Women Greening Their Political Influence

Olanike
Posted March 28, 2019 from Nigeria

Women from our WISE Women’s Clean Cookstoves training programme are not resting their oars, as they remain determined to rewrite the socio-economic future of their peers. As clean cookstove entrepreneurs and ambassadors, they are becoming resolutely visible and making sure their voices are heard in important cycles, especially political spaces. In addition to carrying out educational outreaches , not a few of them have taken it upon themselves to bring the issue of women’s access to clean cooking energy to the front burner in their communities….They are pitching the issue of access to cleans energy vis a vis clean cookstoves advocacy and marketing efforts carried to the very doorsteps of the key decision makers in their communities- husbands,  traditional rulers, Local Government Chairmen, Political Office holders, and many others whom they know wield strong decision making influence within and beyond their communities. Their actions are no doubt having influence on Nigerian politics in many ways; and on this note, I cannot but highlight and celebrate the efforts of the following WWCCP’s trainees come clean cookstoves ambassadors:

Mrs. Tabitha Bako: Being a past and still very much an active and aspiring political officer holder, Tabitha was able to reach out to General Simon Katunku Gora (an aspirant seeking to become a Senator representing the Zango Kataf/Jaba Federal Constituency) and got him interested in the cookstove intervention she was championing in her communal sphere of influence. The candidate agreed to support Tabitha by purchasing 40 Happy Clean Cookstoves her. In July 2018, during a one day workshop on Security, Health, Education and Agricultural Skills Acquisition and Development in Southern Kaduna Nigeria (Zango Kataf/Jaba Federal Constituency), organized by Tabitha in collaboration General Simon and which brought together over 150 men and women together,  the 40 clean cookstoves purchased by General Simon were presented to 40 widows drawn from the ECWA Widow’s Training School, Samara Kataf, Zango Kataf LGA;

Binta Yahaya: Binta has no doubt positioned herself as a key player in the clean cookstove sector in Nigeria by continuously exploring and expanding her spheres of influence; as exemplified by who she has become today. Prior to participating in the WISE Women’s Clean Cooktoves Training Program (WWCCP), Binta came across as one who is very quiet, unassuming and shy. Well, I would say that portrayal could well be in her best now as Binta has become very visible and vocal in her community as she has unreservedly taken on the cause of educating women across her community in Saminaka (Lere Local Government Area), about the dangers associated with the traditional methods of cooking over open fires. She remains relentless in driving the adoption of ground-breaking alternatives clean cooking technology solutions she was exposed to during the 2017 WWCCP. Inspired by the apparent impact (health, safety, security, environmental, financial) of the clean cookstoves she introduced to women in her community, and the encouragement she received from her husband, Binta designed her own version of a clean cookstove. Hope beamed on her design when she participated in another training – the UNDP GEF Sustainable Fuelwood Management Project’s pilot 4-Day Gender Responsive Clean Cookstove training in Kaduna, which was hosted and facilitated by WISE on behalf of the Ennergy Commission of Nigeria and Centre for Gender Studies (University of Ife).  Binta was one of 10 ambassadors from the WWCCP who were brought onboard as participants and mentors. She had the privilege of showcasing her novel design during a session of the training and it caught the attention of Engineer Martins …….., the National Coordinator of the UNDP GEF SFM Project in Nigeria. Engineer Martins engaged Binta in a very engaging discussion and made a promise to her that her stove would be adopted for the second phase of the SFM Project. In the course of their discussion, Binta learned that the Steering Committee of the SFM project had been on the look out for a very strategic location for the  siting of a Clean Cookstove Demonstration Center in Kaduna State. Binta ended that ceaseless search as she took on the responsibility of speaking with the highly influential paramount ruler of her community (Saminaka, Lere Local Government Area) about the development. She succeeded in influencing the traditional ruler to donate a suitable and choice piece of land to the GEF UNDP project for the construction of the proposed Clean Cookstove Demonstration Center. This fete encouraged the project to support Binta to conduct a cookstove awareness outreach in Saminaka, which had over 120 members of the community (men, women, youth, representatives of the Local Government), including Sarkin Saminaka (the traditional ruler) and his council of title holders in attendance. Binta was also joined by Rifkatu Bawa Yakubu (one of her peers from the WWCCP), and together they mobilized and sensitized women in the community about their cookstove cause and intervention initiatives. They also selected 30 women as cookstoves sales agent and have so far sold  and distributed 232 clean cookstoves out of 300 Happy Cookstoves Binta took delivery of under the outreach she was tasked with. It is also worthy of note that Binta has become actively engaged with the Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cookstove, having come in contact with Precious Onuvae the Market Development Manager of the body whom she met and interacted with during her participation in the 2nd week of training of the pilot WWCCP. That relationship has blossomed as Binta stayed in touch with Precious who has now become one her foremost advisors; having also provided guidance to her on how to go about getting her stove tested by an approved testing center. On March 1st, I received the following chat message from Binta: “Good morning ma, my stove is tested and certified as they sent the result to me this morning. Thank you ma, for everything you have done for me”. Binta went on to forward the email she received from the testing center to me. My joy knew no bounds as I reviewed the 34 paged test result and accompanying photos. 

