SSDO takes campaign on women leadership, GBV law enforcement to Enugu communities

The South Saharan Social Development Organization (SSDO) through its Sister Guardian Initiative (SGI) has taken awareness on women leadership rights and Gender Based Violence (GBV) law enforcement to three communities within Enugu State.


The workshop, which is part of activities marking the commemoration of the International Women’s Day (IWD), brought together women from Ibute-Nze, Ezi-Nze, and Akpakwume communities in Udi Local Government Area of Enugu State.


Speaking in Ezi-Nze community on Friday, Blessing Uchendu, Gender Protection Lead of SSDO, explained the need for increased inclusion and investment in women, particularly in the promotion of diversity in leadership and decision-making positions.


According to Uchendu, women, especially those belonging to underrepresented groups, continue to face barriers when seeking leadership roles.


She noted that by championing inclusion, organizations and communities could harness the full potential of diverse perspectives, leading to better decision-making and innovation.


She said: “Studies have shown that increased women’s representation in leadership positions has helped to reduce marginalization and discrimination as women in power can better advocate and present the needs of other women.


“Understanding this fact, SSDO has been working tirelessly to increase the number of women in the traditional ruling councils in project communities.


“So far, nine communities have included women in their traditional ruling councils. While not resting on our oars, the team is striving to see improved inclusion and women empowerment, hence the need for this workshop.”


Uchendu revealed that women face discrimination, harassment, inequality and oppression in most communities and social groups, adding that SSDO was out to address all these and more through the SGI groups instituted in the communities.


The Jacob’s Well Project Officer in the SGI Initiative, Mrs Stella Ani, also highlighted the importance of access to opportunities such as financial instruments as a viable way to invest in women.


Ani said: “We realize that marginalization and oppression lie at the heart of women’s poverty.


“This is why we introduced the micro-credit facility. To help women access loans, accelerate progress and achieve financial independence.”


Having sensitized participants and stakeholders on the need for increased women’s participation and increased inclusion in decision-making processes at the community level, the SSDO team facilitated a breakout session.


In the breakout session, traditional rulers and Sister Guardians Initiatives (women leaders) from various communities discussed and chose the three most pressing challenges that had plagued women the most in their communities.


A participant, Mrs Esther Ani, said that the workshop was “exciting and revealed a whole lot of opportunities and possibilities for women”.


“The fact that we could sit with our traditional rulers and tell them our struggles and needs was important. Now we can jointly plan and implement workable solutions to identified challenges,” she said.


A community leader and participant, Mrs Gloria Ugwu, noted that the identified problems/challenges would form the basis for intervention in the communities going forward.


“The women will advocate to public and private partners for speedy resolutions of the challenges.


“SSDO is also strengthens these established SGI groups/institutions by building their capacity and providing financing to carry out their activities.


“With more women in the cabinet or decision making meetings in these communities, these incidents will be further ameliorated,” she noted.


Meanwhile, to further commemorate the IWD, SSDO organized a radio sensitization to discuss the wins of Sister Guardians Initiative by sharing rural women stories, challenges, and journey since they were elected to traditional ruling councils in their communities.


The radio programme, which was carried out in a popular radio station in Enugu (name withheld) on Friday, created awareness on the need for women to be active participants in community issues, be part of decision making and ensure such moves become the norm in other communities.


The International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global day to celebrate women’s socioeconomic, cultural, and political achievement as well as provide a unique opportunity for women to rally and advocate for equal treatment and representation.


This year’s theme is: “Inspire Inclusion” and “Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress”.

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