The Supporting Pastoralism and Agriculture in Recurrent and Protracted Crises (SPARC) programme funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) – has been awarded funding by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) for a new research initiative to advance gender equality in fragile food systems. The SPARC project aim to support researchers to work with pastoral and agro-pastoral communities towards more resilient and equitable livelihoods. In Nigeria, SPARC is collaborating with Centre for Population and Environmental Development (CPED) to implement the project “Empowerment of Women in Pastoralism and Agriculture in Nigeria’s Sahel Region” in Gombe state (Akko LGA, Billiri LGA and Kaltungo LGA) and Bauchi state (DASS LGA, Kirfi LGA and Tafawa Balewa LGA).
Amongst the four specific objectives of CPED SPARC project is to improve the status of women/girls in agro-pastoral and pastoral activities in Nigeria’s Sahel region through the empowerment of women and other marginalised groups so that they can become agents of change with respect to promoting gender equality using the results of the project.
It is in line with this objective that CPED project team has commenced the empowerment of local women and girls in the project locality through various training and capacity building workshops on gender. The trainings also seek to enhance rural women and girls’ ability to make informed choices and challenge gender norms that tend to hinder them from reaching their potentials.
BUILDING THE CAPACITY OF COMMUNITY BASED GROUPS IN PROJECT LOCALITY TO RESPOND TO ISSUES OF GENDER INEQUALITY AND SOCIAL INCLUSION- TOWARDS A RESILIENT PASTORAL AND AGRO-PASTORAL COMMUNITIES.
The first phase of the training of CPIC (Community Project Implementation Committee) members in the selected pilot communities commenced in the fifth quarter of project implementation. This began with the initial capacity building of members of collaborating CSOs in Gombe and Bauchi states who will in turn train the CPIC members at the community level. The training guide developed by CPED for the empowerment of women on Gender and Climate Change in the Sahel Region was used. The guide which is in different modules presents a mix of interactive activities and presentations to improve the individual-level knowledge, attitude, skills, and behaviours needed of local women and men based in the selected communities to understand the overall gender dimensions of climate change in the Sahel region of Nigeria and indeed Africa in general.
The training was designed to help beneficiaries identify specific gender-based inequities that contribute towards the disproportionate exposure and vulnerability of women and girls in pastoral and agropastoral communities. The training sessions provided an opportunity for participants to reflect on, discuss and challenge their own perceptions, values, beliefs, and behaviours through sharing ideas with other participants. A combination of traditional learning methods such as presentations and discussions, along with more participatory and experiential learning approaches such as group work, role play, breakout sessions, and reflections on personal experience were used during the training of the collaborating CSO members. These approaches were also adopted in the training of CPICs at the community level.
To ensure that each member of the CPIC in selected communities is carried along, a time convenient for the committee members was agreed upon, taken in cognizance that most of the participants are farmers and pastoralist who may need to take their livestock for grazing or may need to go to their farms.
At the beginning of each training session, the participants were provided with a brief overview of the kind of training approach that will be used so as to get them mobilised mentally for the training.
A welcoming and relaxed training environment was established at the beginning of each training session. The training session was intended to make participants’ learning more concrete and contextualized to real life scenarios – which will be based on the participants’ own community experiences. Active participation of participants in the sessions was encouraged. Use of energizers intermittently and, in some cases, interpretation of the modules to local dialect, made the training sessions fun and inclusive for all participants.
The training of CPICs at the community level is not a one-off event, but rather an activity that is ongoing and will continue throughout the project implementation.