OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT OFFICE OF THE VICE PRESIDENT ADMINISTRATION AND FINANCE DEPARTMENT AGRICULTURE, ENVIRONMENT & WATER RESOURCES DEPARTMENT HUMAN DEVELOPMENT AND GENDER DEPARTMENT INFRASTRUCTURE DEPARTMENT MACRO-ECONOMIC POLICY DEPARTMENT POLITICAL AFFAIRS, PEACE & SECURITY DEPARTMENT TRADE, CUSTOMS, INDUSTRY & FREE MOVEMENT DEPARTMENT

HUMAN DEVELOPMENT AND GENDER DEPARTMENT

Dr. fatima Diaw Sow
Commissionner

 
Gender, Youth, CSO, Employment, Drug Control Directorate

HUMAN DEVELOPMENT AND GENDER COMMISSION

Brief description 

 

The Department of Gender Development, Youth/Sports, Civil Society, Employment and Drug Control was one of the two newly created departments from the former department of Human Development.

 

PROGRAMMES OF THE DEPARTMENT

 

Gender Development Programme

 

Gender mainstreaming, a crosscutting issue has taken a global thrust and is now at the centre of all developmental issues and agenda. ECOWAS is consistently conscious of women’s economic empowerment as key to development and has thus repositioned gender issues for injection into its frameworks and initiatives.

 

The ECOWAS Gender Policy development process embarked upon since 2000 took a historic turn in 2003, with the finalization of the draft Gender policy document.  At the January 2003 Summit in Dakar, the Authority approved the establishment of a Gender Technical Commission a Gender Division within the Executive Secretariat, and the transformation of WAWA into ECOWAS Gender Development Centre.  These unprecedented decisions established ECOWAS as a leader in gender matters and provided the necessary structures and frameworks for Gender mainstreaming.  Furthermore, the meeting of the Council of Ministers held in July 2004 strengthened the gender programme, by adopting the Gender policy document, the administrative structure of the ECOWAS Gender Development Centre, a Strategic Plan framework and guidelines on the structures and mechanisms of the Gender Management Systems (GMS) for ECOWAS.  The result of these processes has placed ECOWAS on a solid pedestal for the effective mainstreaming of gender issues in the region.

 

Objectives

 

-          To mobilize women and empower them to be active participants in the regional integration process;

-          To mainstream Gender in ECOWAS institutions and member States;

-          To develop networks and partnership with relevant agencies for technical and financial support for ECOWAS Gender mainstreaming programme.

 

Justification

-          Article 63 of ECOWAS Revised Treaty on women and Development;

-          Recommendation of the meeting of Ministers of Women Affairs of ECOWAS Member States held in Abuja, 9th December, 2002;

-          Decision A/DEC.16/01.3 relating to the transformation of the West African Women Association (WAWA) into the ECOWAS Gender Development Centre;

-          Decision A/DEC.7/12/03 on the establishment of an ECOWAS Technical Commission to address issue relating to Gender Equality.

 

-          Regulation C/REG.14/12/03 on the establishment of a Unit for Gender Child and Youth matters within the Human Development Department of the Executive Secretariat of ECOWAS.

 

Contact Persons in member states:

-          Minister of Women Affairs

 

Key Current Activities 2008

 

Activity  I

Development of Regional Policy and Advocacy on Sexual Harassment (an aspect of Gender-based Violence) in the Working Place and Educational Institutions.

 

Preamble:

One of the critical areas of concern in the Beijing Platform for Action is how to address the issue of Violence against women. According to Beijing Platform for Action, paragraph 112:

 

In all societies, to a greater or lesser degree, women and girls are subjected to physical, sexual and psychological abuse that cuts across lines of income, class and culture…. Violence against women both violates and impairs or nullifies the enjoyment by women of their human rights and fundamental freedoms.

 

There is abundant evidence of Gender differentials in the experience of violence within the family, in the general community, as perpetrated and condoned by the state, during peace and in war times. Even during peace period women of all socio-economic classes are still confronted with various degrees of violence such as domestic violence. In essence the violence women suffer during wars is an extreme manifestation of the discrimination and abuse women face in peacetime and the unequal power relations between men and women in most societies.  In peacetime such attitudes contribute to the widespread acceptance of domestic violence, rape and other forms of sexual abuse against women. During conflicts and wars these habitual attitudes and abuses take on new dimensions and distinctive patterns and all forms of violence increase including rape and other forms of sexual violence against women.

 

Gender-based Violence limits women's possibilities for independence, the exercise of their human rights and it does not only undermine women's security at home but also their overall self-development. The issues involved in Gender-based Violence affect the rights of the women, the rights of the girl-child, the rights to health and the rights to development. It also has a significant impact on reproductive health in terms of maternal morbidity and mortality, the physical and mental well-being of women.

 

Sexual harassment is an important aspect of Gender-based Violence. The United Nations development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) defines sexual harassment as an unwelcome or unwanted verbal, non-verbal; physical or visual conduct based on sex or of a sexual nature; the acceptance or rejection of which affects an individual’s activities”. Most victims of sexual harassment are women and girls.

 

The objectives of the Regional Policy and advocacy strategies are:

-To do a situational analysis of the issues involved in member states;

-To harmonise relevant policies and laws in member states; and

-To engage all stakeholders in proposing appropriate advocacy strategies.

 

YOUTH PROGAMME

 

The youth of every nation constitute a force that cannot be ignored.  They occupy the productive age and thus must be mobilized to achieve the much desired progress and development.  ECOWAS is unequivocally committed to harnessing the potentials of its youth in its integration drive.  This was the primary motive behind the organisation of the First ECOWAS Youth Forum held from 10th - 16th August 2003, Abuja, Nigeria.  The forum provided Youths drawn from West Africa and other Regional Economic Communities, an opportunity to dialogue, interact, share experiences and learn lessons that would develop their capacities as they yearn to contribute effectively to the economic, social and cultural integration of the region.

