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NNNGO 2018 SECOND QUARTER UPDATES (APRIL-JUNE)

INTRODUCTION

In the second quarter of the year 2018, the Nigeria Network of NGOs, in line with its mission and vision, intensified efforts towards national development through its ongoing projects and activities. Projects built upon were within the purview of protection of civic space, building capacity within the Nigerian civil society community and attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) while other activities in line with national development were also organised and supported by the Network.

UPDATE ON PROJECTS

Projects updates are presented below, in categories that fit their themes:

  1. PROTECTION OF CIVIC SPACE
  • Strengthening Statutory Regulations for Civil Society Organisations In Nigeria: Amending Part C of CAMA

In line with its mission to protect civic space, the Network continued work on projects that focused on strengthening the laws that guide activities and the environment in which civil society organisations and nonprofits work. Therefore, with the support of the Commonwealth Foundation and as part of activities for the “Strengthening Statutory regulations For Civil Society Organisations In Nigeria: Amending Part C of CAMA” project, and in the wake of the repeal and enactment of Part C of the CAMA by the House of Assembly on May 15, 2018, NNNGO carried out activities that informed the progress of the project.

After careful review of the amended sections of Part C of the CAMA which was spearheaded by the Corporate Affairs Commission, the NNNGO-CAMA research team identified that the amended laws had featured and incorporated some of the recommendations made by the Network and its members at sector-wide consultations held in 2017. Suggestions and recommendations that were made at these consultations were thereafter incorporated into policy briefs which were then presented to policymakers by the NNNGO-advocacy team led by the Executive Director, Oyebisi B. Oluseyi.

Taken into consideration were recommendations in the area of review of penalties, refusal to incorporate organisations with similar names, the requirement for a statement of purpose, name and relevant information needed for registration, amongst others. Below is a break-down of the amended sections that feature NNNGO recommendations:

Clarifications:

Section 580 features the need for the commission to state the purposes, name and relevant information needed for registration by NPOs who need registration. This amendment drew from the suggestion made by NNNGO to 590(5) of the previous law.

Review of Fines:

In line with suggestions made by member-NPOs who participated in the consultations, Sections 581, 582 and Section 604, subsection 3, feature review of fines from previous incommensurate amounts in terms of comparison of crime to penalties. NPOs who attended consultations hosted by NNNGO had suggested that in order for organisations working in the civic space to better understand the enormity of noncompliance, adequate punitive measures need to be attached.

Related Association:

Section 587 of the amended law is same as the suggestion made in subsection (6) of section 590 of the old law which stated that a corporation having a similar name with another corporation would not be incorporated. The amendment to the law makes this dictate clearer to intending registrees.

Financials

Amended Section 602 is same as the suggestion made to section 607(10)2,3 by the NNNGO in the policy briefs presented which stated that there should be an annual financial review and that there should be an approved annual financial statement by the director. In addition, Section 604, subsection 2 of the amended law features the recommendation made to section 607(11)1 by NNNGO where it was stated that there must be a report on the audited financial statement by the corporation which will be in line with the approved auditing standards and principles set by the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria.

Another milestone recorded in this quarter was the development of a toolkit by the NNNGO-CAMA research team. The toolkit was developed after a thorough review of the annual returns-filing processes, conduct of in-depth research and online as well as offline consultations with over 2,000 Nigerian NPOs on how best to engage the process of incorporating a trusteeship alongside appropriate fees, setting up a governing board within an organisation and appointing an executive director and directors.

The purpose of developing the kit is to create a document which can serve in the capacity of a compliance manual through which NPOs could better understand the dictates of Part C of CAMA and therefore, effectively carry out their obligations and duties as stipulated in the laws. The kit is also intended to act in the capacity of a check for NPOs in order to effectively run their organisations in line with global best practices.

The toolkit will be launched and presented to NPOs who are member-organisations of the Network at training that will be hosted in Port Harcourt and Kaduna.

  • The Lifeline Project supported by World Alliance for Citizen Participation, CIVICUS

In continuance of the campaign to protect civic space and strengthen regulatory frameworks guiding the operational environment of Nigerian nonprofits, NNNGO with the support of World Alliance for Citizen Participation, CIVICUS continued its campaign against the NGO regulation bill (HB 585).

The Network intensified efforts to popularise the campaign by leveraging on the strength of numbers. This was done by including other CSOs, NGOs and NPOs, especially those at the grassroots; to achieve this, over 2400 grassroots, national and international nonprofit organisations were reached via emails and text messages with over 900 reached via telephone calls with the message to join the campaign against the enactment of the NGO regulatory bill.

These organisations were encouraged to reach out to their representatives at the National Assembly by sending them letters which would carry their individual messages regarding the bill. To this effect, interested NPOs were sent a sample letter which served as the campaign tool. This a sample campaign letter was drafted based on the outcome of a sector-wide consultation conducted by the Network with nonprofit organisations operational in Nigeria in 2017. The sample letter was a template through which NPOs interested in the campaign could make a case by giving their representatives an overview of their organisations and how the enactment of HB585 would impact the work they do.

