The route from advocacy to policy best practice may be both difficult and gratifying in the complicated tapestry of government, where ideals and objectives intertwine with the complexity of the real world. It is a revolutionary route that can remodel societies, uplift communities, and effect real change. Advocates can transcend the realms of mere rhetoric and start on a quest for transformative policies that resonate with the needs of people by digging deeply into the realms of strategy, collaboration, and foresight.
One best practice example in Nigeria, which resulted in a change in government policy, is the “Preparing Rural Nigerian Women to Take the Lead in Climate Change Adaptation” initiative. This initiative was coordinated by the Women Environmental Programme (WEP) in collaboration with other organizations, including the African Foundation for Environment and Climate Change (AFECC), the Federal Ministry of Environment, the National Planning Commission, and the States Ministries of Environment/Energy.
The Women Environmental Programme (WEP) is a non-governmental, non-profit, non-political, non-religious, and voluntary organization formed in April 1997 by women from different Nigerian backgrounds. WEP works to address gender injustices on issues relating to the environment and the economic and social rights of women and young people. Since 1997, WEP has directly and indirectly impacted over 20 million lives positively across the globe through interventions in Environment, Governance, Climate, and Energy.
The “Preparing Rural Nigerian Women to Take the Lead in Climate Change Adaptation” initiative engaged women and youth to manage drainage better while reclaiming abandoned land for farming. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) recognized the initiative as a Momentum for Change activity. The climate-related problem addressed was the need for better drainage management to adapt to climate change. The goal was to empower rural Nigerian women to take the lead in climate change adaptation, which was achieved through a substantial policy change. The policy change involved implementing a drainage management plan developed with the input of local communities. The goal was measured through the number of women and youth trained in drainage management and the amount of land reclaimed for farming. The initiative positively impacted 50,000 rural residents, including 32,500 women, in 13 villages. The project has resulted in the return of 20 abandoned areas to cultivation and a 75% increase in community farm yields. Women have been empowered to become leaders in climate change adaptation efforts.
In their efforts to achieve their climate goal, the Women Environmental Programme employed several strategies and processes, which include:
- Raising awareness: WEP raised awareness of the gendered impacts of climate change in rural Nigeria and supported women in political and economic empowerment.
- Advocating for natural resource management: WEP advocated for natural resource management, land rights, social infrastructure, the management of environmental conflicts, and the empowerment of women and youth.
- Interventions in environment, governance, climate, and energy: Since 1997, WEP has positively impacted over 20 million lives directly and indirectly across the globe through interventions in Environment, Governance, Climate, and Energy.
- Collaborating with other organizations: WEP collaborated with other organizations to coordinate initiatives such as “Preparing Rural Nigerian Women to Take the Lead in Climate Change Adaptation,” which engaged women and youth in better drainage management and reclaiming abandoned land for farming.
- Developing a National Action Plan on Gender and Climate Change: WEP collaborated with Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Environment to develop a National Action Plan on Gender and Climate Change. This plan serves as a roadmap for the government and private sector to integrate citizens’ knowledge, experience, needs, and concerns into national climate change initiatives.
This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Nigeria Country Manager Juwonlo Michael.