- A cross-section of participants at the workshop
By Anthony Nwachukwu
In its drive for gender equality in budget and planning in order to advance sexual and reproductive health, as well as the rights of women and girls, the African Girls Empowerment Network has held a gender-responsive budgeting workshop for key budget officers of Cross River State.
The workshop focused on the various aspects of gender budgeting to capture women and girls, men and boys, and able and disabled needs in state’s public financial management.
Participants included the Special Adviser to the Governor on Budget, Oku Ita, Director of Budget, Mr. Sylvanus Edet, and other key budget officers from the state Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs.
With case studies from other countries and states of the federation, experts at the workshop, Elvis Okolie, Ndodeye Bassey-Obongha, and Ayomide Ladipo, took the participants on the principles of gender-responsive budgeting, steps and guidelines, and the best practices.
They listed a good budget as participatory, having defined timeframe, realistic, inclusive, transparent and accountable, stressing that sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls should be prioritised in the budget as essential building blocks to achieving gender equality.
President of AGE Network, Mrs. Blessing Michael, commended participants, state and non-state collaborators, including the African Women Development Fund, Global Fund for women, BudgIT Foundation Lagos, and the Cross River State Ministry of Budget and Planning for their support.
Michael, represented by the state coordinator, Mrs. Eucharia Abua, also urged the state to prioritise women and girls’ sexual and reproductive health needs in the 2022/2023 budget and medium-term expenditure framework, stating that “women sexual and reproductive health issue is inter-sectional.”
On their part, Special Adviser to the Governor on Budget, Ita, commended the organisers, for an enriching workshop. Meanwhile, the participants have called for periodic workshops for the state’s key budget officers to ensure easily understandable and analyzable budgets.
They also called for citizens’ engagement during budget planning and allocation, establishment of a gender budgeting unit at the state Ministry of Budget and Planning to ensure that the budgets of all MDAs are gender-responsive, and to prioritise women and girls’ sexual, reproductive health and rights in 2022/2023 budget.
Gender budgeting experts from civil societies, like the African Youth and Adolescent Network on Population and Development (Afri YAN), Health Education and Human Rights Advocacy Initiative (HEHRAI), BudgIT Foundation Lagos, and International Federation of Female Lawyers also attended.