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News & Blogs2019-09-24T06:57:57+00:00
2302, 2020

Reflecting on My CCT Journey in Kebbi State

Participants gather at workshop on conditional cash transfers and reaching marginalized population September 18th and 19th, 2019 at Kamba Motel, Birnin Kebbi, Kebbi State By Nafisa Abubakar Zaki – Gender, Social Inclusion & Community Engagement Advisor – IHP Kebbi State, Nigeria The importance of girl-child education cannot be over emphasized. Yet, it is an issue in northern Nigeria. In Kebbi, for example, 26.1% of girls complete primary school as opposed to 35.9%; for secondary school its 12.9% and 24.4% respectively (MICS, 2011). One of the main objectives of conditional cash transfer programs as stated by UNICEF in 2018, is to promote girl-child education and to complement government’s effort in educating children. Cash transfer programs can help empower families and improve girls’ enrolment in schools (The Guardian, 2018). […]

1001, 2020

Reflection of my fall internship experience at WI-HER

By Clarissa Hilber Clarissa Hilber I interned for WI-HER in the fall of 2019, for two months. The internship has been a great way to expand my knowledge of the public health field and its relation to policy and law, which is my area of focus at university. I worked on the “Act to End NTDs | East Program”, which is led by RTI International and funded by USAID.  WI-HER’s role in the project is to lead gender equality and social integration as part of health strengthening.  In my role as an intern with WI-HER, I researched the issue of Female Genital Schistosomiasis (FGS) and the obstacles that women, girls, and marginalized populations face to access prevention and treatment services. […]

701, 2020

IHP, Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, UNICEF, and Sultan Collaborate to Protect Children in Sokoto State

By Aisha Ahmed, IHP Gender, Social Inclusion, and Community Engagement Advisor, Sokoto State, Nigeria and Morgan Mickle, Gender Specialist, WI-HER, LLC “The initial Child Rights Act was a document which did not include the wider community and as such, did not receive the necessary support it needed to be implemented. But now since the wider community is being involved, the policy will be done thoroughly to ensure that no one comes back to say he/she was not part of the process.” – The Sultan of Sokoto On November 20th, the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs (MOWACA), with support from the USAID-funded Integrated Health Program (IHP) and UNICEF, conducted a Child Protection Law Sensitization Meeting for 86 District Heads in Sokoto State. As part of activities, the MOWACA Commissioner provided an overview on the child protection law – passed at the Federal level – and stressed the importance of such a law domesticated in the State while the Permanent Secretary addressed potential religious implications. In his remarks, the Sultan of Sokoto highlighted the importance of children in the holy scriptures, the detriment of gender-based violence and the need to hold perpetrators accountable, and the critical inclusion of community members in political processes. According to the Sultan, voices from the community must play a central role and not only be considered, but also engaged and incorporated for policies to be successful. District Heads gather to discuss child protection issues at November 2019 Meeting.Photo Credit: Aisha Ahmed To further look at child protection issues and harmonize a way forward in the State, the Sultan of Sokoto asked that the draft child protection policy be printed and distributed to the 3 Senatorial Zones whereby the Waziri (second in command to the Sultan) should work with religious leaders to review the document, consolidate feedback, and present to him. During the Meeting, IHP tackled a key element of child protection – gender-based violence (GBV). In presence of the District Heads, the IHP Gender Advisor, in partnership with the MOWACA-supported gender-based violence technical working group, discussed GBV, types of cases reported in Sokoto, how GBV affects victims, and challenges related to reintegration into society including stigma and trauma. The Sensitization Meeting highlights collaborative efforts in the State and positive steps towards strengthening child protection in Sokoto. The USAID Integrated Health Program (IHP), led by Palladium, currently provides technical assistance to three States in Nigeria - Kebbi, Bauchi, and Sokoto - to strengthen health systems and improve access to and quality of RMNCH+NM and primary health care services. Expert gender integration and social inclusion partner, WI-HER, LLC, is proud to support this initiative and leads efforts that promote equitable services that reach the most marginalized populations while working to advance I