As part of activities for the lifeline project, the Network, on June 28, 2018, organised a workshop which 78 participants from 11 states of the country, and one participant from the United States of America. The aim of the workshop was to examine the trending policies in the Nigerian nonprofit sector while focusing on ways to ensure the development and sustainability of the sector. Participants at the workshop were taken through a course on NGO management and record keeping. A report titled “Nonprofits Regulatory Trends” was then produced.

  • Universal Periodic Review Supported by World Alliance for Citizen Participation, CIVICUS

In the first quarter of 2018, NNNGO, supported by CIVICUS, submitted a Universal Period Review (UPR) relating to Civic Space in Nigeria. Following this submission and in the run-up to Nigeria’s review at the United Nations Human Rights Council, UNHRC in November 2018, NNNGO embarked on advocacy in relation to the UPR process. The aim of this was to assess the level of implementation of previous recommendations made to Nigeria by UNHRC during the second review cycle and to take appropriate steps toward the implementation of recommendations accepted by Nigeria especially in relation to civic space.

Therefore, a one-day workshop on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Advocacy Strategy was hosted by the Network on June 6, 2018, in order to sample the opinion of CSOs. The workshop gathered seventy-one (71) participants comprising member non-profit organisations of the Network, CSOs, and Centres for developments, actively involved in human rights activism.

To this effect, an agenda was mapped out and delineated into four key areas. The purpose of this was to incorporate the key essentials of the UPR and garner participants’ responses and feedbacks, according. An overview which included insights on the previous (2nd) UPR of Nigeria was provided by the NNNGO-UPR researcher; it included information on the reinstatement of the 219 recommendations by 88 states made to Nigeria; 184 were accepted and 35 were noted. Accordingly, Nigeria received 10 recommendations relating to civic space, all of which were accepted to be implemented.

Furthermore, an analysis of the recent UPR report was carried out and participants noted that the methodology is adopted for the research. It was also noted that the initial 10 recommendations received by the Nigerian government in the previous UPR relating to civic space had not been fully implemented. Insights on why it was important for the civil society to be actively involved in the UPR process were therefore made.

A break-out session was then held for Advocacy Strategy Planning. Here, participants were split into four groups to develop a strategic plan for the UPR using the SMART Advocacy Strategy Worksheet. In this brainstorming session, participants provided answers on who to involve in implementing the strategy,  their SMART objectives, identified the policymakers related to their set objectives, reviewed their context on what is already happening outside their organisation that may impact their strategy (presenting obstacles and opportunities), gave a better knowledge of their decision makers (i.e. what they value and how best to gain their support), they considered various ways to argue their case (providing evidence to support their objectives, completing a five-point message box for their decision makers and determined the messenger for each decision maker). A work plan and budget on how to access internal resources, specify advocacy activities and assign responsibilities; how to set benchmarks for success and concluded by reviewing assignments and next steps on how to implement the UPR were also drawn up at the workshop.

The breakout session ushered in the plenary session, where participants presented varied views on how best the advocacy strategy should be carried out. The workshop concluded by affirming the need for all stakeholders especially CSOs and NGOs to be actively involved in the UPR process to ensure the rights of people are not clamped down and the government implements the accepted recommendations through advocacy and awareness creation.

  1. SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
  • Citizens’ Report Initiative

As part of its work on Sustainable Development, the Nigeria Network of NGOs with the support of African Monitor continued implementation of the citizens’ report project. In the second quarter of 2018, the NNNGO team which comprised a focal point, four youth champions and a research consultant embarked on citizens’ hearings and survey in three communities from three states across the country.

Between June 1-3, 2018, the NNNGO team conducted a community entry and project launch in Malete community, Moro LGA of Kwara state. This was a reconnaissance visit to the community by the team aimed at introducing the project to leaders of the community and providing a general framework for implementation of the project.

On June 11, 2018, a citizens’ hearing in form of a Focus Group Discussion (FGD) was conducted on 72 community members of Malete community while the survey was conducted on 200 households within that community between June 12 and 15, 2018.

Reconnaissance for the second community, Ogor community in Ughelli-North LGA of Delta state was conducted between June 18-19, 2018 while the citizens’ hearing was conducted on June 26, 2018. Survey instruments in form of the questionnaire were administered to 200 households within the community by the NNNGO team between June 26- 30, 2018.

  • Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health@ Scale (PACFaH@Scale)

In the first quarter of 2018, NNNGO with the support of development Research and Projects Center (dRPC) began implementing the PACFaH@Scale (PAS) project under the NNNGO-PACFaH@Scale (NNNGO-PAS) brand name. The program which focuses on two areas; RI Financing Strategy & FP Funding in Lagos state was launched with the hosting of a CSO mapping meeting in the first quarter of the year. After the success of a CSO mapping conducted in view of incorporating the civil society into RI issues in Lagos state, a report was developed.

