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The SPARC Project

The Supporting Pastoralism and Agriculture in Recurrent and Protracted Crises (SPARC) programme 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 project is part of ongoing SPARC work to support researchers from the region to work with pastoral and agropastoral communities towards more resilient and equitable livelihoods. The new project has three major goals:

  • To identify barriers and opportunities to building more gender-responsive and socially-inclusive livelihoods and climate-resilient food systems in the African Sahel;
  • To enhance the capacity of local researchers to effectively integrate gender equality and social inclusion in pastoralism and agropastoralism research;
  • To facilitate opportunities for learning, communications, engagement, and research uptake by integrating supported research teams within ongoing activities supported by the SPARC programme.

CPED Partnership with SPARC

In Nigeria and South Sudan, SPARC is collaborating with three in-country partners namely Centre for Population and Environmental Development (CPED) working in Nigeria, Fulbe Development and Cultural Organization (FUDECO) working in Nigeria, and Kenyatta University working in South Sudan. CPED is implementing the project in Gombe state (Akko LGA, Billiri LGA and Kaltungo LGA) and Bauchi state (Dass LGA, Kirfi LGA and Tafawa Balewa LGA).

CPED action research activities over the years is to generate knowledge that would provide the basis for evidence policy making and practice as well as the implementation of interventions. CPED, in most of its action research projects, targets the most vulnerable communities mainly in rural localities and within such communities marginalised people particularly, women and girls. While some research has been carried out in the Sahel region including the Nigeria’s Sahel, most of these tend to focus on environmental conditions and security issues with less attention focused on the socio-economic conditions of the vulnerable and marginalised groups that are mainly comprised of women. Even though CPED has collaborated with many international and donor agencies in the implementation of its various programs, the new partnership with SPARC is important and indeed unique in that SPARC’s major interest in research on, and the empowerment of women and girls in marginalised localities such as those in Sahel region is again drawing CPED attention to gender inequalities in recent years. Also, SPARC supports the implementation of projects which promotes the participation of policymakers, target groups, beneficiaries, vulnerable groups, and other stakeholders. This approach is in line with CPED’s action research ethics. The opportunity provided by the implementation of this project and working with SPARC enhances CPED’s engagement with international agencies and funders of research on pastoralism in fragile systems.

Project Title: Empowerment of Women in Pastoralism and Agriculture in Nigeria’s Sahel Region

General Objective: To contribute to socially-equitable agro-pastoral/pastoral development and gender equality in Nigeria’s Sahel region.

Specific Objectives: The project has four specific objectives organized into four work packages: knowledge generation (research) (Objective 1), interventions in pilot communities to promote gender equality and empowerment of women (Objective 2) capacity building and knowledge mobilisation (Objective 3) and knowledge dissemination (Objective 4) as follows:

1. To generate robust policy-relevant evidence on women and girls’ lives in the context of economic, political, and environmental changes in Nigeria’s Sahel region and their impact on women’s inequality status, the root causes of the inequality and the needed women empowerment strategies;

2. 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;

3. To promote the integration of context-specific innovative strategies on agro-pastoral/pastoral women’s empowerment and gender equality into public policies and programs through proactive engagement and knowledge mobilisation with policymakers and other key stakeholders;

4. To communicate and disseminate the project results to key stakeholders and the general public within Nigeria and in other countries in West Africa’s Sahel in order to facilitate the understanding and enhanced capacity for promoting gender equality in agro-pastoral/pastoral activities.

Activities and Timeline

The project which officially commenced in June 2022 will be implemented over a period of 3 years. CPED has four major activities to be carried out on the project in Nigeria’s Sahel region focusing on Gombe and Bauchi states. The first is research in which new knowledge will be generated on women and girls’ lives in the context of economic, political, and environmental challenges in Nigeria’s Sahel region and their impact on women’s status. At the same time, information and analysis of previous programs and initiatives that have been promoted to improve lives and livelihoods in Nigeria’s Sahel region and their impact on women and girls’ status and empowerment will be carried out. Secondly, an intervention program on women’s empowerment and the promotion of gender equality will be carried out in six communities in Gombe and Bauchi States. It is expected that the interventions will lead to women leaders acquiring skills and capacity to promote gender equality in pastoral communities as well as the enhancement of the status of women in targeted pastoral communities through the availability of scalable community-based women empowerment initiatives that will be piloted and validated. Third, the project will strengthen the capacity of policymakers on the integration of gender equality and women empowerment initiatives in public policies and programs through a series of training activities. Finally, the results and recommendations of the project will be communicated and disseminated to key stakeholders and members of the public. In carrying out these various activities which focuses on the Sahel where limited implementation research is taking place, there is no doubt that the research project will contribute to strengthening research in Nigeria’s Sahel region with particular attention to women in pastoralism and agriculture.

Research Team Members

Prof. Andrew G. Onokerhoraye, PI                                 

Prof. Bibi Umar Muhammad           

Prof. Gideon Omuta 

Prof. Eddy Akpomera                       

Dr. Johnson Dudu                           

Engr. Job I. Eronmhonsele                  

Prof. (Mrs.) Dicta Ogisi, Deputy PI  

Prof. (Mrs.) May Nwoye                                                     

Prof. (Mrs.) Onovughe Ikelegbe

Dr (Mrs.) Bilkisu Yayaji Ahmed       

Dr. (Mrs.) Rebecca John-Abebe                              

Dr. (Mrs.) Verere S. Balogun  Dr. (Mrs.) Barakatu Yerima