Prioritising Economic Empowerment
In a significant move towards improving nutrition outcomes in Nigeria, the Civil Society-Scaling up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) recently partnered with the media to shed light on the critical issue of economic empowerment for women and girls. The media roundtable, held in Abuja under the theme ‘Promoting Women and Girl’s Empowerment for Optimal Nutrition,’ brought together key stakeholders, including government officials, civil society representatives, women’s groups, and the media, to generate recommendations aimed at influencing policy and decision-makers to prioritise women and girls’ economic empowerment.
The event was part of a Women and Girls Nutrition project, supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and implemented by FHI Solutions as well as by Civil Society- Scaling up Nutrition, Nigeria (CS-SUNN) in Nigeria.
Women’s Economic Empowerment and Improved Household Nutrition
The media roundtable began with a comprehensive presentation by Mrs Oliko Christianah, Deputy Director of the Child Development Department and Nutrition Focal Officer at the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs. She provided a sobering overview of the state of economic empowerment among women and girls in Nigeria, highlighting the numerous barriers and challenges they face. These barriers included limited access to financial services, land ownership disparities, lower school completion rates, limited digital access, and underrepresentation in corporate leadership roles.
Mrs. Oliko Christianah underscored the critical connection between women’s economic empowerment and improved household nutrition. She emphasised that education and economic empowerment are essential for women and girls to make informed choices about nutrition and engage in productive employment, ultimately combatting malnutrition.
Media Buy-in for Increased Visibility
One of the key achievements of this media roundtable was securing media buy-in for increased visibility on the issue of women and girls’ economic empowerment. Major media organisations, including NTA, AIT, Arise News, Daily Trust newspapers, Vision FM, Kapital FM, and The Nation newspaper, pledged to leverage their platforms to raise awareness and advocate for change. They also committed to producing community-centred documentaries highlighting the challenges faced by women and girls and their impact on nutrition, offered at reduced airing costs.
According to Modupe Aduloju of Kapital FM, “I am committed to collaborating with CS-SUNN to facilitate advocacy meetings with the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and dedicate airtime for meaningful discussions on this critical matter. By presenting real-time data on the status of economic empowerment for women and girls and aligning it with the Ministry’s objectives, we aim to catalyse concrete actions towards enhancing economic empowerment for women and girls.”
Additionally, media participants like Dimas Nanzum of AIT and Modupe Aduloju of Kapital FM expressed their commitment to collaborating with CS-SUNN to facilitate advocacy meetings and airtime for discussions with relevant government ministries. These efforts will provide real-time data on the status of economic empowerment for women and girls, aligning with governmental objectives to drive concrete actions.
Critical Role of Empowered Women and Girls
CS-SUNN’s Executive Secretary, represented by Programme Manager Dr Anyanwu Goodness Chidi, reiterated the critical role of empowered women and girls in improving nutrition, family well-being, and national prosperity. The organisation called for increased representation of women in decision-making roles and expanded access to empowerment schemes.
The media participants shared their positive experiences at the roundtable, with Bukola Afeni, Senior Health Reporter with Newsday Online newspaper, highlighting the need for collaboration with the Ministry of Education to ensure buy-in for this cause. Frank Ajufo of Vision 92.1 FM praised CS-SUNN for uniting key stakeholders in the nutrition ecosystem, emphasising the potential for stronger partnerships to combat malnutrition.
Strategic Approach to Advocacy
In conclusion, the CS-SUNN media roundtable successfully raised awareness and secured media support for women’s and girls’ economic empowerment to improve nutrition outcomes in Nigeria. The event not only created awareness but also provided a strategic approach to engage policymakers effectively. It laid the foundation for prioritising women’s economic empowerment in the fight against malnutrition, setting a promising course for a healthier and more prosperous Nigeria.
Moving forward, CS-SUNN said the insights generated during the roundtable discussions will guide their advocacy initiatives as they work towards empowering women and girls for better nutrition in Nigeria. The Nigerian CSA of the SUN movement will closely monitor the results of this meeting and explore avenues for effective implementation to achieve the greatest impact. CS-SUNN’s dedication to tackling critical issues surrounding nutrition, healthcare, and gender equity in Nigeria, as seen through initiatives like the Women and Girls Nutrition project, will undoubtedly contribute to significant positive change at various levels, including the local, regional, and global arenas.