The second quarter of 2018, thus featured the production of the CSO mapping report as well as Policy Briefs on RI and FP funding. These documents were developed as part of advocacy tools to be used in monitoring the implementation of the RI 2018 budget.

Subsequently, the NNNGO-PAS Policy briefs on RI and FP funding in Lagos State were presented to the Director Medical Services, Lagos state and other key officials in the Lagos State Primary Healthcare Board (PHCB).

As part of activities included in the NNNGO-PAS workplan, the team also provided support to the LSMOH and LASAM Advocacy sub-committee in tracking the implementation of the 2018 RI Budget and obtained the commitment of top officials in the Lagos State Primary Health Care Board to attend the meeting with NPHCDA on the New GAVI Strategy Plan in Abuja and encourage closer working relationship between LSPHCB and the NPHCDA.

In a bid to create more visibility for the project, NNNGO-PAS program team led by the Program Officer, Ayo Adebusoye appeared on Talk time on Morning Delight on the Lagos state television on April 4, 2018, to speak on the theme, Nigeria’s Health Infrastructure -Need for State of Emergency with the aim of creating awareness about challenges bedeviling the Nigerian health sector and beaming the torch on the activities of NNNGO-PAS.

On April 27, 2018, the Program Officer, again presented a paper at a Media Roundtable program hosted by Lagos State Accountability Mechanism for Maternal and Newborn Health, LASAM with the theme, “FP Budget Allocation & Timely Release – The Great Imperative “.

The paper focused on the need to increase awareness on issues relating to routine immunization and family planning as well as advocate the timely release of FP and RI budget allocations.

Conclusion

All activities embarked upon during this quarter were in furtherance of projects which began implementation between Y2016, Y2017, and Y2018.  While there are success stories recorded in the course of implementation, the past four months have only proven that more work is needed in various areas to ensure eventual success for the projects.

Part of what was learned during this quarter was the need to further intensify efforts, leverage on existing partnerships and cultivate new ones in order to ensure continuity and sustainability.

NNNGO TRAINS NPOS IN RIVERS STATE ON REGULATORY COMPLIANCE.

NNNGO TRAINS NPOS IN RIVERS STATE ON REGULATORY COMPLIANCE.

PORT-HARCOURT, Rivers–/ On October 22 and 23, 2018, the Nigeria Network of NGOs convened Nonprofit Organisations across the Eastern and South-southern regions of the country for a two-day intensive training on compliance to regulatory laws as it affects civil society.

The training which was conducted as part of activities for the project, “Strengthening Statutory Regulations for Civil Society Organisations in Nigeria”, aimed to improve regulatory compliance within the Nigerian Nonprofit Sector as participants were taken through NPO management and financial accountability courses alongside lectures on how to better promote transparency within their organisations, in line with global best practices.

“Our sector has been vilified for noncompliance in recent times but this lack of compliance has been majorly due to the fact that many NPOs are unaware of the laws and the changes that occur with them”, said Oyebisi B. Oluseyi, Executive Director, NNNGO. He added that NNNGO is fully committed to the protection of civic space and therefore saw the need to extend training to NPOs, across the country, on CAMA and other regulations. He expressed hope that the training would serve as an opportunity for heads of organisations present to build capacity in areas where they were previously lacking.

The star of the training was the Part F of the CAMA. CAMA sets out the legal basis by which companies are formed and managed. It also sets the rules for company boards and shareholders as well as the exercise of decisions on business growth and investment. It is, therefore, one of the most critical pieces of legislation which impacts the Nigerian non-profit and its relevance to ease of doing business cannot be overemphasized.

After 28 years since its adoption, the CAMA recently underwent a review process which resulted in the repeal and enactment of a newly amended law on May 15, 2018. The Incorporation of Trusteeship which is of principal concern to nonprofits, previously named the Part C of the CAMA was then renamed as Part F of CAMA.

Adeola Odunsi, Project Officer, Strengthening Statutory Regulations for Civil Society Organisations in Nigeria, presented to participants, a sample of the toolkit created by NNNGO for nonprofits to access as a Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) registration guide.

She led discussions on the details of the reviewed CAMA while explaining that the toolkit would serve as a useful tool for engaging processes such as change of name, appointment, and removal of directors as well as how to set up a governing board within an organisational structure.

“Most NPOs cannot trace their sources of funding and this is what makes many prone to risks of being used as conduits for money laundering and terrorist financing”, said Chidinma Okpara, NNNGO AML/CFT Officer, while delivering a training on Anti-Money Laundering/Combatting the Finance of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Compliance for Non-Profits.

She recalled that the Nigerian Government has in recent times, expressed significant concerns about the rise of money laundering and terrorist financing, especially within the non-profit sector while noting that despite the large number of NPOs registered with the CAC, only, a significantly small number have registered with the Special Control Unit on Money Laundering (SCUML), in the past five years.

