the fact that where an issue affects (negatively) both man and woman, in most cases the woman suffers more than the man. In the situation of single parenting for instance, families headed by women are poorer compared with those headed by men.

In any society, women should play a central role in shaping future generations, physiologically, emotionally, morally, spiritually and intellectually, but when women are poor, they are not free and their choices are limited and so, are unable to perform this central role the failure of which has dire consequences for future generations.

The feminization of poverty has recently become a significant problem in Nigeria as in other developing countries with economics in transition as a short-term consequence of the process of political, economic and social transformation. In addition to economic factors, the rigidity of socially ascribed gender roles and women’s limited access to power, education, training and productive resources as well as other emerging factors that may lead to securities for families are responsible. Due to these gender roles, women are not given equal opportunity as the men to be educated and liberated economically because in some parts of society, educating a woman is seen as a waste of resources, since a man will marry her; the onus is on the man to take up responsibilities. Even in parts of society where education and economic empowerment are accepted and promoted, women are expected to perform majority of household chores and take sole responsibility of childcare even when both the male and female partners have full time jobs.

These stereotypes and socialization have continued to make women worldwide far more likely to be poorer than men. Men in particular and the nation as a whole, need to realize that this issue is not just a “women's issue" but it is is about your mother and your grandmother. It's about your sisters and it's about the future of your daughters and how to move this country forward because women make-up about 50% of the population and as such can not be ignored.

Challenges of Poverty and BAOBAB’s Interventions

1. Lack of access to good health care services. In this regards and essentially, BAOBAB for Women’s Human Rights believes strongly in the power of ‘empowering’. BAOBAB empowers women and girls through its Leadership Training by building their capacities as leaders where they (women) must allow improvement and be resourceful without depending on anyone’s wealth for daily sustenance.

2. Lack of access to information. – BAOBAB provides women with information in accessing economic and educational opportunities, as well as the autonomy needed to take advantage of such opportunities.

3. Lack of access to affordable Legal representation. The importance of training women and girls to be self dependent, resourceful sharing of relevant and useful information, providing women with skills, boosting their morale that gives confidence and self dependency for optimum achievement of goals and aspiration matters most to BAOBAB as we totally agree that they (women) should be shown how to fish rather than giving them fish.

4. Encountering difficulties as it relates to funds while making interventions relevant to women’s issues at the community level. Most non governmental organizations work on the larger base while some women groups work mainly at the community levels who are familiar with the issues on ground. BAOBAB’s 14 outreach team states functions primarily in this regard. Also, BAOBAB re-granted some amount of money received from the American World Jewish Service to some selected women groups for specific interventions in these communities. The idea of the re-grant was to basically fund women groups who could not access funds from funders that requires funding database which mostly leaves the issues on ground unattended to.

5. Domestication of women’s human rights instruments. BAOBAB continues to play and lead advocacy roles at the state, national, regional and international levels in ensuring the ratification, domestication, implementations (as the case may be) of instruments that attends to the concerns of women. BAOBAB played an active role in ensuring that Lagos State Government domesticated the violence against women bill. BAOBAB also coordinated the NGO CEDAW Coalition and produced a Shadow Report in response the Nigerian 6th Country Report to CEDAW.

What we can do

Women must be identified and situated as a specific target group in the national poverty eradication programmes. In this regard, funders, foundations and non governmental organisations should inculcate into its programme plan provisions for gender training for senior decision-makers to mainstream gender perspective into sectoral development planning.

Women’s NGOs and other organisations should ensure that Nigeria undertake legislative and administrative reforms to give women full and equal access to economic resources, including the right to inheritance and to ownership of land, as required in the Beijing Platform for Action.


1. Adidu, Paper Presentation on Feminization of Poverty in Nigeria,December 2005.

2. Callagham, Hamber and Takira; A Triad of Oppression – Violence, Women and Poverty: Center for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation.

3. Women and Poverty, FWCW Platform for Action, 2005

Monday, March 28, 2011

Women as Participants in both Leadership and Politics. - BAOBAB's 2011 Calendar (Advocacy tool)

The Convention on the Political Rights of Women, 193 U.N.T.S. 135 which entered into force on July 7th, 1954 recognizes that everyone has the rights to take part in the government of her/his country directly or indirectly. The eleven articles of the convention desire to equalize the status of women and men in the enjoyment and exercise of their political rights.

