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CMMP Fellow, Elfredah Kevin-Alerechi, Nigerian journalist with Peoples Gazette at the Nigerian Pavilion in COP26

COP26: Nigerian women demand Feminist Justice fund

As world leaders gathered in Glasgow, Scotland, to discuss ways to tackle climate change, Nigerian women have lent their voices, demanding for  feminist fund. 

Globally, activists including youth representatives at COP26 are asking leaders to distribute funds to the grassroots to help reduce the impact of climate change.

The women on Friday at the Nigerian pavilion in Glasgow told Peoples Gazette that women are most vulnerable to climate crises yet their issues are hardly discussed.

Aisha Titi Kazeem, program manager of Centre for 21st Century Issues, a nonprofit organization advocating for funds to support women, said women have a lot of skills to mitigate climate change yet their issues are not being recognized despite being at the frontline of climate vulnerability and climate action.

Ms. Kazeem wants the Nigerian government and world leaders to fund women with skills to stop climate crises. "Here we are talking about the reflection we are doing at home, and women who have ideas to stop climate change are not being funded.

"During my speech, I spoke about the different skills women have yet no funds," she said, lamenting that some women had dreams of doing food businesses with solar panels but no support.

"Women want a solar cart that can be used as a mobile shop instead of walking miles to sell. It will create jobs. It is like a keke (local tricyle), carrying their product about but the solar panel will be used to cook, and we can produce it locally except [for] the solar panel which needs to be imported," she told The Gazette.

Kazeem however, urged leaders in various countries to build the capacity of women to understand climate finance and green climate projects, stating that most of the women are not educated to know how to access the fund.

"My call to the Nigerian government and world leaders is that women need this money to get to them in a way that it will be easy to access because most of these women are not educated, that is why we are here to speak for these women, and we have compiled their various initiatives.

"We want the money in climate finance and not that somebody will go and collect the money on behalf of these women yet nothing gets to them and they will be left alone," Kazeem added.

Climate activist, Renmicist Aboki, executive director of We Unite Foundation stated that women should be mainstreamed into the climate change conversation.

Aboki told The Gazette that women bear the brunt of climate change and as such, need to be considered on climate finance.

She explained that women's access to loans are tied to collateral as many banks would also request for collateral before the fund can be released. 

However, most villages like the north do not give land to women, so where would the collateral come from? she asked.

Aboki noted that research has shown that women pay 98% of the loans they take from the banks, so why are the banks asking for collateral when they know women are able to pay off their debts.

"Another issue women face is that they are excluded from the decision-making environment, if women are able to be there when viable decisions are being made, that will help to mainstream gender.

"And when there is no water, women bear the brunt, they walk miles and as a result some girls are raped, but when the woman is empowered financially, she will be able to come up with adaptation solutions," Aboki added. 

"My message to the Nigerian government is to congratulate them first as they are doing a good job, but they should fan  the flame and do better," Aboki said.

This story was originally published in the People's Gazette on November 6, 2021. It was produced as part of the 2021 Climate Change Media Partnership, a journalism fellowship organized by Internews' Earth Journalism Network and the Stanley Center for Peace and Security.

Banner image: CMMP Fellow, Elfredah Kevin-Alerechi at the Nigerian Pavilion in COP26 / Credit: Elfredah Kevin-Alerechi.