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ECS, Others: Enhancing women, vulnerable groups’ empowerment

Critical stakeholders

Against the backdrop of exclusion from participation and empowerment of women and vulnerable groups in social and economic development, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), the Educational Co-operation Society (ECS) in consortium with other four non-profit organisations has embarked on a project, aimed at changing the narrative. The project, which focused on Lagos, is on promoting empowerment of women and vulnerable groups for participation and inclusion in social and economic developments in peri-urban areas of Lagos State.

Overall goal

The other consortium NGOs in the project/action apart from the lead Educational Co-operation Society are the Institute for Media and Society (IMS), Healthy Living and Women Empowerment Initiative (HELWEI), Advocacy for Anti- Bribery, Corruption; CrimePrevention Initiatives (AABC: CPI), and Koloba Lala Women Progressive Association. The overall goal of the project, according to the Managing Director, ECS, Dr. Chudi Ihenacho, is to contribute to the realisation of gender equality and social inclusion of women and people with disabilities inlocaldevelopmentprocesseswithin Lagos State. Specifically, the project aims to strengthen capacity of women through processes of advocacy, training on gender equality and financial management in order to enable them to participate effective ly in decision-making and development initiatives at community levels in some communities, including Alimosho, Mushin, and Ibeju Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state. Theconsortiumprojectisfunded by the British Council and the European Union within the Agents for Citizen-Driven Transformation Programme(ACT), whichisastrategic response to invest in and engage with the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Nigeria with view to strengthening their capacity to engageeffectivelyandinfluencesustainable development, towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Nigeria.

Action plan

Speaking further, he noted that during the duration of action, which is six months, beginning from July 2022 to February 2023, the women will not only enhance their capacity for participatory processes, but also lead development initiatives to meet basic social needs in their communities. He said: “Apart from the offer of basic financial management skills to enable some 270 women to grow their small businesses, the project would also endear gender equality values to local leaders in target communities, as well as help them to appreciate the position of women enough to support participation of women in social development processes that affect them.

Gender support

“Gender equity and equal-ity is one of the SDG goals yet to be achieved in Nigeria, particularly in Lagos State, where the disparity is more markedly manifest in spite of past interventions by various development institutions and the government. “What is more, as the economy regresses and the social protection netgivesway, moreof thepopulation falls into poverty and social services become less accessible to most rural dwellers. In the circumstance, the positionof womenandothervulnerable groups is furthercompromised, augmenting the disparity in gender across board.” AccordingtoECS, thecurrentaction by the consortium is therefore a practical and multi-dimensional incorporatingeducationalapproachto drive gender equality.

Through the project, genderequality studies have accordingly been extended to teachers, pupils, and other educators at the basic levels in the target communities. As a result of this intervention by ECS-led Consortium, Ihenacho statedthatthecapacitiesof nofewer than 320 Women, including women living with physical disabilities in Alimosho, Mushin, and Ibeju, have been strengthened enough to grow their petty businesses, and participate in decision-making or development initiatives in their communities. Besides, local leaders in target communities, hefurther pointed out through the project, now recognise the position of women and support participation of women in social development processes.


Meanwhile, the Educational Cooperation Society (ECS), which was incorporated in Nigeria under the CompaniesDecreein1974, asacharitable trust limited by guarantee, RC 13503, is a non-profit and non-governmental organisation that envisages a Nigeria where all persons have access to education of good quality, and personal development, irrespective of their social, cultural, ethnic and religious backgrounds. On the broad aim and mission of the Society, he said, it is to promote projects throughout the federation, which further education, social welfareanddevelopmentof characterin accordance with Christian principles. Reelingoutsomeof theprojectsof theSocietyoverthepastfourdecades, Educational Co-operation Society, according to the Managing Director, has promoted several projects which enhanced youth leadership and auxiliary academic training in various states across the country. “ECShasalsosuccessfullycarried out rural development projects in cooperation with foreign missions in Nigeria, corporate bodies, and a few European NGOs. By means of its projects, the EducationalCo- operationSocietyhas, for several years, been making substantial contributions towards solving specific problems in Nigeria,” he added.

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