As the build-up to the 2023 General elections in Nigeria draws near, increased and improved awareness of the rights and responsibilities of voters has been highlighted, with more sensitization on the new electoral reforms and the benefits of young women and girls participating in decision-making.
This was made known at a Press conference held in Abuja on Thursday, 9th February to highlight the impact of the ABPIN Project, key development, and impact of social media management.
A Non-Governmental Organization Centre for Women Studies and Intervention (CWSI) as part of the effort to address female marginalization and apathy to electoral processes and governance engaged the media to deliberate on the Action for Better Female Participation in Elections in Nigeria (ABIPIN) project.
Speaking on the achievement of the Action for Better Female Participation project, Precious Uwubiti, CWSI Project Officer stated that the project is implemented in five communities of two Local Government Areas namely Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) Apo, Wumba, Pyakassa, Lugbe communities, and Gwagalada Local Government Area Dagiri community.
“The ABIPIN Project sought to Boost interest and increase young female participation and inclusion in the forthcoming elections, and mobilizing youths through active social media engagements and establishing female-led cohorts to promote the tenets of the project which is “Women exercising their power and voice by voting and supporting more women in politics”
According to her, to gain a momentous impact within a short period of time CWSI engaged various social media platforms.
CWSI planned and executed campaigns on social media through the hashtags #HerVotcHerVoice #RaisingHer Vote. This included training and engaging 14 influencers to develop social media content and promote online interactions on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
Conducting virtual engagements featuring young influencers on Twitter, Zoom, and Instagram Live targeted at reducing voter apathy amongst young girls and women, encouraging young girls and women to collect their PVCs and vote in the forthcoming elections, encouraging them to register in political parties and run for elective positions of leadership from the ward, local government, and the state level, the importance of being a part of decision making in Nigeria.
Hosting online competitions for youths to share messages on PVC collection, rights and responsibilities as a voter, and the benefits of young women and girls getting involved in decision-making and governance, among others.
As a result of our various activities 285 women and girls has collected their PVCs and the various media influencers have become not only stable consumers of news and political narratives but have also become sources of newsfeeds, trendy agenda framers concerning leadership, accountability, and good governance, the source of information on voting procedures, PVC collection centers, and updates from INEC. The online/virtual engagements have been able to reach over 15 million persons. As a result 100 persons (74 females and 6 males) registered for their PVCs.
As a result of voter education programs organized in AMAC and Kuje Area Council by the Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria and The Women Wing Association of the Christian Association of Nigeria, 200 women were reached with 60% of the women and girls pledging to vote in the forthcoming elections.
Despite the inefficiencies which have led to difficulties for youths in collecting their PVCs they are more determined than ever to participate in great numbers in the bid to get good governance. She added.
Giving an overview of CWSI Paschal Isogbe Esq. the CWSI program manager stated that the organization is 24 years old and has always encouraged inter-gender cooperation between both genders as women are often regarded as subordinates across politics.
“CWSI’s vision is to empower and liberate vulnerable women for a better world. The core value of CWSI is courage. It is a rural-focused NGO reaching those who are out of reach due to culture and values. In Cross River, we have been able to stop female genital mutilation in some rural areas due to so much awareness created.”
In her remarks, The programs officer of, the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD), Mrs. Omolola Memedu, stated that the agency is working in 39 countries and have been in Nigeria since the early 1960s working as a development arm of the Catholic Church with its head office domicile in England.
She said the agency focuses on the grassroots, promoting freedom of religion and belief, and is currently on peace-building programs in Benue State, working on governance and also with the rural community.
CAFOD will monitor the forthcoming election with international observers as such it is working and supporting women empowerment efforts to amplify the voice of women, especially on the CWSI Project. She further stated.