NDPI and PIND have been promoting gender equality in the Niger Delta region through their programs, projects and operations since their inception in 2010. To mark International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8, 2016, NDPI and PIND joined in the call for government leaders around the world to ensure women rapidly achieve parity with men in their nations' social, economic and political development.
WomenForumWomen attending the PIND Pledge For Parity Forum in Asaba, Nigeria on March 8, 2016 debated policies and exchanged information about how to rapidly achieve equal rights in business and society at large.PIND held a forum in Asaba, Nigeria to address the barriers that reduce the participation of women and youth along three value chain economic development programs: Aquaculture, Cassava and Palm Oil. The Forum fostered information sharing and empowerment.

The forum objectives were to:

  • Increase visibility.
  • Create awareness on differential needs and challenges of women and men in Agricultural Value Chain.
  • Increase knowledge and understanding of women farmers on issues affecting women’s full participation in Agricultural business and practical solutions.
  • Support cross sectoral dialogues among women in PIND’s three Value Chains and value chain actors to facilitate networking and collaboration among women farmers.

Forum participants included:
  • Women in Aquaculture from UUFFA, UPFFA and Camp 74 and CAFAN
  • Women in Poultry
  • Women in Palm Oil from Eziorsu and Umuagbo
  • Cassava Women in Imo
  • Cassava Women from Ubuluku
  • Edo Farmers Association
  • Ondo Cassava Rural Farmers (LAPDO)
  • Smallholder farmers working with PIND's MARKETS 2 program from Cross River state

Panel discussions and presentations included:
  • Access to loans: Johnson, Head of Agriculture Unit, Lift Above Poverty
  • Media support for women in Agriculture
  • Women’s Access to farming lands and inputs: Mrs. Deborah Nwosa, Special Assistant
  • Executive Secretary, Delta State Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development
  • Agency
  • Development organizations support for women in Agric. Value Chain: Mrs. Chibuzor
  • Oriuwa, Executive Director, Forward Africa, Owerri

Several distinguished women farmers shared their experiences:
  • Madam Roslyn Jaja, Palm Oil Merchant, Edo State
  • Josephine Acquaye-Ehoho, UUFFA General Secretary, Aquaculture Farmer
  • Biola Akindipe, Ondo State Cassava Women Association
  • Mrs. Olowoyeye Kehinde, Poultry Farmer Association, Warri

At the forum, the director of Women United for Economic Empowerment and Clement Isong Centre for Development Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Uyo, Dr. Etim Frank, issued the call for parity to government. In a paper titled, “Pledge for Parity Support Women in Agriculture in Nigeria," Frank, affirmed that: “the means to gender parity does not require a police officer to guide over us. It is instructive to note that, all first world societies defined as ‘developed countries,' are those that have pledged parity and have put it into practice. All third world are developing societies, which have not upheld women parity," Frank stated.

Frank also stressed the need for individuals to change the behavioral patterns in which they have been socialized to accommodate women on the basis of equality. He explained that the intention of this year’s forum theme, “Pledge for Parity,” is to push for a conscious effort to ensure fairness and equality for women seeking a livelihood and access to political decision-making structures, social and economic systems in local communities, and society at large.

“It is important to know that both men and women jointly formed the political and economic society that we live in today hence, they should equally have access to public and private good,” Frank said. “Gender parity, fairness, or equality would generate more productivity and it would mean more gender balanced leadership and better all round performance."

While quoting Ban Ki Moon, the UN Secretary General, Frank noted: “Until women and girl are liberated from poverty and injustice, all our goals for peace, security and sustainable development stand in jeopardy."