She maintained the need for heads of Nonprofits along with their staff, to undergo training on the amended Money Laundering Prohibition Act (MLPA) of 2011. Limitations on cash transactions and receipt as well as the process of conducting background checks on beneficiary or sponsors to ensure they are risk assessed of ML and TF before being on-board, especially on international payments relating to NPO programmes were part of points she highlighted during her training session.

“For accountability checks, every organization is required to have at the very least, a petty cash book, a cash book, a request form, and the reconciliation form”, noted Timothy Odion, Head of Finance, NNNGO. He concluded the two-day event by training participants on financial and organisational accountability while underlining the importance of daily record-keeping.

Experts Call on Government and Stakeholders to Improve Reproductive Healthcare across the Country

Experts Call on Government and Stakeholders to Improve Reproductive Healthcare across the Country

ABUJA, Nigeria October 12, 2018 –The need to improve service delivery, availability and access to Family Planning (FP), for the majority of women across Nigeria, has once again been reiterated by public sector officials, Academics and Civil Society representatives working in the area of reproductive health and family planning in Nigeria.

This was the consensus at a One-day Leadership Training for Family Planning Focal Persons organised on October 12, 2018, by the Development Research and Projects Center (dRPC), under the PACFAH@Scale program with the aim of strengthening the leadership skills and competencies of participants so that they could champion FP issues and needs within the state system.

Speaking at the event, Greg Izuwa, Deputy Director, Reproductive Division, Federal Ministry of Health noted that scores of Nigerian women of reproductive age clamour for access to FP services but the program’s capacity in the country is highly inadequate to meet their needs, therefore it is imperative for everyone concerned to work together with the government so that these challenges can be mitigated.

“The Nigerian Government has, through the Federal Ministry of Health put in place a policy of free family planning information, services and commodities to family planning clients at public health facilities across the country,” said Mr Izuwa. This will help to address inaccessibility owing to ignorance and poverty mostly experienced by underprivileged Nigerian women. He added that select private health facilities are equally being supported with government’s free commodities to enable them to provide family planning services at very subsidized fees to willing clients.

“There are no systematic studies to determine the policy advocacy inclusions and exclusions in the family planning documents that abound in the public health space in Nigeria,” said Dr Aderibigbe Adedeji, Associate Professor of Public Health, University of Ilorin. He surmised that in order to achieve 27% modern Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR), there needs to be a thorough interrogation of existing policies in order to map how they can better address the needs of the people.

According to Joyce Ahmadu, a gender expert who spoke at the event, “there is need to propose policy actions to strengthen gender integration in future policy development processes” She identified that due to the gender specificity of family planning, government should explore gender-focused research and analysis of norms that affect health-seeking behaviours and health outcomes of women/girls and men/boys in order to arrive at effective interventions targeted at the specific issues. She said this is in response to the identification of gender gaps which came up during an assessment of policies and documents on child and family health in Nigeria.

She, therefore, recommended that policymakers should develop and include gender-sensitive results and indicators to guide the monitoring and evaluation of gender equality, disaggregate gender data at all levels and budget line for gender-related interventions as well as engage stakeholder from the government, CSO and INGOs with gender expertise in the policy development process.

NNNGO-PAS’s Program Officer, Ayo Adebusoye, one of the participants noted: “The conference helped to shape the thoughts and actions of CSO representatives who participated such that we now understand how best to leverage on our individual strengths while working together as a team in order to achieve optimal results”. He concluded that learning to work in synergy with other FP champions within the state and across the country is key to achieving family planning targets.

Extreme Poverty: A Threat to Human Security

It is believed that wherever men and women are condemned to live in extreme poverty, human rights are typically violated.

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 1 (SDG) is to end extreme poverty by 2030 which seeks to ensure social protection for the poor and eradicating it remains one of the greatest challenges facing the world today. The world wonders if the goals are in view, if the goals are soundly on track to sweep out poverty in line with AGENDA 2030; or if the goals are indeed extremely ambitious according to FORBES.

While poverty has been historically accepted in some parts of the world as inevitable, especially the developing nations, for the population now grows faster than the available resources, nonetheless making wealth scarce for many, which inevitably calls to action: social protection systems need an urgent implementation to help alleviate global sufferings.

During the 1970s, World Bank’s policy was meant to use funds to raise the productivity and living standards of the poor, yet in spite of these intensive reduction strategies, the poverty level in several countries of the world still remains pathetically low.  Recent researches have also demonstrated that several families are in constant dire need of basic amenities.

World Bank defines extreme poverty as living on less than 1.90 dollars per day, and moderate poverty as less than $3.10 a day. It has been estimated that in 2008, 1.4 billion people had consumption levels below $1.25 a day, while 2.7 billion lived on less than $2 a day. Another research estimates that 1.44 billion people live in extreme poverty as UNICEF’s figures show almost 385 million children survive on less than $1.90 a day.

Reports by World Bank data further reveals worldwide inequality and poverty, the data reveals half of the 767 million people living on less than 1.90 dollars a day in 2013 were under 18, these unarguably indicates that much effort is indeed needed to meet the SDG 1 to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030.