In Nigeria and in most countries of the world, there are few women in positions of responsibility and decision making. Often they are discriminated against in political and public life at all levels of decision making as evidenced by the unequal number of women in the corridors of power. Women’s ideas are often left unspoken or unheard even when they are present during discussions and decision making assemblies.

This year, Nigeria will hold general elections and BAOBAB for Women's Human Rights, in her effort to uphold the principle of equality and equity, continues a series of leadership and political training for women and girls to raise awareness of their political rights and responsibilities as citizens. We aim to increase women's political participation and leadership at all levels of social interaction and decision making regardless of ethnicity, religion or political inclination.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Violence Against Women Without a Male Child by Ijeoma Chinakwe (an Intern with BAOBAB)

Up to date in the  eastern part of Nigeria, a  woman without a male child has no say in her husband's family, when her husband is no more she will be left with nothing. Empowering such woman and letting her know her fundamental human rights will give her much security and sense of belonging in the society.
Last year December, an organization (The Prudent Women Foundation) held a workshop in Imo state Nigeria, a case was reported of a woman with three girls without any male child. The woman was  forcefully pushed out of her matrimonial home by her husband’s relatives. This is because she had no male child for their brother for the years they lived together as a couple.  As a result of these, she  was sent out with her three female children with nothing to fall back to. 

The international women’s day observed every 8th of March, addresses such violence but it is a pity that many women are still not aware of this occasion that is solely for the benefit of all women. I feel sustainable empowerment  for women in general,  will reduce or totally eliminate such violence in our immediate and large society.

Know your facts on violence against women

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Concept Paper : March 8, 2011 Activity by BAOBAB for Women’s Human Rights and Embassy of Sweden

This concept paper highlights BAOBAB for Women’s Human Rights and the Embassy of Sweden’s activity to mark March 8, 2011 International Women’s Day.  The activity will bring together stakeholders from various sectors to discuss, commit to defending women’s human rights, and make recommendations for increasing the enforcement of women’s human rights in Nigeria.

The international Women’s day provides important platform for promoting women’s human rights and for gauging stakeholders’ responsibilities and achievements.   Since its inception in 1911, the International Women’s Day has been set aside as a day to mark the economic, political, social achievement of women all over the world.  Each year global themes are selected that form the focus of activities for that year. In 2010, for example, the International Women’s day was celebrated around the theme: “Equal Rights, Equal Opportunities: Progress for All”.   March 8, 2011 marks the centenary anniversary (1911-2011) of the International Women’s Day with the theme “Equal access to education, training and science and technology: Pathway to decent work for women”. According to the United Nation’s Department of Public Information, International Women’s Day is “When women on all continents, often divided by national boundaries and by ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic and political differences, come together to celebrate their Day, they can look back to a tradition that represents at least nine decades of struggle for equality, justice, peace and development” (

Come March 8, 2011 different activities will be organized all over the world to commemorate the International Women’s Day and examine women’s economic and social status and recommend as well as demand increased opportunities for achieving gender equality and equity.  UNIFEM, Australia, for example, plans to organize 100 events around the country to celebrate the 100 years existence of International Women’s Day. (

Over the years BAOBAB for Women’s Human Rights has utilized the platform of International Women’s Day to promote women’s human rights through the organization of events that create awareness of women’s human rights and encourage the promotion of these rights in every sector.  It is against this backdrop that BAOBAB is collaborating with the Embassy of Sweden to organize a seminar on Tuesday, March 8, 2011.  The panel discussants at the seminar will include stakeholders from different sectors, government, corporate, civil society, amongst others, who will examine the status of women in Nigeria, identify challenges to realizing women’s human rights and commit to increase efforts in the different sectors to achieve higher level of women’s human rights protection and promotion.  The seminar will also form the basis for further collaboration between BAOBAB and the different sectors in order to increase the achievement of BAOBAB’s mandate within Nigeria and the region.