BY FRANCIS OKOYE
At the official close-out of V2P projects in Anambra state, it was revealed how the V2P, voice to the people programme run by the JDPC in Anambra State together with partners like Christian AID, Development in practice, CRC, UkAid, SAVI has put to an end marginalization of women and communities in Anambra State, in the past 3 years.
The event which was held at Finotel Classy Hotel, Awka in Anambra State was graced by top government dignitaries including Prof. Solo Chwukwulobelu, the secretary to the Anambra State Government.
In a short panel session of about 8 panelist, who made reflection on achievements and way forward for V2P in Nigeria especially Anambra State, the panelists exposed to the Audience how V2P has put an end to marginalization of women and communities in the state.
One of the panelists, Mrs. Stella Okolo revealed that as a result of V2P in some communities, women are now members of the Igwe’s cabinet. In one community, she said women used to sit on the floor during meetings with men, but that has changed.
Another panelist, Hon. Chika Okoye said that they have formed a girl’s parliament and debated on early marriage as well as done mock parliament. She said that young girls in the state now have a whatsapp page, in which they discuss issues of interest to them.
Another panelist, Hon. Bestley Okoye, leader of a legislative council said that V2P has made those in government to know that they have to discuss with those they are leading. V2P helped in oversite function in the Local Government Areas and taught us what to do during such monitoring.
One of the most effective testimonies from a panelist was that of Dr Ojegbu Nathan, Director Ministry of Health in Anambra State who said that as a result of V2P, they conduct meeting of ministry with Doctors and other Health staff and as such they tell them needs of the hospitals and clinics and these are then easily met unlike before.
Dr Amanze Chukwu – Director, ministry of utilities, said that constant visit of V2P partners to public utility ministry led to inclusion of one of them into the integrated water resources management committee of the state.
Ide George Eze said that before arrival of V2P, they did not know that the people own Government projects ie market abandoned at Oba, V2P made us write to government –now Oba international market is being built. The World Bank water project that was abandoned, V2P help them, now it is working as government has acted on our demands in the same vein, Schools and Health Centers have been rehabilitated, and in Oba, they have caucus meeting with their reps in power.
In her report, madam olikeze said that as a government official, she learnt about town hall meeting through JDPC ,those in government know through it what communities want, communities walk into offices nowadays and ask questions. The charter of demand made communities to know rights. They don’t just embark on any project.
V2P has also ended widow’s marginalization in the state like taking widows properties after the death of their husband and ended exorbitant government rates and Levies in rural areas like Liquor tax.
CALL TO ACTION
Mr. Charles Usie, the country director of Christian AID made a call to action that if sponsorship is removed by DFID, V2P would continue. He said that V2P was now a way of life in Anambra State and that DFID would continue to sponsor V2P. “We are working in only 12 LGA’s we want to reach 21 LGA’s.
The secretary to the State Government, Por. Solo Chukwulobelu, thanked Christian AID for coming to help Anambra State with their own money. They supported a lot of CSO’s, they collect feedback and give to government telling government what is not going well, they helped in organizing the state economic summit?
The event featured Traditional Dance from Umuoba Anam women traditional dance and Ebenator Women Traditional Dance and a Drama by Jdpc Awka.
BY FRANCIS OKOYE