With this year marking the 25th anniversary of the declaration by the General Assembly on 22nd December 1992, 17th October as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, this years’ theme: Coming Together with Those Furthest Behind To Build An Inclusive World Of Universal Respect For Human Rights And Dignity, reaches out to all developing nations to ensure that NO ONE IS INDEED LEFT BEHIND.

Despite the tremendous progress in reducing extreme poverty, rates remain stubbornly high still in low-income countries especially those affected by conflict and political unrest.

Unless action is taken, Sub-Saharan Africa will be home to more than 86% of the world’s extreme poor, for the number of people living in extreme poverty is concentrated in some of these most unstable and populous parts of Africa, raising the risk of political violence and devastating disease outbreaks.

With global estimates of child poverty inaccurately unavailable, some reports, however, reveal that Sub-Saharan Africa houses the largest share of the world’s extremely poor children.

According to the UN, Nigeria is the third most populous country in the world. Currently, with some new report (JUNE 2018) reveals that the country with an estimated population of 198 million, has overtaken India (1.3 billion) as the country with the highest number of poor people in the world.

Nigeria has about 7 people going into poverty every minute. An obvious reason, Nigeria’s population is growing faster than its economy.

SOME CAUSES OF POVERTY

  • Little or no access to employment
  • Inadequate access to good food and clean water
  • Conflict, war and violence. Nigeria’s eight-year conflict with Boko Haram has resulted in the deaths of over 20,000 civilians. Approximately 2.1 million people have been displaced by the conflict while 7 million need humanitarian assistance.
  • World Bank estimates that climate change like drought, flood and earthquakes have the power to push more than 100 million people into poverty over the next ten years.
  • Zero education. UNESCO estimates that 171 million people could be lifted out of extreme poverty if they left school with basic reading skills cum quality education.

Today, more than one billion people live without necessary amenities, the number of people, who lived below the federal poverty line has gone way beyond the sky. With flat incomes stuck at historically high levels, one might assume that chronic economic insecurity which has obviously resulted in poverty might just be the new normal.

SOME STEPS TO CUT POVERTY AND INCREASE ECONOMIC GROWTH

  • Develop and implement rapid and sustained economic growth policies and programs, in areas such as health, education, agriculture, gender equality etc.
  • Invest in and implement agricultural programs.
  • Create and improve access to jobs and raise incomes.
  • Provide access to technology and innovation
  • Encourage countries to engage in trade as a path out of poverty, for trade is key to growth and prosperity.

FACTS ABOUT GLOBAL POVERTY

  • Nearly half of the world’s population, more than 3 billion people live on less than $2.50 a day.
  • According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die every day due to poverty while another 1 billion live in poverty.
  • 805 million people worldwide do not have enough food to eat.
  • More than 750 million people lack adequate access to clean drinking water. Diarrhoea caused by inadequate drinking water, sanitation, and hand hygiene kill an estimated 842,000 people every year globally and approximately 2,300 people every day.
  • In 2011, 165 million children under age 5 had stunted growth due to chronic malnutrition.
  • As of 2013, 21.8 million children under 1 year of age worldwide had not received the three recommended doses of vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis.
  • A quarter of the world lives without electricity, approximately 1.6 billion people.
  • According to Oxfam, it would take $60 billion annually to end extreme global poverty.

The World Food Programme says, “The poor are hungry and their hunger traps them in poverty.” Hunger is the number one cause of death in the world, killing more than HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined.

NO GIRL! NO WOMAN!! NO LIFE!!!

NO GIRL! NO WOMAN!! NO LIFE!!!

The world’s 1.1 billion girls are a source of power, innovation, strength and creativity.

Today, 11th October 2017, Nigeria Network of NGOs joins partners all over the world in marking the International Day of the Girl to recognize the imperativeness of empowering and investing in girls.

This year focuses on the theme ‘With Her: A Skilled Girl Force’.  The world must also focus on the need to invest in healthy, skilled and resilient (girl force) a key to competing effectively in the global economy.

Many countries have records of Girl Child being denied of human rights and sometimes her basic needs. The Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1989, sets the basic human rights of children; the right to survival and development of potential; protection from harmful influences, abuses and exploitation and full participation in family, cultural and social life.

Based on their gender, girls increasingly face gender inequality. This inequality includes access to quality education, nutrition, legal rights, medical care, protection from discrimination and child marriage. According to the International Labor Organization, 1 out of 3 girls will be sexually abused before they reach age 18.

The message is clear, globally, more than 1.8 billion people between the ages of 10 and 24, and more than 90% of these young people live in developing countries with the girls suffering the most. Research also reveals two-thirds of the 774 million illiterates in the world is female.

Despite transformation in the last decade, millions of girls are still denied right to education, more than 62 million girls around the world have no access to education. Of these 17 million are expected never to see nor sit in the four walls of schools. Several countries have millions of girls out of school: In Nigeria, there are almost five and a half million of them, many of them missing out on the chance to learn vital skills for employment and livelihood.

