By Emmanuel Daudu, Abuja
The Honourable Minister, Federal Ministry Of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, OFR, KSG, at International Conference Commemorating the 2021 International Women’s Day (IWD) organised by Afrihealth Optonet Association held on the 4th March 2021 applauded the CSO for its resilient efforts in curbing the GBV menace in Africa and beyond, pointing that Afrihealth is one of its partners that has shown great commitment in its pursuit for a free GBV Africa.
The minister who was ably represented by Mrs. Oladipo Funke, Ag. Director Women Development Department of the FMWA, in her Keynote address, said, “I am delighted to deliver an address at this event on International Conference titled “Harnessing And Promoting Women’s Leadership To Overcome The COVID-19 Pandemic And Achieve The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) By 2030” in commemoration of the year 2021 International Women’s Day (IWD).
“As you are aware 8th March each year is celebrated worldwide as the International Women’s Day. It is a global day set aside to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women in all works of life. The day also marks a call to action for the promotion of gender parity. The theme for the 2021 International Women’s Day (IWD) commemoration is “Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a Covid-19 World”.
“The purpose of celebrating this day is to acknowledge the contribution of women to the strengthening of international peace and to recognize that the participation, development, and equality of women are essential for the attainment of social progress and the full enjoyments of human rights. In Nigeria, the day has been used over the year as a platform for harnessing efforts on behalf of women’s development not only at the federal level but also at the state levels. Several activities are usually planned at the Federal level to mark the celebration ultimately aimed at integrating women and girls into the mainstream of national development. It is no longer news that women and girls are disproportionately and differentially affected by the pandemic, whether as frontline health care workers or as victims of increasing levels of gender-based violence amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I commend Afrihealth Optonet Association for choosing this day 4th March 2021 to commemorate this year’s International Women’s Day. The 2021 theme was carefully chosen to meet the social, economic, cultural, health, and political challenges faced by women. I equally commend you for putting our women and girls as a priority in your programme, and I want to assure you that every good work has its rewards.
“At the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development Goals, women are recognized as a key enabler of each of the development goals. Women are being used as tools for peace, unity, and development, and are being accorded with huge support bearing in mind that they are the most vulnerable group in our society.
“On this note, may I appeal to everyone to desist from any action that will lead to violence against women and girls (VAWG) which has increased in the society due to COVID-19 Pandemic. You can agree with me, that a lot of women and girls suffered several cases of abuse in the face of the Covid-19 Pandemic. You will recall that we witness an upsurge in GBV cases in the lockdown measures put in place by the Government to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic”, She said.
Dr. Uzodinma Adirieje (Nigeria), Global Coordinator, Chief Executive Officer-CS4EGBV Project/ Afrihealth Optonet Association (CSO’s Network) who was also the moderator of the event, reacting to the Minister’s Commendation, assured her of continuous efforts in making sure that Africa is free from GBV menace, as he applauds her for grazing the event despite her chocked schedules.
Country Intervention Topics And Speakers were: EGYPT: Investing in Women’s Health: nursing perspective for community development and gender equality – Professor Hayat Gomma, Full Professor, Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria, CAMEROON: Violation of women`s rights on the on-going Anglophone crisis in Cameroon; by Fobi Miterand, Co-Founder of Nanny Africa, Cameroon – a member of Afrihealth Optonet Association [CSOs Network], ZIMBABWE: Mental Health Wellness during COVID-19: Self-care; by Tadiwanashe Burukai-Matutu (Zimbabwe), KENYA: Reproductive and Sexual Justice in Sub-Saharan Africa; by Barmasai Titus, Project Manager- Sunrise Foundation, Kenya.
Countries represented include Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Egypt, Tunisia, Ghana, Sudan, South Africa, Belgium, Burundi, Uganda, India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, South America, United Kingdom, Kenya, Malaysia, and Switzerland