Olive Community Development Initiative (OCDI) is one of the local women right organizations (LWROs) implementing interventions under the Women Voice and Leadership (WVL) Project, funded by Global Affairs Canada through ActionAid Nigeria. Our interventions has been focused increasing the enjoyment of Human’s Right by women & girls in Kwara state and we have been achieving this through our Sexual and Gender Based Violence interventions where we provide services such as psychosocial support, economic empowerment, access to justice, social welfare support and skill acquisition to survivors in Kwara and in recent times we partnered with the Kwara state ministry of women affairs to develop the Kwara State Action Plan on women, peace and security (UNSCR 1325) to further ensure that the rights of women and girls are protected during conflicts and also amplify their voices as it relates to peace and security issues thereby ensuring their participation in peace building and conflict resolution and other decision making relating to security.
This became necessary due to the incessant insecurity issues that has been a great threat to the country at large and even Kwara as a state with a lot of community clash, banditry, Kidnapping, Ritual Killing across the geopolitical zone in Nigeria. Though this issue affects both men and women, it affects the women and children more as they are more vulnerable to attacks. Women are taken as spoils of war, raped and abducted most times as sex slaves. In some situations where the husband is killed the woman becomes responsible for catering for the family despite the trauma of losing a partner and still faces discriminatory attack from the family of the late husband. With the support of the Global Affairs Canada fund for the women voice and leadership project through Action Aid, OCDI supported the state to develop and launch the Kwara SAP while also inaugurating a committee that will see to the implementation of the action plan.
Sequel to the launching of the Kwara State Action Plan and Inauguration of the Implementation Committee on Women, Peace and Security Olive Community Development Initiative advocated for the appointment of one local government officer as the desk officer for women, peace and security across the 16 local governments in Kwara state.
Following the appointment of the women, peace and security desk officers, OCDI organised a training for the 16 WPS desk officers on Wednesday, 22nd June, 2022. We had in attendance at the training the desk officers, the Honourable Commissioner of Women Affairs, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Women Affairs, Director of Women, Ministry of Women Affairs and other top officials from the Ministry of Women Affairs
The Director of Women gave the welcoming address on the purpose of the training which she said it was to ensure the full understanding of the reason behind the state action plan on women, peace and security and enlist the commitment of the desk officers across the state to put in effort to ensure a safe community and that women across the LGAs participate in peace building and conflict resolution and further ensure that data are reported accurately
During the training session the participants were engaged on the roles of women during conflict while also discussing that women can play roles as Instigator, shield, spy and peace builders to ensure that conflicts end
The facilitator thereby linked these roles to the need to have more women involved in Peace and Security in the state and that the onus lies on the desk officers to implement programmes that will give opportunity to women to lead and be a part of the peace building and conflict resolution process in the state
The Hon. Commissioner adjoined the desk officers to relate the message to their local government chairmen to ensure that a committee is put in place to oversee the peace and security process in each local government
Furthermore, the Programme Manager of OCDI handled a discussion with the WPS desk officers on what they can do to ensure that their communities enjoy peace and security while taking necessary actions against perpetrators of conflict and insecurity issues.
Among the suggested activities by the desk officers present are: Sensitization to market women, engagement of religious leaders and public awareness during religious meetings, liasing with the security committee in the local government. One of the desk officer from Ifelodun local government said they at their local government have a structure where they meet with the various security units, traditional and community leaders and other stakeholders monthly where they discuss the issues that affect the communities within the local government.
The desk officer from Edu local government cited an example of what they have done to secure their land at a time when a truck load of people drove into their community wanting to settle there and they jointly ensured they were chased out of the area afterwhich the head of the local government sharing boundaries with them were also informed so that they can also ensure they didn’t accomodate the strangers.
In conclusion, the WPS desk officers committed to engaging in sensitization, advocacy for the inclusion of women in security/ conflict resolution meetings and encouraging women participation in leadership while sensitizing women groups to voice out and be the change they want through supporting other women and being actively involved in peace building, conflict resolution.