Worldwide, girls ages 5 to 14 spend more than 160 million hours more on household chores. To achieve gender equality and other SDGs, many now recognize that it is essential to support and invest in girls.

Girls deserve better and because they deserve better, the 1.1 billion girls of today’s world are beginning to challenge the status quo. The World Bank opines that girls with education grow into women who “tend to be healthier, participate more in the formal labour market, earn higher incomes, have fewer children with better health care and education.”

A substantial number of young girls in the world face various challenges that are often overlooked. Some of the risks include child marriage, early pregnancy, unsafe abortion, HIV and other STIs and genital mutilation to mention a few.

The United Nations Population Fund estimates that 100 million to 140 million girls and women have undergone genital mutilation with another 3 million at risk of the practice every year.

Skills for girls are one of the best strategies for protecting girls against child marriage. UNESCO notes that 116 million women across developing countries worldwide have never completed primary school, while two-thirds of the illiterate population worldwide is female.

With 5.5million girls out of school and without skills, Nigeria leads Africa in gender inequality. 2018 records about 12 million girls under 18 will be married, and 21 million girls aged 15 to 19 years will become pregnant even in developing nations.

Nigeria, with her workforce of about 77 million people, accounts for about 42% of the total population. Between 2014 and 2015, over four million young Nigerians entered the labour market, experiencing a growth of 53% between 2011 and 2015.

However, The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) opines that Nigeria is losing out on a literate and skilled workforce, many thanks to the huge number of out of school children.

The world needs to begin to realize that girls’ education has a huge impact on all societies. Research reveals that skilled female is more likely to find work; are less likely to have children at an early age; skilled girls can save millions of lives: If all women are skilled, there would be 15% fewer child deaths.

Skilled women are less likely to die in childbirth: If all mothers completed primary education, maternal deaths would be reduced by two-thirds, saving 98,000 lives

Girls with higher levels of skills are less likely to get married at an early age, with 14% fewer child marriages.

Gender gap raises some fine questions. Why are boys more valued than girls? For the fact that  age, income, culture, ethnicity and other intersecting factors are not often times factored, then gender must be treated as such, SDG5 must come to play and stay globally.

The world could begin by drawing attention and invest on the most pressing need which is creating opportunities for girls to embrace several skills for an established SKILLED GIRL FORCE.

To have a SKILLED GIRL FORCE, the world must invest and expand access to inclusive skills aside the job and educational skills, skills like professionalism, organizational, leadership and management, team building, analytical, life-skills and personal life skills all of these put together are believed would mold and transform them into an effective and productive FORCE today and tomorrow.

The Manifestation of Development in Everyday Life

The Manifestation of Development in Everyday Life

Since the adoption of the SDGs, experts, civil society actors, and concerned intellectuals have had a lot to say about them. We have heard speeches, read articles, opinion pieces and more about what the achievement of the SDGs would mean for us as individuals, a country, a continent, and a planet. From iterating the simple meaning of the term, Sustainable Development Goals to speaking about each of the pieces that make it up, one would be inclined to think that quite a lot of discussions go on about the global goals, right?

However, I bet when you go into the streets to ask average citizens what the sustainable development goals are, 90% -95% would gift you with responses ranging from a blank stare to derisive laughter, depending on how informed your pool of respondents is. It, therefore, begs the question, who discusses what?

It seems to me that to a large extent, developmental issues and especially issues around the SDGs are in some way abstract or esoteric. I was recently embroiled in an argument about the non-abstractness of the goals and although I tried to do justice to my position, I was left feeling like not much was done. For some reason, it seems to me that developmental issues are not gaining much traction with the people that matter; citizens. If they were, shouldn’t at the barest minimum, every school-going child know what they are?

A keynote speaker at a conference I attended last year spoke about how citizens need to begin to do more in terms of having and owning their voices. She had noted that with the huge human capital in Africa, especially since majority include young people between ages 15 to 45, more concern should be given the fact that our past, presents are futures are decided by a “few old men” in a room. The speaker had been affronted by what she called the “lack of attention of youths to matters of development”. She said she found it worrisome that youths had imbibed the notion of individuality over the African Ubuntu philosophy and this could only spell doom for sustainability.

In retrospect, this kind of brings me to the #LazyNigerianYouths movement. Even though I felt insulted and unappreciated by that statement made by the President at an International gathering no less, I may now be inclined to not completely fault that statement. I sense a general air of malaise/fatigue when speaking with young people about hope for our country. We have been conditioned to manage our expectations because “the country is not smiling” and perhaps this is why many young men and women risk it all to leave the country. In my opinion, of every six young Nigerian you meet, five aspire to “escape” Nigeria to “any other country but here”, four are in the process of “arranging to leave” while two will succeed to the chagrin of the other three people. All with no intention of returning. Some may argue that these young people are cowards but sometimes I think, “can you really blame anyone for not wanting to stay?”.

