CSR-In-Action 9th SITEI Conference Targets Women Empowerment

Yemisi Izuora

Women empowerment in Nigeria’s Extractive Industry will be key focus during the 9th edition of the Sustainability in the Extractive Industries, SITEI Conference.

The event is being put together by the CSR-in-Action and its partners to discuss and proffer solutions to the increased risk and challenges that the sector poses for women and girls.

The Conference will consider how to implement turnkey strategies that will holistically address these risks through focused engagement, investment in community women, and the reduction of the barriers to women’s progress.

The annual Conference is slated for Tuesday, 10 November, 2020 and would be hosted virtually.

The Conference themed ‘Inclusive Communities, Inspired Women’, will feature hundreds of quality delegates and expert speakers from the industries, academia, civil society, community, government, and business who will jointly facilitate focused interactions that aim to foster community inclusion and gender considerations in resource dialogue and benefits, leading to sustained and enhanced fairness, transparency, accountability, gender equity, and actively inspired economic women participants in the sector.

Personalities who are expected to headline this year’s Conference include Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite, Hon. Minister, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development; Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, Senior Special Assistant to the President on the SDGs, Nigeria; Mr Bitrus Bako Nabasu, Perm Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources; Dr Yuliya Zabyelina, International Criminal Justice Professor and renowned extractives author; and Lara Smith, Managing Director and Founder, Core Consultants.

Speaking on the upcoming Conference, Bekeme Masade, Chief Executive, CSR-in-Action, stated that ‘’Incisive conversations with key stakeholders of the industries show that the change in the environment, different access to employment, disproportionate involvement in decision-making and disruptions of established social patterns – which lead to inaccessibility to land and increased vulnerability –  are all caused by the industries and have had a detrimental effect on women’s progress. SITEI 2020 Conference and subsequent activities of the initiative funded by Ford Foundation, will address these anomalies head on!’’

To address the challenges of women inclusion in resource dialogue and benefits, Chairman of the SITEI Committee, Meka Olowola, noted that while the extractive industries hold promises for host communities’ progress, they pose more risk than opportunity for women and girls, especially during this COVID-19 pandemic, with increased risk for gender-based violence.

He further stated that ‘’The intention, through this year’s Conference, is to tactfully question and reverse norms that have culturally and systematically hampered women’s progress, with special focus on equity, inclusion, justice and gender-based violence in host communities in West Africa, by using existing socio-cultural networks that cater to the specific needs of women, partly through the adoption of the Community Engagement Standards (CES), which advocates 30% women representation in decision-making.’’

In 2019, CSR-in-Action partnered Global Rights Nigeria to create the Community and Human Rights (CAHR) Awards, a platform to mainstream discussions on human rights, social justice and other community inclusion issues; encourage the entrenchment of human rights practices within corporate organisations; and reward individuals and corporate entities who have proven themselves worthy.

The 2020 CAHR Awards will run alongside the SITEI 2020 Conference.

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