Assibi Hasaan: Assibi is an influential political activist, community mobilizer and change leader based in Sabon Gari, Zaria Local Government Area of Kaduna State. Since participating in the WWCCP, she has influenced many women in her community to make a shift from the traditional method of cooking with firewood and invention charcoal stoves, by introducing them to the clean cookstove products she had become aware of. Having identified that countless women and household in her community cannot afford the cost of even the cheapest cookstove product she deals in as a cookstove entrepreneur, she began exploring various financing options to help them overcome their financial setback. Assibi began identifying financially accomplished individuals and groups, including but not limited to political aspirants, political party she is affiliated with and multipurpose cooperatives to see a need to adopt cleancookstove as a campaign agenda, developmental intervention program/project, and or judicious aid that can be given to the needy to help alleviate their plight. She has succeeded in helping a good number of households benefit from the generosity of some of her political associates who gifted clean cookstoves to them through her. I am also in the know of a proposal she submitted to a political party for the branding of 1000 clean cookstoves to be distributed to indigent women across the political constituency she belongs to. The outcome of the proposal is being awaited with high hopes that it would see the light of day.

Bridget Joseph: Bridget is a member of one of the top-ranking political parties in Nigeria and she currently holds an important political position at the ward level. During the cause of one of her clean cookstove outreaches in her community, she was able to influence a rich relative of hers to purchase 15 clean cookstoves for all the women in their extended family circle.  Sometime last year, she also reached out to an incumbent legislator who gave her an assurance that he would purchase 100 Superver clean cookstove, which is one of the brands of clean stoves she was introduced to during the WWCCP and now currently promotes and sells among other brands. Though the promise has not materialized, she is not relenting in following up the opening.

To date, all the participants of the pilot WWCCP and the project team of WISE have continued to work together by individually and collaboratively exploring and leveraging political participation for the advancement of the cause of the WWCCP.  

Comments 20

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Jill Langhus
Mar 29, 2019
Mar 29, 2019

Hi Olanike,

How are you doing? Thanks so much for sharing this program. I'd never heard of it before, and, wow, what an impact this program is having on these women, and most likely the environment, too! You may want to consider submitting your impressive story for the current story awards, "Change starts with a story?" If so, this is the link:
https://www.worldpulse.com/en/voices-rising/story-awards/89833

Hope you're having a great day!

Olanike
Mar 29, 2019
Mar 29, 2019

Hello Jill! Thank you for making out time to read my piece and also encouraging me to submit it for the current story awards.

I have missed writing and reading stories here. For over a year running, life offline has been very demanding and I am gradually finding my way back online.

If you like, we could catch up and speak about my work and the movement I am building.

Fingers crossed!

Olanike ( Greengirl)

Jill Langhus
Mar 29, 2019
Mar 29, 2019

Hello dear:-)

You're welcome! I bet. It's great to have you back.

Sure! Send me a private message on your availability, and let's make it happen:-)

Have a great weekend!

Olanike
Apr 24
Apr 24

Let's catch up Jill! I am fully back onboard. Haha! Kindly accept my deepest apologies that I got inactive again. It was for unavoidable but very good reasons.

Trust you are doing well and keeping safe! Stay safe even as I look forward to working out a time for us to connect.