When you begin to explain the SDGs in terms of food provision, access to social amenities, income generation and provision of the basic needs of a person and all these are tied to the rights a person is entitled to as a world citizen, you have the attention of people who had, minutes prior to your explanation, given you an impatient shrug as to why you are being a disturbance on a hot Tuesday afternoon. There is more than a likely chance, that this would happen when your discussants are people in rural or hard-to-reach communities but when confronted with more informed individuals, you have a harder nut to crack it would seem.

Citizens who have a more than sparse knowledge of the goals would argue that the global goals are an agenda cooked up by international communities who see the need to be the prince charming for the clueless damsel which African countries constantly prove themselves to be. Even though they make my job harder to do, can they, honestly be blamed for thinking that way?

 

African leaders are not exactly known for initiating conversation along the lines of sustainable and developmentally-inclined policies. Someone once said, “In Nigeria, it is about the now, no one really cares about the survival of future generations”. In fact, I have been privy to one or two discussions about the inability of the government to implement the goals in totality…wait, that’s a little too mild. Many people, especially youths who are now jaded by the never-ending “promise and fall” attitude of authorities have blatantly expressed derision as to the notion that any government, especially an African one could achieve complete and total development.

Regardless of what is being done about the SDGs and their implementation at the moment, I bet many people, are plagued by the question; “So what Happens after 2030?” After all, we are already three years into the adoption of the SDGs.

PART F of Companies and Allied Matters Act (Part F of CAMA)

On Tuesday 15 May 2018, the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria passed the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 1990(CAP C20, LFN 2004) Repeal and Re-enactment Bill, 2018 (“the bill”). The bill consolidates the proposed amendments from two related bills: Companies and Allied Matters Act CAP C20 LFN 2004(Amendment) Bill, 2016 and the Companies and Allied Matters Act CAP C20 LFN 2004 (Amendment) Bill, 2017. The new Bill has now been renamed from “Part C to the Companies and Allied Matters (Part C of CAMA) to Part F to the Companies and Allied Matters (Part F of CAMA)”.

The Bill aims to establish an efficient way of registering an organisation with ease, minimize the compliance burden of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and bringing Nigeria’s foremost commercial law in line with international best practices. The key amendments in the draft bill presented by the committee to the Senate are highlighted below.

Please note that the highlights below may vary once the harmonized version of the bill is finally assent to by the President.

Please download the new Bill here

Reviewing the Costed Implementation Plan for Routine Immunization in Lagos State.

Reviewing the Costed Implementation Plan for Routine Immunization in Lagos State.

LAGOS, Nigeria –/ A fully immunized child is one who has received the complete doses of the standard six antigens – BCG, Diphtheria Tetanus Pertussis (DTP) (3 doses), polio (3 doses), and measles vaccines. Globally, there are about 19.5million un/under-immunized children with 18% of them live in Nigeria.

A survey conducted in 2017 using a Multi Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) showed that only about 23% of children in Nigeria were fully immunized in the last one year leaving 77% not fully immunized. In addition, statistics from the National Immunization Coverage Survey (NICS) 2017 for Lagos State showed that 68% of children aged 12-23 months received full immunization. This implies that although RI coverage in Lagos is impressive, there is still a lot more work to be done to achieve 100% coverage with the intention of leaving no child behind.

Understanding the critical role civil society organisations can play in attaining the 100% coverage goal for RI in Lagos State, NNNGO-PAS, following up on a civil society mapping exercise in March 2018, organised a strategy meeting with the Lagos State Accountability Mechanism (LASAM) on Friday 21, 2018 to review the costed implementation work plan for RI in Lagos State and to identify areas for advocacy. Organising a strategy meeting at this time was therefore not simply timely, but key to ensuring effective implementation of the RI costed implementation plan in Lagos state especially as governments begin preparations for 2019 RI year.

“We must begin to articulate more focused areas of advocacy that would improve RI funding and coverage in Lagos State now and in the coming year-2019” said Oyebisi, B. Oluseyi, NNNGO-PAS Program Director, who noted that part of the objectives of the meeting was to engage meaningfully with government and other critical stakeholders through a technical review of the costed implementation plan for RI in Lagos State, new domestic funding schemes and conduct feasibility updates on same.

Ayo Adebusoye, NNNGO-PAS Programs Officer further explained that the meeting also aimed at identifying capacity gaps amongst accountability mechanisms in the State, setting the foundation for addressing identified gaps with a view to strengthening and amplifying civil society’s voice on RI issues.

As with many other states in the country, issues of inadequate financing for routine immunization and untimely releases is playing out strongly in Lagos, a State that prides itself as a centre of excellence. History proves that these issues have plagued reproductive health for a long time. A report released by InfoGuide Nigeria in May 2018, noted that “vaccines have always been problematic for Nigeria primarily because funds are insufficient or were not released on time”.