1112, 2019

Join WI-HER in supporting ILO C190

By Kelly Dale, Gender Specialist Yesterday was the last of the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, WI-HER calls on legislators and policy members to step up and fulfill their global commitments to prevent and adequately respond to violence. Step up with legal protections for women. Step up with laws that criminalize violence against women and children. We know that violence against women is an injustice and a breach of women’s basic rights. Yet in over 40 countries around the world, domestic violence is not against the law. Fortunately, as seen in the figure below, there has been a major increase in the establishment of national laws against various forms of violence over the last decade. But progress cannot happen fast enough. […]

512, 2019

Building Capacity for Research: Announcing WI-HER’s Desk Review Development Training

By: Maddison Hall When I joined WI-HER in the Fall of 2018, I had just returned to school as a Master of Public Health candidate in the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. I immediately began working on country-level desk reviews as part of the USAID ASSIST Project, and I continued to write and contribute to a variety of desk reviews spanning a range of topics during the year. I had undertaken research projects in my undergraduate studies and had gathered evidence to develop programs in my career before returning to school, but I had not ever completed a desk review. My mentors at WI-HER guided me through the process, providing feedback and support as I learned to identify appropriate resources and build the evidence I acquired into a cohesive written format. […]

2511, 2019

News/Press Release:  Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act Stakeholder Sensitization Meeting Success Ahead of 2019 16 Days Celebrations, Bauchi, Nigeria

November 22, 2019 By Helen John, IHP Gender, Social Inclusion, and Community Engagement Advisor, Bauchi State, Nigeria and Morgan Mickle, Gender Specialist, WI-HER, LLC Participants at VAPP Stakeholder Sensitization Meeting pose for group photograph. Photo Credit: Max Photos Sixty-three (63) Bauchi State lawyers, representatives Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs), traditional and religious leaders, NGO representatives, and members of the media joined the USAID-funded Integrated Health Program (IHP), lead gender partner WI-HER, LLC, and IKRA Foundation for Women and Youth Development on November 21, 2019 at the High Court Complex to discuss violence in the State and support the domestication of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act. The VAPP Act, passed by Nigeria’s National government in 2015, is an improvement on the penal and criminal code in relation to violence. It resulted from the need for protection of persons against the different forms of violence and applies to violence at home, in society, and in private and public spheres. Further, the VAPP Act expands definitions of violence to include acts against men and boys, and also provides protection for victims/survivors of violence and punishment for offenders. As part of IHP’s activities in Bauchi State – which contributes to State-level reductions in child and maternal morbidity and mortality – IHP works to strengthen State-level policies and practices. Strong collaboration with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, the Social Welfare Department and the Judiciary, and other actors contributed to pulling together Stakeholders to discuss the VAPP Act and the success of the Meeting. IHP Gender Advisor, Helen John, makes presentation at the VAPP sensitization meeting. Photo Credit: Max Photos More than 50% of Meeting participants were not aware of the VAPP Act prior to the gathering. With that, the Meeting provided the space to hear about violence trends in the State (which is on the rise!), examine ways in which violence influences health, understand the current legal landscape and reflect on its inclusiveness, and learn about the VAPP Act and discuss what can be done at State level. During the Meeting, Stakeholders provided the following recommendations to facilitate the domestication and passage of the VAPP Act: Involve different interest groups to ensure the VAPP Act takes different interests in Bauchi State into consideration. Publicize the VAPP Act through other means such as the media, traditional and religious leaders, and grassroot NGOs to understand the provisions of the Act so there is less resistance to laws that are made to protect them. Use data and evidence of cases of violence in the State in presentations to further drive home the need for the speedy passage of the Act by the legislators. Promote that the VAPP Act also consider the rehabilitation of offenders, not just victims. Collaborate with Hausa singers to publicize the VAPP Act through songs. A success is raising awareness of the VAPP Act, the Stakeholder’s Meeting is timely against the backdrop of the international-recognized 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign which runs from November 25 (International [...]

