Women and Young Persons Empowerment
The Giant of Africa, Nigeria has an estimated population of 200 million, almost 50% of whom are women. Ode Ojukwu (2007) posited “with 52 percent of rural women living below poverty line, women constitute the majority of the poor, the unemployed and the socially disadvantaged.”
The rights of women are enshrined in the Nigerian 1999 Constitution but they such rights do not always have any practical bearing on the actual lived realities of most Nigerian Women. This is evident for many women in Northern Nigeria, Kano state inclusive. The society is highly patriarchal and women are expected to nurture the children and take care of the home only. Such traditional views have consequences that do not augur well for social and economic development of women and the society at large. These beliefs have been mostly responsible for the violations of some basic women’s rights, such as access to education, economic opportunities and access to justice.
Girls in Northern Nigeria face a number of social protection challenges. In addition, poverty, ignorance, sexual and gender based violence, are issues exacerbated by social norms and gender inequalities. Education for girls is often undervalued by parents with preference for boys education. From a very young age, girls are married off instead of going to school and completing their education.
The poor quality and low standards of education in public schools, learning environments that are distant and not safe or conducive for learning, as well as sexual and gender-based violence all contribute to girls dropping out of school. Persisting gender gaps are predominantly due to poor educational backgrounds compared to the general situation of boys, especially in the North. According to UNICEF 2018, only 45% of girls in Northern Nigeria are enrolled in school.
Over the years IWEI has carried out many projects on health, economic empowerment, education for women and girls.
The aim of the Women & Young Persons Empowerment thematic area is to improve access to inclusive and equitable quality education, and promote lifelong learning opportunities for women, youth and children in Northern Nigeria.