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Elect Her: Kicking Down Doors For Nigerian Women In Politics

The female-focused initiative is dedicated to empowering women in power.

Agender 35 cites that, “According to the Interparliamentary Union, Nigeria currently ranks 183 out of 193 on women’s representation across parliament at a dismal 4.1%. The 2019 general elections produced only eight female senators out of 109 and 11 female House of Representatives out of 360. The regressive trend in women’s political leadership in Nigeria presents dire consequences to policy design, implementation, and outcomes which invariably affects the overall health of the economy.”

As stated by Africa at LSE, women constitute about 49% of the Nigerian population, and almost one out of every four women in sub-Saharan Africa is Nigerian. Although this presents a high potential of human resources that can be channeled towards enhancing economic productivity; the divergence in social and economic opportunities between men and women has never been more apparent. Nigeria also has the lowest number of female parliamentarians in sub-Saharan Africa and currently ranks 133rd in the world for female political representation.”

ElectHER is a non-partisan women’s political advancement initiative by The Social Change Network “TSCN” Africa and Women in Leadership Advancement Network “WILAN”. It addresses the under-representation of women in elective office through behavioral change communications, skills development, human capital, and funding mobilization. ElectHER recognizes the need for an end-to-end ecosystem that will support female candidates to decide, run and win elections competitively.

ElectHer was co-founded by Ibijoke Faborode and Abosede George-Ogan. Ibijoke Farabode is the founder of The Social Change Network Africa, a non-profit organization focused on leading transformational change across Africa through gender advocacy leveraging the power of the bulging youth population, eliminating exclusion barriers, and encouraging democratic institutions to adopt practices of good governance. Abosede George-Okan is an experienced tri-sector leader with a demonstrated history of working in nonprofit, private, and public sectors. She is skilled in development communications, corporate social responsibility, and sustainability, she possesses over 14 years of development experience following a degree in political science/public administration and MSc focused in communication for innovation and development from the University of Reading. Abosede is currently the Director Strategy, Funding and Stakeholder Management at Lagos State Employment Trust Fund and started Women In Leadership Advancement Network (WILAN) to encourage more young women to get involved in the politics of Nigeria.

Following the announcement of their initiative and ushering in International Women’s Day ElectHer hosted their first art exhibition tagged “Obinrin” which was a celebration of womanhood and advocacy for an improved representation of women in our society while presenting like-minded individuals an opportunity to enjoy art, network, and engage in compelling discourse with fellow like minded individuals.

With women making up roughly 49 percent of Nigeria’s more than 180 million-strong population and a massive underrepresentation in legislative and governmental offices, ElectHer was founded in an attempt to level out the playing field for women. With how consistently the platform has stayed in line with their proposal for the advancement of Nigerian women in politics, they unveiled their Agender35 initiative. So we’ve created a list of six things you should know about them.

1) What is ElectHer’s mission?

ElectHER will engage women by encouraging them to decide, equipping them to run, and enabling them to win. With an end goal to impact society for inclusive and sustainable socio-economic growth. Their specific objectives include:

To advocate for the implementation of commitments and enabling policies that will promote the advancement of Nigerian women in politics.

To establish a platform for promoting constructive discussions with various stakeholders (electorate, political parties, media, etc.) around the issues currently hamstringing women in politics and how best to solve them.

To establish a series of non-partisan KYC (Know Your Candidate) platforms that will deepen aspirants' engagement online & offline with electorates.

2) What is Agender35?

Agender35 is a comprehensive non-partisan campaign by ElectHER with an ultimate goal to de-risk running for elective office and provide necessary social, human, and financial infrastructure that will ensure a crucial shift in women’s political leadership in Nigeria by 2023.

3) Financial Capacity

The first agenda from the Agender35 initiative is to increase financial capacity by raising $10 million, of which $2 million has been raised to empower 1000 women to DecideToRun, and directly fund 35 women to run for elective office by 2023.

4) Policy advocacy

By advocating, negotiating, and mediating dialogue through influential networks, opinion leaders (and ultimately, decision-makers) can comprise at least 35% of women’s representation quota in elective and appointive office.

5) Citizen Engagement

They plan to engage citizens by sensitizing them to the Agender35 initiative ahead of 2023 elections.

6) What to expect from ElectHer?

ElectHer promises to build a strong and committed volunteer network of technical experts to collaborate on various aspects of the aspirant's campaign. They are committed to delivering on their mandate to develop multidimensional empowerment models of capacity building to equip women with the requisite skills and knowledge to run for elective office competitively.

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