GIVING OUR GIRLS VOICE
Like any other society in the world, women and girls right violation have become a global problem, Nigeria is not an exception. A woman’s voice is restricted, not even heard especially in the core north where all authorities are given to men and men alone, though there are certain areas where the women and girls are given the voice and there are certain areas where they are denied the voice. Taking an instance with a typical Hausa community, where in such a society, women are given right in terms of their economy power subject to their earnings (their income). In this aspect the women tend to have control over their earnings. During an interview with the Nana Chair, Dr Fatima L.Adamu, On giving our girls and women voice, she stated that; According to the National statistics, it shows that, In Northern Nigeria, especially in the core Hausa society, women have control over their income which they generated ‘. The money they generated through different means belongs to them and them alone. This is attributed to the Islamic culture and Islamic family lives, which makes a clear distinction between a husband’s wealth and a wife’s wealth. However a big challenge is lack of power by the women and girls to make decisions on issues relating to their personal life and future, many at times the women are voiceless in that area.
NANA’S OPINION ABOUT THE WOMEN AND GIRLS VOICE
Giving the girls and women voice might vary according to how different individuals, organizations and societies look at it in their own opinions and perspectives.
Starting with the girls’ voice, NANA believes that to give a girl a voice, it means that before taking any decisive measure or decision on behalf of the girl, the girl should be contacted, consulted and also her opinions should be put into consideration before acting on such measures, no matter the urgency of such event,’ only if and only if, it’s about life and death’. Her opinions, such as; when the girl wants to get married, who she wants to marry, where she wants to live, the type of school she wants to go, type of profession she wants to partake in, and lots more, should all have the girl’s consent before acting on each and every of aforementioned instances. Considering these are very critical decisions in a life of a girl, these decisions must be considered and her voice must also be considered in making any decision about any of these in her life. Therefore, It’s not only about given her the opportunity to air her voice or to say it, but she should be given an environment where she might not feel shy or have any constrain due to the presence of any individual or figure, in order not compromise but to voice out her views and opinions on any decision to be taken about her life.
Once all the aforementioned and acted upon without hindrance to any of the above, it can be assumed that a girl is actually given a voice, but cannot be concluded that she is totally given a voice until all those her opinions are seen as very important and considered in making any decision about her life. In terms of giving women voice, unlike the girl’s voice, it’s not just about considering her opinions but in this case the final decision should be from the woman; meaning she should be allowed to carry out the final decision about anything in her life. Even though before making any decision, it’s a good norm one gets advice from others, so as not to regret the consequences of the latter actions, still that should be her call, she can decide from whom to seek such advices from, she can decide to get such from her husband, her children, her relatives or her friends, it’s up to her. What a woman really wants to do with her life should be her decisions and not someone else’s.
In conclusion, it is therefore very critical and important when considering giving women and girls voice and looking at issues like schooling, getting married, restriction of movement and lots more such as profession that a girl or a woman should take, it should be ensured that their opinions matters and also to be given that freedom to franchise their ability, there should not be restrictions to such things like; a particular profession should be for a woman or a man, but it should be on the basis of one’s ability be it man or a woman to engage in such a profession and deliver, irrespective of the gender.
NANA ROLE IN GIVING THE WOMEN AND GIRLS VOICE
Considering the importance of giving women and girls voice, Nana took it as a task which is of utmost important to the organization. Nana is contributing its quota in ensuring that women and girls voices are heard through some of its projects as captured below.
Adolescent Girls Initiative (AGI) founded by UNPA aimed at targeting teenage girls in primary schools is designed to ensure that young generation of girls value education and are trained to be key players in their community. The project is ensuring that teenage girls’ voice is heard through mentoring on leadership skills, communication skills, confidence building, financial savings and ways they can follow to prevent themselves from social vices such as sexual harassment and child abuse.
Another project implemented by NANA that is contributing towards given girls voice is Girls For Health (G4H), a Bill and Melinda Gates foundation funded project. Just like AGI, G4H is using mentorship in safe spaces to trained Secondary school girls on leadership skills, critical thinking, study skills, communication skills, confidence building and motivational talks among others to enable them succeed in their schooling and become female health workers.
In addition, it’s the establishment of the female mechanic workshop in sokoto state. It is an ongoing project which is aimed to train a female generation of auto-mechanic that will understand the working of high-tech vehicles of today in order to be able to handle repairs and services using modern tools and equipments. One of the mission of Nana female mechanic garage is to engage as many female, youths and old and even female engineers in our tertiary institutions into a profitable new business while also addressing the acute state of disarray in the service in the region and providing an enabling structure for more effective application of standardized skills and practices.. It is also designed and built around entrepreneurship, where beneficiaries at the end of the program will not only be given requisite knowledge and skills to provide basic service support but more importantly, will be provided with the unique opportunity of owing and independently running an auto mechanic service business or remain at the Nana garage where the beneficiary gets 80% of all her earnings at the garage. The training is expected to last for seven (7) to ten (10) months.