Mining sector in Nigeria recently received a boost following the involvement of more women in the sector who now occupy very significant positions and looks forward to an equal and voilence free operations in the sector. This was made possible by one of Nigeria’s Social Justice advocates, the African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development (Centre LSD). The centre have also designed a policy brief to be forwarded to the Nigerian Parliament to consider creating a legislation that will possibly end sexual and gender based voilence (GBV) and inequality in the Mining Sector. These among others are the strides achieved by the Centre with the help of the BUILD grant it got from the FORD FOUNDATION.
Speaking in a Press Conference on Friday, Centre LSD’s management explained to journalists how they achieved this feat within a year.
“We achieved this through the help of the “BUILD PROJECT” which was made possible by the BUILD GRANT provided to us by the FORD FOUNDATION.” Executive Director, Centre LSD, Monday Osasah said. He added that “the BUILD project comprises of the Institutional and Programmatic Components”. Osasah said that “In January 2021 Centre LSD began the implementation of the BUILD project; the general approach of the project is to offer support interms of strengthening institutions in their drive towards the elimination of gender based voilence in the extractive industry. The Institutional component of the project revolves round interrogation of systems and practices that endangers women or put some women at disadvantage in the mining sector. While the programmatic component of the project helped in breaking gender barrier in the extractive sector; it makes the men wake up; the game changer was to put woman fully in the mines as well as interrogate the abuse of women’s rights”. He said.
In terms of specifics, programme coordinator Victoria Udoh and Research Consultant Dr. Akin Oke reeled out the specific areas the project positively impacted the various communities.
For her part, Victoria Udoh said that under the institutional component of the project, various achievements which includes recruitment of staff, strengthening capacity of existing staff on gender mainstreaming of gender was recorded at Centre LSD. The new face of the staff strength at the centre are visible in areas such as ICT, Monitoring and Evaluation, Gender Mainstreaming, Upgraded finance department, More traffic on website etc.
The programmatic component on the other hand according to Ms Udoh revolves round the higher number of female employees in mining companies, reorganization of mining communities for easy understanding of Community Development Agreement (CDA).
“CDA developments in Ejewo community in Ekiti state was designed for the first time. Provision of protective gear in the states. Strengthening capacity for women in various areas of livelyhoods etc” Ms Udoh added.
For his part, Dr Akin Oke said that six states which includes Zamfara, Taraba, Nasarawa, Ebonyi, Ekiti and Edo states constitutes the various locations for the research.”
According to him “Instances of gender based voilence where moreless domestic” ” Domestic voilence is the common form of voilence in the extractive sector” Oke said.
“The research shows that due to the stressful nature of the mining work, men become more aggressive” Also in Zamfara and Taraba: young girls are used as illegal mining proceeds transporters” Akin added.
Other instances of the success of the BUILD Project at Central LSD includes the employment of five women by a mining company called Ereclay after 40years of operation with only men emloyees. Another Mining company called IJERO employed a woman engineer as section 9-1 officer for the first time in the history the company. Section 91 Officer is a Laison between the miner and the government office. They summit a monthly report to state office. They monitor what is happening in the company. All women employed at the mines and in the mining companies where employed as permanent staff.
Building Institutions and Networks (BUILD) initiative is a grantmaking approach by FORD FOUNDATION focused on helping social justice organizations become stronger and more resilient over time.