On March 7th, 2024, Kiitan Foundation hosted a thought-provoking stakeholders’ engagement forum at the WOCDIF event center in Osogbo to commemorate International Women’s Day. With the theme “Aspire Inclusion for Women and Girl Child in Contemporary Society,” the event aimed to shed light on the importance of women and girls in our societies and the role of stakeholders in fostering inclusion across various sectors.
The program kicked off promptly at 10:00 am with the registration of 25 participants representing a
diverse range of organizations, including the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Development, National Human Rights Commission, Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD), Network of NGOs in Osun State (NETNOS), National Council of Women Society (NCWS), Federation of Muslim Women of Nigeria (FOMWAN), and much more.

The State Program Manager opened the forum by emphasizing its purpose: not to advocate for
feminism as a means of competition with men, but to discuss ways in which both genders can
peacefully coexist in the workplace and how women can be better represented in various sectors.
She recognized the efforts of stakeholders in promoting equality but emphasized that more work is needed to fully empower women to speak up and be heard in public.

During the panel discussion, facilitator Adeola Falana posed questions on the concept of equality.
Mrs. Oluwayomi, Deputy Director of the Women’s Department from the Osun state ministry, highlighted the importance of providing equal opportunities to both men and women to promote development.
Student panelists echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the need for equal opportunities for boys and girls to foster development.
Mrs. Omotolani, chairperson for JONAPWD, identified discrimination, religious issues, and lack of education as barriers to equality. She stressed the need to inspire change starting from our families and close contacts. Volunteer Haleemah added that women already possess the strength they need to succeed and encouraged them to tap into it.

During a discussion on promoting equality, strategies such as mentoring and empowering the girl-child, advocating for gender initiatives, and promoting gender mainstreaming were discussed. Mr. Kumolu Gbenga from the National Human Rights Commission emphasized the importance of equal access to education, while Mr. Ebofin, the NETNOS president, stressed the importance of promoting equity alongside gender equality.

The panelists shared how they were using their positions to promote equality through various
methods such as counseling, collaborating with partners, providing capacity building, and working with security agencies to protect women’s safety and fight for the rights of the marginalized.
The program concluded with a call to action from the program manager, urging participants to strive for excellence and sign a commitment to support the fight against Female Genital Mutilation, Exclusion of Women from politics, and Gender-Based Violence (GBV). The event was fully sponsored by the founder and the board, with support from Easilot Multimedia Services for media coverage.

As participants enjoyed refreshments and took photographs, the forum left a lasting impression,
inspiring attendees to continue their efforts in promoting gender equality and inclusion in their
respective spheres of influence. Through collaboration and commitment, we can create a more inclusive and equitable society where women and girls can thrive.

Check out photos below:

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