Some women and girls, supported by Connected Development (CODE), an NGO, on Friday developed checklists for monitoring government’s COVID-19 response, actions and policies in Kaduna State.
The checklists were developed at the end of a two-day training for the women and girls, on COVID-19 response and peace building process in the state.
The training, which held in Kaduna, and attended by more than 40 women and girls, was organised by CODE, with funding from UN Women under its Strengthening State Capacities and Women’s Participation in COVID-19 Response project.
The checklists covered Kaduna State COVID-19 responses, such as the lock-down actions and policies, non-economical actions taken by key ministries, departments and agencies, and economic actions and interventions.
One of the women, Mrs Martha Banki, told NAN that women were the most affected by the pandemic, stressing that more attention should be directed to women to participate in the response.
Banki expressed optimism that tracking the state’s response to the pandemic, would make women’s plight more visible and guide the government’s COVID-19 interventions to address their needs.
Another participant, Ms Jelilat Abidoye of Generation for Peace Nigeria, told NAN that tracking the state response would generate the needed data to show how many women participated in implementation of the interventions.
“This is crucial to showing the level of women participation in the response, and how sensitive they were to women’s needs,” she added.
CODE’s Senior Programme Manager, Mrs Lucy Abagi, explained that the project sought to build the capacity of women in the state, to participate in COVID-19 response and broaden their participation in peace-building initiatives.
“The project was specifically designed to strengthen the capacity of women and girls to lead advocacies, towards developing and monitoring of COVID-19 actions, policies, plans and budget.
“This will enable CODE to document learning of women-led COVID-19 responses in the state.
“The training will, therefore, build the needed capacity for the women to track COVID-19 actions, policies, plans and budget, including government strategic plan, for economic recovery and future health resilience in Kaduna State.
“Using CODE Follow the Money Model, the project will promote women’s participation in the implementation of COVID-19 response strategy and peace-building initiatives in Kaduna State,” Abagi said.
She maintained that CODE, through its follow the money movement, had developed and strengthened the capacity of citizens, government and other stakeholders, to enhance community involvement, as well as influence government policies.
Also speaking, the NGO’s Communications Associate, Ms Adaora Okoye, pointed out that Kaduna State had activated COVID-19 Emergency Operation Centre (EOC), to coordinate all COVID-19 responses.
Okoye said that the EOC developed an Incident Action Plan with nine strategic pillars, namely coordination, surveillance, epidemiology, case management, infection prevention and control.
“Others include risk communication, logistics and supplies, laboratory, point of entry and research.
“Being among the most vulnerable section of the population, women need to be actively involved in all these actions and plans,” she said.
On her part, Hajiya Hafsat Baba, Commissioner for Human Services and Social Development, thanked CODE and the UN for building the capacity of women to actively participate in governance.
Baba, who was represented by her Special Assistant, Mr Haruna Alifa, said women participation in COVID-19 response would significantly improve the quality of government response.
She added that creating opportunity for women to share experiences and views on COVID-19 would help in defining the roles women would play if given the opportunity to participate.