SAVI

Gender reform, Kaduna State

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The State Government is working with the civil society Gender Working Group as a trusted partner

December 2013

The SAVI-supported Gender Working Group, made up of strong state-based women’s organisations with community level outreach, has established a very effective working relationship with the Kaduna State Government, mainstreaming gender into health, education, water and agriculture sector strategies, driving and shaping the state’s ability to meet the needs of women.

Background

When the SAVI programme started in Kaduna State in 2008, there were a number of established CSOs working on gender issues, many with community level outreach. Kaduna-based women’s organisations had been instrumental in shaping the first national Gender Policy in Nigeria – but their engagement in policy advocacy with the state government had been less effective. There was a general atmosphere of mutual distrust between CS groups and the state government, with most Government ministries regarding CS groups as antagonistic and unproductive.

SAVI was one of a suite of DFID-funded ‘State Led Programmes’ (SLPs) that started in Kaduna State at the same time to promote governance reform and improved service delivery. SAVI and SPARC were respectively supporting demand and supply-side governance reform, and PATHS2 and ESSPIN health and education. In 2009, with support from SPARC, the Kaduna State Government introduced Medium Term Sector Strategy (MTSS) planning processes – and all SLPs recognised the potential for these to support more effective working relationships between citizens and the government.

Gender Working Group

The SAVI team in Kaduna brought together the Gender Working Group (GWG), uniting in a structured coalition for the first time all of the strong women and children focused organisations in Kaduna State. The incentive for working together was not financial gain – SAVI was not providing a grant – but what partners could achieve collectively, building on their complementary skills, knowledge and networks. SAVI supported GWG through brokering relationships, and providing behind-the-scenes mentoring and technical support on knowledge and skills members themselves prioritised. SAVI’s sister programmes facilitated working relationships with government staff.

The starting point for GWG engagement with the Kaduna State Government was members’ involvement in bringing gender issues into discussion of the Education MTSS in 2009. GWG conducted a gender analysis of the government education sector policy, and used their findings to shape advocacy and engagement in the MTSS process, including providing training in gender mainstreaming to members of the Government MTSS planning team. GWG developed a list of key issues which they successfully lobbied the sectoral planning committee to into the MTSS, which was thereafter endorsed by the State Governor.

GWG members’ ability to present themselves with high capability and competence on the issues, and their non-confrontational approach, led, in 2010 and 2011, to the Government extending their involvement to planning and budgeting in the health sector. In 2012, the State Government MTSS Guidance Manual stipulated the involvement of CS groups in all MTSS policymaking, planning and budgeting processes, specifically highlighting the role of GWG. GWG expanded its involvement to the agriculture and water sectors.

Analysis 

The GWG – a coalition of local strong women’s organisations – is working with the Kaduna State Government in a way that is embedded and ongoing, driving and shaping the State’s ability and commitment to meet the needs of women in the state. Through behind-the-scenes mentoring, capacity building support and brokering working relationships, SAVI and the SLPs have helped to soften the relationship between government and GWG members – making GWG members more understanding of and less hostile to government, and government increasingly recognising GWG as bringing something useful and important to the table.

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The State Ministry of Women involves civil society groups in development of their first Strategic Plan

In January 2014, for the first time, the Kaduna State Ministry of Women’s Affairs developed a four-year Strategic Plan, encouraged and facilitated by the SAVI-supported Gender Working Group (GWG) – and it now plans to go on to develop an operational plan.

Background

When the SAVI programme started in Kaduna State in 2008, there were a number of established CSOs working on gender issues, many with community level outreach. Kaduna-based women’s organisations had been instrumental in shaping the first national Gender Policy in Nigeria – but their engagement in policy advocacy with the state government had been less effective. There was a general atmosphere of mutual distrust between CS groups and the state government, with most Government ministries regarding CS groups as antagonistic and unproductive.

SAVI was one of a suite of DFID-funded ‘State Led Programmes’ (SLPs) that started in Kaduna State at the same time to promote governance reform and improved service delivery. SAVI and SPARC were respectively supporting demand and supply-side governance reform, and PATHS2 and ESSPIN health and education. In 2009, with support from SPARC, the Kaduna State Government introduced Medium Term Sector Strategy (MTSS) planning processes – and all SLPs recognised the potential for these to support more effective working relationships between citizens and the government.)

Activities

The idea for developing a Strategic Plan arose from discussion between MoWA staff and some members of the GWG during the processes involved in developing the Kaduna State Development Plan, as GWG members demonstrated their credibility and value.

MoWA has suffered from being marginal in the state government. The process of developing the MoWA Strategic Plan engaged participants from the Ministries of Agriculture, Education, Health, Water Resources, Economic Planning, Information and Women’s Affairs in discussing gender and social inclusion in policy formulation and implementation in their sector.

Analysis

This process has succeeded in raising the profile of MoWA and gaining the attention of critical stakeholders in the government. It potentially increases MoWA’s potential to deliver improved services for women, children and people with disability in the state.

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The SAVI programme came to an end in April 2016. The same management team are now implementing the follow-up programme, the Engaged Citizens Pillar of the new DFID-funded Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL) programme in Nigeria, which started in May 2016. This programme will take a similar approach to SAVI, and this SAVI website will link to the PERL website as soon as it is established.