The aforementioned roadblocks to RI service provision and delivery are compounded by inadequate cold chain infrastructure, weak preventive maintenance system of cold chain systems leading to rapid and continuous breakdown, inadequate supportive supervision, weak monitoring and lack of data for action as well as the slow integration of private providers in RI service delivery.

Needless to say, there is an urgent need to intensify advocacy for a sustained increase in allocation to RI and timely release of such funds. Specifically, critical stakeholders must begin to tackle these issues by ensuring that governments fulfil their commitments to RI with emphasis on adequate funding.

End

NNNGO-PAS Project Director Oyebisi urges improved release of funding for family planning and routine immunization

NNNGO-PAS Project Director Oyebisi urges improved release of funding for family planning and routine immunization

Oyebisi made the statement while delivering a keynote speech at the second Lagos State SDGs Summit with over 200 leading representatives of government, civil society, private sector and the media in Lagos.

Lagos, Nigeria, September 20, 2018/ — NNNGO-PACFAH@Scale Project Director, Oluseyi Oyebisi on Thursday urged governments at the State and Local Government level to seize opportunities for a healthy population by improving on the release of funding for family planning (FP) and routine immunization (RI) in Lagos State. Oyebisi made this statement while delivering a keynote speech at the second Lagos State Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Summit with over 200 leading representatives of government, civil society, private sector and the media in Lagos.

Speaking on the projects findings at the summit which had in attendance the Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Honourable Sunday Olusegun Banjo, Oyebisi said: “from our work we have seen an increase in budget allocations to FP and RI in the 2018 budget and if we have more funds for our primary health care centers (PHC’s) to effectively deliver FP and RI services, we will see an increase to the uptake of family planning in the State”.

“Honourable Commissioner, as I prepare for my presentation at this summit, I reviewed the score card developed by NNNGO-PAS on FP financing at the 41 local government areas of Lagos State. We have seen commitment to family planning in the health budget for the State and I applaud you for that. Here you can see how funds are released to PHC’s and how little these funds are. We see between 3000 and 25,000 Naira given to PHC’s monthly to buy FP consumables albeit irregular.

An improved use of family planning services can help achieve our global goals objectives with results seen in the areas of unintended pregnancies, a cut in maternal and child deaths–giving women more control over their lives and the chance to work.

L-R: Oluseyi Ojurongbe, Oluseyi Oyebisi, Hon. Olusegun Banjo and Dr. Paul Abolo
L-R: Oluseyi Ojurongbe, Oluseyi Oyebisi, Hon. Olusegun Banjo and Dr. Paul Abolo

Honourable Sunday Olusegun Banjo, Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Oluseyi Ojurongbe, Working Team Private Sector Advisory Group on SDGs Nigeria and Mories Atoki. – SM Sustainability, SDGs & Climate Change Pricewaterhousecoopers Inc were among panelists discussing multi-stakeholder approaches to attaining the SDGs at the event.

Addressing participants, Honourable Sunday Olusegun Banjo explained that the Lagos State Government is willing to partner with civil society organisations and the private sector in attaining the SDGs in Lagos State and “stands ready to receive feedback from all stakeholders on how to improve and prioritise development in the State”.

Oyebisi who is leading the Nigeria Network of NGOs /Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family at Scale, PACFaH@Scale, (PAS) a social accountability project aimed at ensuring improved financial commitment to FP and RI in Lagos State also met with a section of nonprofits at the event to discuss the PAS project.

Member Crush Monday (SAMI)

Member Crush Monday (SAMI)

The disease is called Sickle Cell Anaemia. The sufferers are called ‘Sicklers’ and sadly so, the disease currently has no cure.

Born September 1st 1965 to a professor of medicine (father) and a trained nurse for a mother, Toyin’s educational journey thus began at the University of Lagos staff school; Our Lady of Apostles Secondary School and then unto The Lagos State University where she graduated with a degree in Economics in 1992.

Oluwatoyin, sickle cell warrior of over 50 years, admitted that sickle cell disease can be managed and avoided and that the crisis is better imagined than experienced for they are overwhelming and often times annoyingly disrupting lives of sufferers and that of their families.

With a mission to empower and improve lives that have been attacked and ravaged by sickle cell anaemia disorder – by educating, providing support and transforming them such that sufferers begin to live healthy, positive and interesting lives even amidst their challenges.

Author of the book ‘STILL STANDING’, the book tells of the writer’s struggle, physical, psychological and emotional pains she went through and how with courage and determination she was and has been able to beat all odds.

Throwing herself into several projects, like project STILL STANDING, TOUCH A CELL, CLUB STILL STANDING, Toyin, although small in stature, she has been able to showcase massive might by going all the way to transforming lives especially people living with the sickle cell disease, she is currently the Executive Director and founder of Sickle Cell Advocacy and Management Initiative (SAMI)

Health & Chronic illness coach, author and motivational speaker, Oluwatoyin, AKA – STILL STANDING is a woman that can vividly be described as the “small girl with a big God”. She enjoys reading, writing and listening to music.