On this International Women’s Day 2021, Accountability Lab Nigeria celebrates her women beneficiaries, mentors, board members and collaborators who have shown outstanding leadership ability, ingenuity, integrity, and drive to execute positive social change in their community. Since we began operations in Nigeria in 2017, we have been honoured to shine a light on these exceptional women through our tailored programmes, and in addition to that, pushed for women’s inclusion in governance, the workplace and ensured gender equality in our activities as an organization.
The objective of our Integrity Icon campaign is to name and fame honest government officials making a positive impact in the civil service, with a view to building strong institutions by creating networks, behavioural change, personalising and institutionalising integrity. In our very first edition of the program in 2017, we discovered 4 women exemplifying these qualities: Dr. Nuzo Eziechi, whose work at the Bureau of Public Enterprise saw her become the People’s choice Icon of the year; Dr. Igbolo Magdalene, a seasoned lecturer at the University of Abuja and now Head of Department of Sociology; David Tubokenimi, a Physiotherapist at the State House Medical Centre in Abuja and Ogumelen Justina, who serves with the Federal Capital Territory, Agricultural Development Program.
Most recently in 2020, we discovered women icons in law enforcement, Abiola Jimoh, a divisional officer for the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps, is known for her integrity and compassion for 21 years of service, having once intercepted vandals trying to export stolen national assets to Benin Republic and refusing 5 million Naira in bribes to ensure that justice was served. Her fellow Icon of the same year, Fatima Yusuf, was voted people’s choice Icon for braving personal injury and ostracisation to ensure equitable distribution of healthcare materials in Kogi state. In the same year, we also celebrated Oyeronke Suebat Izobo, who denied rogue agents use of her hospital department for propaganda.
Other female icons we have celebrated in this campaign include investigative journalist Bukola Adewunmi, School Teacher Kacheilom Betram Roberts-Ndukwe, NAFDAC Assistant Director Tani Nimlan, and University of Jos Lecturer Tina Iirmdu. The Integrity Icon campaign is supported by the Macarthur Foundation, Luminate group, and Ford Foundation.
In 2020, we dedicated our 3-year-old campaign to using music as a tool to promote accountability and create awareness for youth inclusion in the Nigerian society; advocating for an end to violence against women and pushing for women inclusion in governance and the workplace. In the same year, we held a first-ever women’s rights concert themed “For HER” in which the Federal Minister for women affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, made an appearance as special guest speaker. The women’s rights themed edition saw our top 10 finalists creating different genres of music on women’s rights issues with a special focus on inclusion and equality, culminating in the “For HER” album. Top Finalist Keizy Sugarh, would deliver her impactful songs on women’s rights to bodily autonomy, titled “Diamond” and “Body na property”
A finalist from the first edition of our Voice2Rep campaign, Chioma “Cill” Ogbonna, emerged the inaugural winner of the Accountability Music Awards and finalist at the IACC’s fair play music awards. The voice2rep campaign is supported by the Embassy of the Netherlands and Luminate group.
With our incubator campaign, we support young change-makers (called Accountapreneurs) with viable bottom-top ideas for achieving accountability and social development. A beneficiary of the inaugural Accountability Incubator, Funke Adeoye has seen great achievements in her initiative, Hope behind bars Africa, including a partnership with the German Embassy for the Ankara Face project, to engage and develop the skills of incarcerated women. Funke is one of many changemakers discovered through the Canadian Embassy supported SDG16 Innovation Challenge where we train young people and field their ideas on improving access to justice and stronger institutions. Other women that have won this challenge include Obode Anne and Odunsi Shekinah.
Other ways we are seeking inclusion for women is through our CivActs project – building Inclusion into governance and decision making processes, through the Open Government Partnership (OGP) in Nigeria. Through this project we seek proper representation for marginalized communities, more particularly women, youths, and people with disabilities. The project is supported by Voice. We had our first-ever all-women film fellowship in 2020 where we trained and engaged young budding women filmmakers to make short documentaries for highlighting our work around inclusion and promoting integrity in the public service.
Accountability Lab Nigeria
At our workplace, we are intentional with our staff male to female gender ratio. Currently, we have 14 staff of which 4 make up our management team with equal gender representation at both ends. On our Board of Trustees, we have 2 men and 5 women and across all our projects we have ensured that we have equal gender representation or more women as beneficiaries.
So on this day, we join others around the world to applaud the contribution of women across the globe and we reiterate our commitment as an organisation to always support women and ensure equal gender representation as much as we can in all our projects and organisation’s operations. Lastly, we #ChooseToChallenge the Nigerian government to revisit the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill, improve access to financial services for women, enforce the Girl Child Rights Act, mandate Gender Inclusion in political positions (include 35% representation and active participation of Women in governance), and develop a Gender-Based Budgeting system. This way, we will make govHERnance work for women at all levels in Nigeria.
Happy International Women’s Day!