Cross River, Nigeria – African Girls Empowerment Network, a young feminine frontline women’s rights organization in Nigeria has organized a one-day capacity building workshop to strengthen the capacity of key budget officers in the various MDAs in Cross River State for gender-responsive budgeting in the State.
The workshop, which took place on Friday 28th January 2022 at the State capital Calabar, was organized as part of the organization’s efforts to see gender equality incorporated into the State budget and planning to advance sexual & reproductive health & rights of women and girls for their inclusion. The workshop had in attendance the representatives and key budgets officers from the State Ministry of Budget and planning, State Ministry of women affairs & social development, State Ministry of Health, State Judiciary Head Quarters, State Ministry of Education, and other MDAs including the State Planning Commission and the Special Adviser to the Governor on Budget Mr. Oku Ita, and Director of Budget, Mr. Sylvanus Edet as well as representatives and Gender Budgeting experts/ advocates from the civil society organizations including Mr. Elvis Okolie, Director, African Youth and Adolescent Network on Population and Development (Afri YAN) Calabar, Mrs. Ndodeye Bassey-Obongha, Health Education and Human Rights advocacy Initiative (HEHRAI), Calabar, Ms. Ayomide Ladipo, BudgIT Foundation Lagos, Ms. Deborah Asuquo, International Federation of Female Lawyers – FIDA Calabar Branch, Youth Friendly Centre Calabar, other CSOs and media.
In her welcome address, the group President, Pst. Mrs. Blessing Michael who was represented by the group State Coordinator, Mrs. Eucharia Abua, thanked the participants and their partners/collaborators who made the event see the light of the day; “I am delighted to have you all here to participate in this capacity-building workshop on Gender Responsive Budgeting organized by our organization as part of our effort to see gender equality integrated into the public financial management of our dear State and thanks to our partners and collaborators- the African Women Development Fund, The Global Fund for women, BudgIT Foundation Lagos, the Cross River State Ministry of Budget and Planning for their immense supports.”
Reiterating the purpose of the workshop she said, “Today, we will look at the various aspects of gender budgeting for the inclusion of women and girls, men and boys, and able and disabled needs in the public financial management of our dear State, and we also look forward to engaging you our stakeholders on the need to prioritize women and girls’ sexual & reproductive health needs in 2022/2023 Budget and medium-term expenditure framework as we all know women sexual & reproductive health issue is intersectional.”
Also, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Budget Mr. Oku Ita who spoke at the event commended the efforts of the African Girls Empowerment Network and its partners in putting together the capacity strengthening workshop on gender-responsive budgeting for key budget officers in the state. He also took the opportunity to share some of the programs of the Cross River State Government in addressing many of the inequalities in the State.
The Three Gender budgeting experts; Mr. Elvis Okolie, Mrs. Ndodeye Bassey-Obongha, and Ms. Ayomide Ladipo who facilitated sessions at the workshop took the participants on the principles of gender-responsive budgeting; steps and guidelines, the Pros and cons, and the best practices with case-studies from other States of the Federation and Countries. They highlighted the features of a good budget; participatory, defined time frame, realistic, Inclusive, transparent, and accountable. And also stressed that the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls is an essential building block to achieving gender equality and this should be prioritized in the budget.
The workshop also had a rundown on the Cross River State budget process, Gender, and some key terms by Mr. Sylvester Francis-the Director of Budget and a panel discussion involving key representatives of the various MDAs and budgets officers and was moderated by Mrs. Abua. Suggestions were made during the panel discussion that there should be a periodic capacity-building workshop for key budget officers in the state so that budgets can be understood and analyzed, civil society groups should link with academia and there should be sensitization of finance officials and Ministers of the State.
The workshop came to a close with a three points demands as the group called for citizen engagement during the State budget planning and allocation, and for a Gender Budgeting unit to be set up at the State Ministry of Budget & Planning to ensure that the budgets of all ministries, departments, and agencies, (MDAs) are gender-responsive and also for women and girls’ sexual & reproductive health & rights to be prioritized in 2022/2023 Budget
For more information about the capacity building workshop, or to arrange interviews, please contact Eucharia Abua & Media Team, African Girls Empowerment Network: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel/WhatsApp +2348062762068.
Notes to editors:
African Girls Empowerment Network (AGE Network), is a registered young feminine frontline civil society organization dedicated to reducing gender inequality by empowering and advancing the human rights of young women and girls particularly those the displacement & vulnerable settings. We advance gender equality in girls’ education, promote young women’s sexual & reproductive health & rights, bolster women’s role in leadership and economic inclusion, as well as strengthen the capacity of young women/girls-led groups in Nigeria. (www.agenetwork.org, stem.agenetwork.org)