Jill Langhus
Apr 25
Apr 25

Sounds great! No worries, dear.

I hope you and everything is okay?

I'm doing well, thanks. You, too!

XX

Kirthi Jayakumar
Mar 29, 2019
Mar 29, 2019

Hiya Olanike!
What a powerful program! I'm so amazed to know about their impact - it's incredible!

Olanike
Apr 24
Apr 24

How have you been dear Kirthi?

As you may already be aware, I have been missing in action for quite a while. I am happy to be back on board and to find your encouraging comment. Thank you so much for your solidarity!

Stay safe!

Hugs,
Olanike

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Mar 30, 2019
Mar 30, 2019

Hello, Olanike,

Your post is a proof that empowered women help heal the environment. Thank you for doing little steps to ensure a better world. Congratulations on the success of this event!

Olanike
Apr 24
Apr 24

Dearest Karen,

You rock! I sure appreciate your thoughtful feedback. Kindly bear with me that I am just finding and responding to your comment. as you may already be aware, I haven't been active on social media for quite a while now. Well, I am happy to be back and delighted to reconnect with you here.

Sending my greenest love your way.

Hugs,
Olanike

Hello, dear sister,

I understand. I deactivated my FB account and just got back on World Pulse. Please do what you can for self-care. We all need it especially during this pandemic. :) I am happy you are back.

Jacqueline Namutaawe
Jul 05, 2019
Jul 05, 2019

Hey Olanike, thanks for sharing the initiative it is empowering and promising to know that women remain determined to rewrite the socio-economic future of their peers and luckily enough through your efforts. Keep it up.

Olanike
Apr 24
Apr 24

Thank you so much Jaqueline for you kind words, and apologies too that I am just finding and responding to your much welcomed feedback. I haven't been active on social media in a long while now. Glad to be back here and also have an opportunity to read from you. You are dearly appreciated and I am glad to connect with you.

Deepest gratitude,
Olanike

Myra Tambor
Feb 09
Feb 09

Such a wonderful program you have there! I hope to read a follow up story on this. Congratulations!

Olanike
Apr 24
Apr 24

So sorry Myra for my long silence, which was due to my being inactive on social media for a long while now. I am happy to be back onboard and excited to connect with you and know that you are interested in a follow up story. Please be assured that I would work on it.
Thank you loads!!!!

Olanike

Anita Shrestha
Feb 09
Feb 09

Dear Sis
Thank you for sharing. Please keep it continue

Olanike
Apr 24
Apr 24

Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. My reply is coming way after you reached out, but please do know that I grateful to you for reading my post.

Hoping that you are coping well in the face of the current global lock down, Take care!!!

lizzymark
Feb 13
Feb 13

Hi Nike,Weldon this women are really not relenting in their effort to be heard and you on the other side are a great motivation and push for them. And you could shear as Jill advice, thanks for shearing

Olanike
Apr 24
Apr 24

Thank you for reading and reaching out. It's been a long while now but do know that you are dearly appreciated for sharing your thoughts. Thank you too for echoing Jill's thoughts.

Best wishes!!!

Kabahenda
Feb 28
Feb 28

Hello Olanike,

I would like to congratulate you for this inspiring endeaour. Indeed, when committed women like you get engaged, you can move mountains!

The WWCCP is an initiative worth emulating and expanding to all the states of Nigeria and in other parts of Africa.

Thank you for your efforts. I look forward hearing more about your progress at the end of year. I wish you all the best, more courage, more empowerment to you and the women whose lives you are impacting in such a positive way.

Olanike
Apr 24
Apr 24

Thank you so much for sharing your highly empowering and motivating thoughts. I really appreciate you, notwithstanding the long delayed reply to your comment which was majorly because I became overwhelmingly busy on the ground; such that I barely had time for social media in general.

I am happy to update you that the WWCCP has continued to expand and the movemnt we are building has spread to additional states across the Southern, North western and North eastern parts of Nigeria. The demands of the expansion was one major reason that was responsible for the dormancy I experienced as regards social media engagements.

In the coming days, I hope to make out time post updates on the progress made thus far. You should see the latest post I shared.

I very much appreciate your very kind an encouraging words of affirmation encouragement; and wish you the very best in your endeavours too,.

Deepest gratitude,
Olanike