From Esther Akaa, Lafia
One of the biggest issues facing the world in the 21st century is climate change. According to reports, women and children are the most affected in times of climate change crises. The Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s conclusions make it clear that those who are already marginalised and most vulnerable would be the ones who suffer the worst effects.
In the event of climate crisis, it is anticipated that the poor, particularly in emerging nations, will be disproportionately impacted and hence have the highest need for adaptation techniques. In industries reliant on natural resources, like agriculture, both men and women may be impacted. The effects of climate change on gender, however, vary. As a result of their proportionately greater dependence on threatened natural resources and their representation as the majority of the world’s poor, women are increasingly perceived as being more vulnerable to the effects of climate change than men. Men and women differ in their roles, duties, decision-making, access to land and natural resources, opportunities, and needs, though these traits are shared by both sexes.
The world celebrates the girl child every October 11. The theme for this year’s celebration of the international Day for the girl child is “Invest in Girls’ Rights: Our Leadership and our Wellbeing.” This is aimed at celebrating the girl-child as an important part of the society. The girl-child goes to school, helps with housework, works in factories, makes friends, cares for elder and younger family members and prepare themselves to take on the responsibilities of adulthood, among other multiple roles in the household, society and the economy.
In Nasarawa State, there is a call for the state government to domesticate the National Action Plan on Gender and Climate Change to address the challenges confronting women and girls in the state.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with the Executive Director, People with Special Needs (PwSN) Africa, Hadiza Ibrahim Attah said a lot can be done to protect the women and girls especially as they were the most affected in events of climate change.
According to her, girls are subjected to so much task that weigh heavy on their back yet are not given the opportunity to grow and thrive as they should compared to the male counterpart.
She said: “As the girl child grows, for some families, parental care and attention are often taking for granted, house hold chores and forced marriages, most often are used as an excuse to exempt the girl Child from getting an education and as she matures, the absence of parental care and good counseling on self hygiene, sex and drug education, her being focal about issues affecting her physical and mental state and seeking solutions early on leads to even bigger problems in the future.
“The solution begins in the home before the government and other stakeholders. parents need to be more enlightened to the sensitive needs of the girl child.
“In recent times, there has been an increase in flooding in which many houses have been submerged by flooding and unfortunately women , girls and the people living with disabilities are the most affected when the disaster occurs.
“The impacts of climate change which is caused by our actions and inactions have exposed women and girls to violence, sexual abuses which leads to some of our girls dropping out of school due to those abuses.
”The long term consequences of these issues are; unemployment, lack of inclusion in policy making processes of government among others.”
She, therefore called on the state government and other relevant stakeholders to ensure the domestication of action plan for the overall good of the state and country at large.
Also speaking, Environmental & Climate Change Officer, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Value Chain Development Programme in the state, Mr. Joseph Monday, said the effect of flooding, extreme weather condition and other climate change related issues have displaced many families from their residence, thereby impacting negatively on women and children.
Monday noted that a huge number of persons were displaced and currently taking shelter at the internally displaced Persons (IDPs) camps across the state, exposing women and girls to sexual abuse , child trafficking among others, calling on the state government to domesticate the National Action Plan on Gender and Climate Change to address the challenges facing women and girls.
He, however said that the government has implemented programmes aimed at supporting women with farm inputs, grants among others to enable them mitigate the effects of climate change.
“Farmers organisations in Nasarawa State have been supported with solar power bore holes, through the value change programme to reduce the scarcity of water.
“The programme has also encouraged the use of different variety of rice such as furrow 44, furrow 66 & cassava variety. The furrow 44 matures within 90-100days, while the new cassava variety matures 8-10 months,” he said.
Speaking on the possible ways to mitigate the effects of climate change, especially as it affects women and girls, he said ” treated mosquito net should be used & people should live in houses that are well ventilated since there is rise in temperature and sanitation and hygiene should be a priority.
“Women & girls should consider their personal hygiene such as clearing of grasses & drainage system and the government should also provide medical health care services to women & girls at affordable rates as well as regular check-up should be recommended.”
On her part, Director of Women Affairs at the Ministry, Matayashi Aselema said plans were already on the way to domesticate the action plan and solicited the support of the group to enable them succeed.
Aselema, however, stated that the state had not made any budgetary provisions for 2023 and urged collaboration from relevant stakeholders to domesticate the plan.
On his part, the Chief Social Welfare Officer (CSWO) of the Ministry, Ahmed Abubakar said the ministry in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology has trained women on how to mitigate the effects of climate change in their environment.