 

It was an event all participants and observers agreed was an indispensable platform that could impact positively on Youth in the region, in asserting their role as major stakeholders in development and progress.

 

In expressing their gratitude to ECOWAS for the foresight of organising the forum, in the final communiqué read at the end of the meeting, the Youth recommended that it should be made an Annual event to be rotated among Member States.

 

The ECOWAS authority also created a Youth Centre currently based in Burkina-Faso.

 

Objectives

To mobilise youth to contribute effectively to economic, social and cultural development and integration of the region.

 

Justification

i)                    Recommendation A/REC.1/5/83 on the mobilisation of the various sections of the population in the integration process;

ii)                   Article 6, on  Social Affairs of the Revised Treaty, which provides for the promotion of Women and Youth organisations and professional associations as a means of ensuring mass involvement in the activities of the Community;

iii)                 Abuja Youth Development and Empowerment Strategy Communiqué adopted by Youths to the First ECOWAS Youth Forum, 10-16 August, 2003;

 

Key Activities 2008 

 

Publication and wide dissemination of the Policy and Strategic Plan of Action (2 documents) in French and English

 

Implementation of the various recommendations from the Youth Forum, meetings of the ECOWAS National Directors of Youth and Conference of Ministers of Youth and Sports.

 

 

 

 

 

CHILD DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME

 

ECOWAS Child development programme is devoted to the improvement of the quality of lives of children, enhance their dignity, protect their inalienable rights, giving attention to their physical, mental, moral and spiritual development and welfare. Early childhood development activities, including appropriate low cost family and community-based intervention is seen as indispensable to the progressive future development of the Child of the region.

 

Objectives

 

               I.      To facilitate the development, welfare and rights of children in the region.

             II.      To develop programmes that would promote the welfare and rights of children

            III.      To ensure Member States adherence to the Convention on the Rights of the Child

          IV.      To strengthen the capacities of Social Services providers and other child care agencies for the greater development, protection and care of children.

 

Justification

 

-          Recommendation A/REC.1/5/83 on the mobilisation of the various sections of the population in the integration process;

-          UN Convention on the Rights of the Child - 1989;

-          African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child – 1990;

-          Accra Declaration on war-affected Children in West Africa – 2000.

-          Dakar Declaration on Decade of Child with ECOWAS - 2001

 

Key Activities 2008

 

§         Publication and wide dissemination of the Policy and Strategic Plan of Action (2 documents);

§         Development of Flagship Projects on Child Development;

 

 

THE ECOWAS YOUTH AND SPORTS DEVELOPMENT CENTRE:

 

The Twenty-eighth session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) held in Accra on 19th January 2005, took the Decision (A/DEC/13/01/05) to transform the Conference of Ministers of Youth and Sports to the ECOWAS Youth and Sports Development Centre.

 

ECOWAS Youth and Sports Development Centre is a specialized institution of the Economic Community of West African States charged with the responsibility for Youth and Sports Development in the West-African sub-region.  The Centre is to initiate, develop, coordinate, monitor and implement Programmes concerning youths and sports development within the Community.

 

 

 

 

Objectives of the Centre:

-          To encourage young’s people’s initiative, enterprise and creativity so that they may take an active role in the ECOWAS community.

-          To address current and emerging youth problems in the sub-region.

-          To promote youth social-professional and economic integration

-          To promote, initiate and encourage sporting activities in the community.

-          To research and address gender-specific youth discriminations in the Community

-          To establish partnerships and cooperation with relevant organizations in member states, and at the regional and international levels.

-          To reinforce cooperation in the field of youth and sports by fostering the exchange of best practices, training and the development of innovative actions at the Community level.

 

 

ECOWAS GENDER AND DEVELOPMENT CENTRE

 

At the January 2003 Summit in Dakar, the Authority approved the establishment of a Gender Technical Commission a Gender Division within the Executive Secretariat, and the transformation of WAWA into ECOWAS Gender Development Centre. 

 

Objectives of the Centre

 

  • Work with Member States to implement the Gender Policy and Strategic Plan
  • Research into gender issues
  • Work with Member States to collect, collate and analyse sex-disaggregated data
  • Conduct sensitisation, training and capacity building in Member States
  • Perform an advocacy role
  • Network and form partnerships with Civil Society
  • To disseminate information through various media including a news letter

 

 

Drug Control and Civil Society Organisations [CSO].

 

  • Develops policies and strategies that address drug control issues within the region.

 

  • Coordinates drug control and civil society activities in member states and generate balanced projects and programmes which are responsive to the socio – economic needs of member states and the region as a whole.

 

  • Assists in building and sustaining collaboration with regional economic communities, development partners and donor agencies to support national and regional initiatives to strengthen drug control and civil society issues through strategic advocacy and capacity building strategies.

 

Key Activities for 2008

 

  • Sensitization and capacity building workshop for Civil Society organizations and forum of associations recognized by ECOWAS (FARE)

 

  • Meeting of coordinators of national inter-ministerial drug control committee.

 

  • Regional meeting of ministers and experts from member states to adopt the new regional plan of action against drug trafficking and money laundering.

 

Objectives of activities for 2008

 

  • To sensitize civil society organizations on issues affecting the region in governance, agriculture and food security, trade and commerce and other related issues and to assist build their capacities to access available funds and other developmental instruments.

 

  • Formulate and adopt a new regional plan of action to combat drug trafficking and money laundering.

 

 

Dr. Sinitiki Tarfa UGBE
Director

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