On March 12, 2019, Spaces For Change (S4C) and the Communities’ Alliance against Displacement (CAD) convened a community women’s forum titled Step-by-Step to Gender Equality, to educate women and girls living in informal and displaced communities in Lagos State about integrated approaches and innovative ideas for advancing gender empowerment and gender equality in their homes and communities.
The event held at Patangelina event centre, 54, Abu Nla Road, off Apapa Road, Oyingbo, Lagos State, was in honour of the March 8 International Women’s Day theme “Think equal, build smart, innovate for change”.
Present at the event were over 60 women living in informal and displaced communities including Itua-Agan, Igbo-Elejo, Oko-Baba, Otumara, Otto-Ilogbo, Apata-Oro, Badia-East, Mowo-Phase2, Isale-Akoka, Ebute-Ilaje, as well as other communities from Mainland, Apapa, Amuwo-Odofin, Eti-Osa, Badagry, Somolu, and Alimosho local government areas.
According to Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri, Executive Director of S4C, in her welcome remarks stated that speakers and presentations would provide target groups with empowering information regarding women’s equal access to microfinance, women’s equal access to housing, public services and infrastructure, women’s equal access to decision-making in the home, and women’s equal access to urban and community development.
There where three learning sessions at the programme.
Access to Economic Opportunities and Housing Finance for Women by Cletus Ogwuche, Head of Marketing at Chase Microfinance Bank Ltd, dwelt on types of loan products––e.g. N100,000 to N1,000,000 payable within 3 to 6 months at first cycle and up to 9 months at subsequent cycles––available for poor people with manageable economic activities i.e. people with lockup business shops, hospital owners, school owners, people with display goods, etc.
Think Equality, Within Low-Income Groups by Cynthia Chielotam Ibe of Center for Advancement of Development Rights (CEADER), explained how forced evictions adversely affect women given their more common roles as managers of homes and neighbourhood businesses. She stated the importance of including women in the dialogue, negotiation, compensation and resettlement process, which should be completed before eviction exercises are conducted.
The session on Improving Women’s Access to Housing, Public Services and Infrastructure, facilitated by S4C’s Programme Officer, Aizighode Obinyan, explained how participants can form cooperatives to overcome challenges of getting a house and community amenities; and also how to get budgetary allocation for community development and infrastructure projects.