Mrs Adeyeye

We Engage Men In Addressing Female Issues At HUFFPED

Mrs. Adekemi Adeyeye is the Executive Director of the Humanity Family Foundation for Peace and Development (HUFFPED), a Non-Governmental Organisation that has a mandate for development of the grassroots people. Adeyeye, in this interview with DAYO EMMANUEL after an empowerment program held at Ikorodu for women in the grassroots, explained HUFFPED’s activities in the communities and how the organisation has been sensitising women in Ikorodu and environs on need to participate in the electoral process. The organisation also engaged grassroots women in vocational trainings for economic emancipation. Adeyeye however wants the government to address the rising rape cases and bring perpetrators to book. She also encourages women to support female candidates aspiring for elective positions so that female issues can be projected. Excerpts: 

The campaign for women and girls empowerment should be a continous thing. How is your organisation bracing up for the challenge?

We are talking about empowerment for women and girls, we have been in the race for a very long time and we have a lot of success stories about it. We have been using the citizens and association methodology which is really working for us and is teaching our women and girls the saving culture. We also use revolving loan which makes the little money we have to go round everybody and everybody becomes everybody’s monitor and the next person to receive the money already knows and it also curbs women’s excesses on spending money on things that are not really necessary. When you know that this money you have to revolve it and another person will still be using it to get off the poverty line. You know when you empower a woman you empower a nation and when you empower the woman, gender-base violence in the home will reduce because lack of fund cause a lot of rancor in the family. So when a woman has her own means of livelihood and can contribute her own quota to the family, she begins to have a voice unlike when she does not have anything to fall back on and she would be able to say no to anything she does not want because of her financial power and capability. And for us in HUFFPED we have been doing this in different communities in different states and we will continue to do it, God helping us. 

Women participation in politics is not commensurate with their population and available positions in leadership. How do you address this?

I agree with you that women representation is still unimpressive despite the awareness. You know the awareness is not an easy thing and behavioral change cannot be achieved overnight. So it is a continuous exercise, the awareness and the education and we need to let our women folk know the power and authority They can wield with their number and their voter’s card because the majority of voters are women so with that we have a say if we know how much power we can wield with it. So we will continue to do the awareness and the education. Yes we know we don’t have the financial muscle to compete with the men folk but it is just a matter of time, slowly but surely we will get there.

 In your work with women in the grassroots over the years, what can you say are the challenges?

Women through the decades, with women in the grassroots, some of the challenges we have had to face is their orientation, you know what has been instilled in them for so long. They have heard that a woman must take the second place, a woman must stay in the home and she cannot stand at pal with her husband. They have been told that women are seen and not heard. These have been thoroughly grounded in them. This is one of the challenges we have seen across the different locations. It is one of the greatest challenges we are facing, having to orientate them and to re-orientate them that they have a voice, that yes they are the only one that can fight their cause. That they are the only one that know where the shoe pinches and they are the only one that can address it because they are the ones that know where the shoe pinches. So I know with time and programing around girls, teaching them life skills, I know it is going to change.

 There have been many groups working on women and girls issues, don’t you think the issues are over-flogged and what is HUFFPED doing differently?

Yes there are a lot of groups working on women and girls issues but I want you to know it can never be over flogged. Everyday children are born, they grow up to become women, the older ones pass on. In different communities, in different states, there are different issues facing women and girls. We never can be too many and neither can the issues really finish. With the rate of Gender Based Violence against children are going, we cannot but talk about it. For us in HUFFPED, what we are doing is that we are including male involvements. So when you talk about these issues, the boys have a lot to say and the men have a lot to say. We get them involved, we can’t just talk about the issues without involving the male. Who are the perpetrators of rape? It’s the men. So we need to get their opinion for them to tell us how these things can be avoided and some of the things that lead to it. At HUFFPED we involve the men, that is what we do differently.

 You have been working in different communities in Nigeria, what is the yardstick to measure your effectiveness?

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Yes we have worked through the years in many communities across the country and one sure way of measuring what we do is the success stories and the sustainability of that project even after the life of that project. We make bold to say we have a lot to talk about and some of these activities are still ongoing even after the project has ran out. We ensure the community involvement, so that when the project runs out, the community takes over, these are ways to measure out effectiveness.

 Women participation in politics I is not commensurate with their population and available positions in leadership, how do you address this?

The issue of women’s participation not equivalent to their population and available space for women is a battle the women have been fighting for a long time and which we keep fighting. What we do differently like I mentioned earlier is that we have been involving the men. Some of these things cannot be achieved without the ‘he for she’. That is the menfolk should believe that the women should be where they should be, we need their support. It is not what the women can do alone. So we keep pushing till we get what we want, of course with the support of the men.

 Can you advise the government of the day on women and girls issues, talking about the problems you want solved?

One major issue facing the women is the issue of rape. It is escalating and I don’t know what triggers it but when few day old babies get raped and the numbers of pedophiles keep increasing, then I think the government needs to take a stand against these things and bring them to book, punish the perpetrators publicly and then train our girls in self defence. I allso say we continue to train our girls to be security conscious and be mindful of their environment. It is not just the girls, it is all of us to be very vigilant and to be our brothers’ keepers so that these things don’t keep escalating and the number don’t keep rising. Now they are not just raping these girls, they rape them and kill them just like the one that recently happened in Ilorin. It is very scary and very disturbing and I think the government should say a no to it and bring these culprits to book.

 Women have always talked about lack of financial muscles they don’t have when it comes to financing their political ambitions. Is it possible the women folk mobilise financial support to sponsor their candidates since they are more in the voting population according to you?

Yes the issue of financial muscles cannot be over emphasised when it comes to politics because what we do is more or less money politics in Nigeria. It is possible women folks mobilise to support a particular candidate among them which is one of the things that came up yesterday at the program that happened in Ikorodu. The women said they don’t mind sponsoring a female candidate and let her know why she is going there. It is a good idea that the women are beginning to nurse and I think women are already doing that.

 

Post Author: Dayo Emmanuel