The Civil Society-Scaling up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) has successfully partnered the media to amplify the visibility of economic empowerment for women and girls, paving the way for enhanced nutrition outcomes in Nigeria. At a media roundtable on ‘Promoting Women and Girl’s Empowerment for optimal nutrition’ held recently in Abuja, CS-SUNN, Nigeria’s Scaling Up Nutrition Civil Society Alliance (SUN CSA) brought together key stakeholders from line Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), Civil Society, Women Groups, and the media to generate recommendations on engagement of policy and decision makers to prioritize economic empowerment of women and girls for improved nutrition outcomes in Nigeria.
How we did it!
The media roundtable began with a presentation on ‘The State of Economic Empowerment of Women and Girls and its impact on nutrition outcomes in Nigeria’ by the Deputy Director Child Development Department and Nutrition Focal Officer, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, Mrs. Oliko Christianah. She contextualized the state of economic empowerment among women and girls in Nigeria, providing a deep insight into the challenges they face and the ripple effect on nutrition outcomes. She revealed the barriers and daunting statistics indicating disparities in disfavour of the empowerment of women and girls in Nigeria.
Barriers to Women Empowerment:
-Financial Inclusion: 56% of Nigerian men have access to financial service compared to only 45% of women.
-Land ownership: only 10% of land owners in Nigeria are women despite 45 years old land act that gives women equal rights to land ownership.
-School Completion: while 67% of boys in Nigeria will complete secondary school, only 53% of girls have the same opportunity.
-Digital Access: Only 34% of Nigerian Women and Girls have access to the internet compared to 54% of men and boys!
-Corporate Representation: few women in the Nigerian economy manage to reach the senior management and governance positions in the private sector as only 1 in 5 board members of the companies represented in the Nigerian stock exchange.
According to Mrs Oliko ‘women empowerment in the economic sphere is considered one of the channels for improving household living standards which includes nutrition. Education will provide women and girls with the knowledge and skills that are vital for appropriate nutrition and enlightenment on various key household practices opportunities to engage in productive employment’. The increase in women empowerment is a strategy to fight malnutrition, she added.
Getting Media Buy-In for Increased Visibility:
CS-SUNN engaged with various media organizations on the need shine the spotlight on the state of economic empowerment of women and girls and to harness actions from key decision makers for optimal nutrition outcomes in Nigeria. Health Editors, Reporters, Cameramen, Newscasters from the NTA, AIT, Arise News, Daily Trust Newspapers, Vision FM, Kapital FM, Nation newspaper and others were among participating media.
The media practitioners acknowledged the pivotal role the media plays in shaping public opinion and pledged to use their platforms to increase visibility around the economic empowerment of women and girls for better nutrition outcomes. They committed to championing this cause and to translate their efforts into increased coverage of related stories and issues, reaching a broader audience and raising awareness. They also generated actionable recommendations on how to engage policy and decision-makers to prioritize economic empowerment of women and girls for improved nutrition outcomes in Nigeria.
Dimas Nanzum of AIT committed to teaming up with CS-SUNN for the creation of community-centered documentaries that vividly portray the challenging economic circumstances faced by women and girls, shedding light on their adverse effects on nutrition. These documentaries will be offered at reduced airing costs.
On her part Modupe Aduloju of Kapital FM said ‘”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 catalyze concrete actions towards enhancing economic empowerment for women and girls.”
For Mrs. Bassey Ita of the NTA, it is important for pregnant women to get more sensitization on economic empowerment and its impact on their nutritional wellbeing. Watch a video clip of Ita speak during the roundtable. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pRAk5n527OE
CS-SUNNN Call To Action:
Presenting a Press Statement, CS-SUNN Executive Secretary represented by the Programme Manager, Dr. Anyanwu Goodness Chidi, stated that empowered women and girls, in every sense, (participation in decision making, education, business and leadership) can take charge of their nutrition, the nutrition of their families, and ultimately, contribute to the well-being of the nation- a healthy workforce; reducing health costs and improving Gross Domestic Product. According to her ‘CS-SUNN restates that Empowering Women and Girls for optimal Nutrition is the right path on Nigeria’s journey towards a more prosperous and healthier nation. This is therefore a call for the increased representation of women in decision-making roles to enable them shape and influence policies and programs for sustainability of nutrition investment outcomes in Nigeria. It is also imperative to expand access to public empowerment schemes such as farming and business loans, scholarships, employment, and livelihood support for more women and girls. We urge government at all levels to implement policies like the National Gender Policy that promote gender equality, women’s rights, and optimal nutrition’.
Watch a less than 2 minute video on the presentation of the press statement by Dr. Goodness Chidi Anyanwu here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pl2IKKx8LLA.
Testimonials from our media participants:
Bukola Afeni is the Senior Health Reporter with Newsday On-line Newspaper. She shares her thoughts on the roundtable ‘The event was a great success and my expectations were met. I was able to learn from different experts from CS-SUNN, government, Media, and other NGOs. It propelled me as a media practitioner to keep advocating for optimal nutrition among women and girls. It will contribute greatly to national development and growth. The Ministry of Education is key to this cause. Their buy -in is quite important. Teachers and experts in the education sector need to be fully carried along in terms of nutrition advocacy’.
Frank Ajufo reports for Vision 92.1 FM. He says ‘it is necessary to applaud CS-SUNN’s identification of stakeholders in the nutrition ecosystem and seeking to arm them with required capacity to support the fight against malnutrition. CS-SUNN did not only meet to talk with media on women and girls’ nutrition but brought key holders from women societies, the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs/Agriculture to understand the specific needs that will enhance the role of the media in driving Nigeria’s nutrition course’. ‘On the whole, the meeting opens a new page of promise, for stronger partnership between key nutrition stakeholders and the media in pushing back the growing trend of malnutrition among women and girls in particular and Nigeria general’, he adds.
The CS-SUNN media roundtable achieved remarkable success in advancing the cause of improved nutrition in Nigeria. It not only created awareness but also secured media buy-in and provided a strategic plan to engage policymakers. Through meticulous data presentation, engaging discussions, and actionable recommendations, the event set the stage for prioritization of the economic empowerment of women and girls for better nutrition outcomes in Nigeria.
Read and watch some media publications on the event here:
The insights generated during the roundtable discussions will act as a guiding compass for CS-SUNN’s advocacy initiatives as the alliance progresses in the journey of empowering women and girls for better nutrition in Nigeria in the upcoming months. The Nigerian CSA of the SUN movement is dedicated to tracking the results of this meeting and exploring avenues for their effective implementation and amplification to achieve the greatest impact.
CS-SUNN’s unwavering dedication to tackling the urgent issues surrounding nutrition, healthcare, and gender equity in Nigeria birthed the 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. Through this project, CS-SUNN is advancing an action agenda for the prioritization and acceleration of policy and financial commitments dedicated to improving the nutrition of women and girls. This initiative will have a far-reaching impact at local, regional, and global levels, with a primary focus on four critical domains: healthy diets, care (comprising health and social protection), gender equality, and an enabling environment involving multiple systems.