For a Safer Earth, Healthier Climate

IWD: SURGE Africa Creates Safe Community for Nigerian Women in Climate Space

By Ruth Tene Natsa, Abuja

Women in Climate have on Friday, March 8th convened a network of women advocates as part of activities to mark International Women’s Day in Abuja.

Spearheading the move, the founder/director of SURGE Africa, Nasreen Al-Amin stressed the need to create a safe space for women in the climate space.

According to her, the inspiration for the event was to create a community for young women committed to the climate space to network.

Nasril said “We wanted to create a space where young women can be able to convene as a community informally to allow members to open themselves to embrace new opportunities and collaboration so that women’s spaces can be enabled and women’s leadership can transpire.

She noted that women in the sector have been thriving in times of development initiatives, advocacy movements, etc, but can do more

” We also need spaces such as this to enable and support women for them to make progress in their work,” she said.

The director recalled that the inaugural forum was held in 2023 alongside the African Climate Summit in Nairobi, noting this was a stepping down for the Nigerian community.

She said the community along with her partners from other African countries will continue engaging by sharing timely opportunities on Programmes for women in the space and also continue to strategically engage each other as organizations and as well other women-led networks

Women in Climate is not an entity that wants to independently scale itself but draws from the strength of existing women-led entities such as Women in Africa, She Changes Climate etcetera.

She urged the government to create spaces where women can thrive and also open up opportunities where women-led initiatives can learn and thrive. She also urged women to get up and actively take up the spaces being presented.

Research and Outreach Consultant for SURGE Africa, Billy Hadejia we are into climate mitigation, adaptation, resilience, and awareness, particularly when it comes to advocacy and policy funding, climate change awareness, climate financing as well as energy transition practices 

Trying to see what we can do for Nigeria as well as Africa and the Diaspora so that Africa is welcome into the conversation of power when it comes to climate issues so as not to be left behind.

The event today was inspired by women coming together from the different spheres of climate activities, filmmakers, and photographers to come together and have a safe space for women to come, collaborate, network, encourage, build, and empower each other for the International Women’s Day and also as we advance because women are often made to speak but only to a certain extent, they can occupy space too but only to a certain extent.

They are only allowed some space to make society feel good yet we have a higher percentage of women and issues affecting women and women are in the best position to speak and decide for themselves.

Speaking on challenges of women in the climate space, she said having safe spaces to speak, having policies that speak to their issues, and having their issues taken to state, regional and even National levels remain the greatest problems women face. having someone who listens and takes up their issues and fights.

In the community today it is wonderful to see different women from different spheres of climate space coming and I hope we continue to take up the mantle, thrive take up more space, and continue to build into more meaningful, impactful, and innovative solutions for many more women.

Speaking to the women in celebration of International Women’s Day, Billy said to the women globally ” You Are worth It, we are worth every single thing that we want, we are worth every single thing we achieve, we are beautiful, we are brilliant, powerful and resourceful and resilient.

My most peculiar challenge has been taking up that space because coming from the core of the North, the biggest odds I faced were conservatism and the need to confirm what society thinks I should be.

I rebelled through all of that, without letting anyone limit me and thanks to God I had a wonderful support system and was able to pursue education to the Doctorate level. So I was able to defy the odds of what my culture thought I should be and I have been able to do that to define what I should do for myself.

Esther Aaron Nuhu, a Ph.D. student from Adamawa state who is working on the ‘The Politics of Global Climate Change Debate’ said she is focused on Nigeria’s foreign policy regarding climate change because she wants to know how Nigerian leaders make policies when they go out there.

A participant showed the artwork she had painted as part of activities to mark the day.

Achieving Net Zero by 2050, She said is very feasible, however, Nigeria has a lot of natural resources, such as crude oil.

“Imagine not having to explore that to the level where we develop our country the way the Global North has just because we want to achieve Net Zero Emissions. I know we can achieve that but I feel that we should have thought through that before adopting the policy” she said.

Young Esther, while responding to the challenges of achieving her academic height at such a young age said she had always wanted to achieve the highest level of her education before getting to 30 but unfortunately didn’t get to do that as she is already 29.

“I had wanted to get to the highest level of my education before getting married and begin advocacy, noting that as a woman getting married before such achievements could draw one back so that they do not get to achieve as much as they should”

Other activities that marked the event included individual paintings, sip, and greet as well as networking by participants

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