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Zarau Ahmad’s gentle mien is very deceptive, as she packs a super punch with her. She is the Women’s Rights Program Officer with Kungiyar Tallafin Mata Development Initiative (KTMDI) in Kebbi State, KTMDI is a non-governmental organisation that champions the rights of people, especially those of women and girls.
Working with KTMDI provided Zarau the platform to pursue her life-long goal of ensuring women and girls live a life of dignity. And she is indeed living her dreams of dismantling biases through working with like-minded individuals and organizations in the state to ensure that rights of women and girls are promoted and protected.
Zarau Ahmad is young feminist, women’s right activist that’s passionate in promoting and protecting women and girl’s rights to enhance their wellbeing and bring out the potentials in them.
Born and breed in Kebbi state Nigeria, Zarau describes her childhood as competitive and a struggle for being a female. “I grew up in a male dominated environment where women are less valued. While I was in primary school, most of my classmates were boys, and it was difficult for me to cope and compete with them”. This is understandable, as many girls in some Nigerian communities are socialized to be less expressive, and to accept male leadership. By the time Zarau went in for her secondary school education, she became more aware of the gendered dimension of things around her and how deeply patriarchal her society was. “I experienced firsthand, rejection and discrimination against my attempt at competing in school activities such as school debates, and winning some of those competitions resulted in scorn rather than being appreciated”.
However, as the saying goes when life throws lemon at you, the best bet is to make lemonade out of it. And that is exactly what Zarau did by turning her experience into weapon for dismantling patriarchal ideologies and mindsets that encourage and sustain oppression of women and girls at community level. Zarau did not stop at community level work, she also works with other actors in the state to target policy makers for the creation of enabling legislations that will advance the rights of women and girls. One of this was the push for the passage of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition bill into Act in Kebbi state. When Zarau realized that other states such as Kwara and Bauchi (which are Women’s Voice and Leadership Nigeria project states, a project that KTMDI is part of), have passed the VAPP law, Zarau decided that the time to act is now. Driven by her zeal for women’s rights, the injustice she sees and motivated by Kwara and Bauchi results, Zarau sought fund from ActionAid Nigeria through the Strategic Innovation Fund of the WVL-N project for her organization to convene state level meetings with other women’s rights actors in the state, held series of meetings with key policy makers towards the passage of the VAPP law.
Zara’s dream and efforts paid with the passage of the VAPP law by the Kebbi State House of Assembly on 30th September 2021. “I am so elated that the many days of engagements, of meetings and planning together with other women’s rights activists in the state have paid off. I am glad that we have a law that now protects women and girls”. Though Zara is happy that the law has been passed, she recognized that there is more work to be done. “We need to ensure that the law is accented to by the Governor, we also need to ensure that the law is popularized, that people are aware of its content, and people are empowered to use the law when the need arises. My focus is to support my organization – KTMDI to ensure that the communities where we work are not left behind”, she stated.
“I am proud to be associated with women empowerment and advancement. My desire is to see a world where everyone – especially women and girls are respected both in letter and in practice. I will continue to connect with like-minded activists to towards creating a beautiful world for every woman, every girl and for all persons in my community and state.”