2511, 2019

The impact of shame

By: Kelly Dale, Gender Specialist Research on gender-based violence (GBV) during humanitarian crises, including intimate partner violence (IPV) and forced child marriage, often focuses on women. This research presents women as victims of war and displacement who need protecting from their male family members or foreign humanitarian aid workers.[i] It often presents men as patriarchal perpetuators of violence, and too often ignores the issues of male roles and masculinities all together. This narrative contributes to the demonization of men and marginalization of women. It strips women of their agency and does not allow for a deeper understanding of why men are more likely to perpetuate violence during conflict or following displacement. Globally, rates of GBV are higher in these contexts due to a range of factors, including trauma, poverty, stress, lower self-esteem, and early exposure to violence, which conflict and forced migration increase –be this from the crisis itself or the social and economic consequences–resulting in negative coping behaviors and a higher propensity for violence. This in part stems from perpetrators’ sense of insecurity, powerlessness, or shame due to inability to meet certain economic and social norms attributed to men.[ii] […]

2111, 2019

Monitoring and Measuring Social Accountability: What does inclusiveness look like?

Allison Annette Foster, Thumbiko Msiska, and Marleen Vellekoop.  November 20, 2019 Napoleão Bernardes, popular two-time mayor of Blumenau Brazil, opened the annual GPSA Forum 2019 this week. Speaking to a full house of global participants at the World Bank meeting hall, Mr. Bernades challenged social accountability advocates to see Social accountability as part of good governance. Social Accountability, he proposed, brings empathy into policy and creates the space for governments and civil society to meet around the same table.  This process enhances transparency and accountability, which enables governments improve the quality and accessibility of public services. Our group of practitioners and researchers are a part of a community of practice around SA that have been working together to achieve just that: an institutionalized system of social accountability that raises excluded voices to be heard by decision makers and to influence policies that improve services and advance equity. Our team of researchers[1] and development practitioners explore how  social accountability actually works. We are asking questions that will be important for sustainability, self-reliance and transparency: What does accountability look like in a sustainable context? How we will monitor progress, recognize gaps and opportunities for improvement, ensure inclusiveness, and measure success? What kind of indicators can capture or reflect and track inclusiveness, meaningful participation, and power shifts? In an interactive session on the first day of the Forum[2], our team shared our recent work to increase inclusion in health system decisions and health service improvements. Mr. Thumbiko Msiska of CARE|Malawi presented a case study of his experience in Malawi introducing social accountability through various approaches  and highlighted the successes and challenges faced as Malawi partners aim to scale SA practices. Marleen Vellekoop of Options and Allison Annette Foster of WI-HER, LLC shared recent works from Ligia Paina et al[3] and Adriana Martin-Hilber et al[4], and demonstrated an accountability framework that has been the basis of a monitoring tool that is currently being used to integrate monitoring into the accountability process. That framework is also being adapted to help governments assess their own state or national programs for effectiveness and inclusiveness. The session brought about a rich discussion with participants from DRC, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Malawi, USA, Cambodia, Indonesia, Senegal, Cameroon, Dominican Republic and other countries. All session participants agreed that monitoring progress in social accountability is difficult because accountability initiatives are often abstract and complex, existing of dynamic interactions between social actors. Nevertheless, monitoring and evaluating efforts to increase accountability are essential to better understand the effectiveness of accountability interventions.  In particular, discussions among representatives called for the following to improve inclusiveness in governance: As social accountability programs are institutionalized, there needs to be a sustained practice of bringing excluded voices to the center of decision making. More learning is needed on how the inclusion of marginalized groups is achieved. Although inclusion is the focus of social accountability interventions, our M&E practices are not always inclusive. Complex M&E tools and technologies can sometimes present barriers to SA intervention beneficiaries so that they are [...]

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