The dRPC : 30 years of work in Women’s leadership in economic development

The dRPC has 30 years of experience working to strengthening women’s leadership role in the economy as a gender transformative strategy to shift gender norms and structures that contribute to gender inequality and impeding women’s survival and progress. Through a 3-prong strategy the dRPC works to empower women leaders and women’s associations to have representation, influence and decision-making power in platforms and bodies of the economy responsible for policy design; implementation; as well as units responsible for learning, research and evaluation.

The 6-prong strategy includes:

  1. Micro and Macroeconomic and policy research, budget analysis, policy analysis, and program evaluation
  2. Mapping and identification of women’s economic collectives and cooperative associations for engagement.
  3. Organizational capacity strengthening of women’s economic collectives and cooperatives developing program management, report writing, financial management, and compliance competencies for engagement.
  4. Technical capacity building of women’s economic collectives and cooperatives to design and conduct evidence-driven policy advocacy on economic policy.
  5. Convening multi-stakeholder forums, dialogues, and engagements on WEE with women’s collectives in the driver’s seat.

Some of our funders of  women’s leadership and economic development work

  • Ford Foundation, 2022-2025, Preventing Gender Based Violence through Women’s Economic Empowerment
  • ALIGN, ODI, UK, 2021-2023 study Gender Norms and the challenges of women as high level national appointees in Nigeria study
  • Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), 2021-2023, Partnership for Advancing Women in Economic Development
  • ID-Insight 2022, Support for research on women and labor force in Nigeria
  • MacArthur Foundation, 2002, CSO Capacity Building Program
  • Oxfam NOVIB, 2010 Capacity Building for Farmers Associations in Nigeria
  • Institute for International Education, IIE, 2002-2012, Leadership Development Mechanism for Gender and Reproductive Health

Some of our impact and achievements in the women’s leadership and economic development space

Research: The dRPC has produced 198 knowledge products on various aspects of women and economic development since 2021. Regarding our budget work for budget years, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024,  the dRPC works with women’s groups  to apply gender responsive budget techniques and methodologies to analyse annual budgets at national level and of 14 states to conduct, disseminate and support advocacy on the adequacy of WEE budget line items

Mapping and landscaping to identify high performing  women’s cooperatives: As an intermediary nonprofit supporting women’s cooperatives, the dRPC has developed methodologies and approaches for objective assessment and identification of active and high performing representative women’s groups.   In 2021, the dRPC designed and conducted a national baseline  landscaping and identification of WECs in at national and state levels.  In this participatory and consultative assessment, the dRPC conducted a national level landscaping using14 point inclusion criteria to identify high performing WECs working to advancing women’s economic empowerment at national and at  state levels. The mapping was updated in 2022 with over 150 WECs identified for capacity strengthening and project participation support over the life of the project

Mapping and landscaping the women economic leadership institutions, policies and enabling donor funded projects: Under the Gates funded PAWED project, the dRPC mapped and developed quarterly updates for dissemination to the Gates Gender Team on updates on the women’s economic leadership landscape including assessments of the World Bank funded Nigeria for Women Project and the Nigeria for Women Scale up Project

Technical capacity building of women’s cooperatives to conduct evidence driven advocacy: The dRPC has achieved remarkable success in achieving 70% increase in advocacy and communications capacity of 150 Women’s Economic Collectives at the national and state levels. In addition, 20 women-facing economic media platforms were equipped with data from our Issue Briefs to prioritize WEE in reporting

 Supporting WECs advocacy on women’s role in economic policy making: In 2.5 years, the dRPC Women’s Economic Collectives have conducted 133 evidence-based advocacies to 278 advocacy targets in the government to increase the salience of Women’s Economic Empowerment at national and state levels.  As a result of strengthening activities of the PAWED project WECs made public pronouncements; engaged policymakers through dialogue; mobilized constituencies of women’s CSOs; and convened advocacy visits to Commissioners and Ministers of Finance, Industry, and other related sectors. Public pronouncements of leaders of PAWED WECs are captured below:

Designing and conducting high level convenings on Women in economic development: Since 2021 the dRPC has designed and coordinated  20 high level convenings with policy makers, donor agencies, WECs, and the private sector where WECs were supported to take up leading roles. Convenings included the launch of the National WEE policy which the dRPC contributed to developing in 2022, the launch of the national M&E policy with a pilot on WEE in 2023; and most recently, on 31/1/2024, the dRPC coordinated a National Dialogue on Women in agriculture as a member of the National Gender Steering Committee of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture which reviewed the New National agricultural Blueprint

Support Women’s cooperatives to be active and leading members of government WEE platforms: Twelve of these Women’s Economic Collectives now serve on three technical working groups (The Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning Women’s Economic Empowerment Monitoring and Evaluation Technical Working Group, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security Women’s Economic Empowerment Steering Committee on Gender in Agriculture, and the SMEDAN Kano Technical Working Group on MSME) with the government.

dRPC membership on high level national  WEE policy making Committee: The dRPC was nominated as a high-level advisory committee (HLAC) member on Women’s Economic Empowerment and Gender in Nigeria, the highest advisory body for Women’s Economic Empowerment and Gender in Nigeria.

Some of our Recent Women’s leadership in economic development initiatives

  • The dRPC is providing Technical Assistance to the Senior Special Advisor to the President on Women and Development
  • The dRPC supported the second National Gender in Agriculture summit from Tuesday, 26th July, to Friday, 29th July 2022.
  • Engaged the current Federal Minister of Women Affairs to develop conceptual and programmatic linkages between Gender Based Violence and Women’s Economic Empowerment
  • The dRPC WECs conducted advocacy visits to the former Minister of Agriculture, Alh Mahmud Muhammed, and PS, Dr Ernest Umakhihe, to increase access to finance for Women Economic Collectives on July 22nd, 2022.
  • The dRPC supported the National Gender Steering Committee to attend the 2023 National Council on Women Affairs on 26th October 2023 in Calabar.
  • The dRPC supported the 3rd Gender in Agriculture summit in Lagos on 31st July 2023.
  • The dRPC organized a press conference to set the agenda for the new agriculture Minister, Sen. Abubakar Kyari, on October 6th, 2023.
  • The dRPC organized a session at the 67th UN Women’s General Assembly in Washington in April 2023.
  • The dRPC supported the zonal workshops for women in agriculture on climate change adaptation in Edo, Kano, and FCT in 2023.
  • The dRPC supported the annual National Gender Steering Committee webinar series on the implementation of the National Gender policy on 26th July 2023.
  • The dRPC supported the 2024 maiden National Gender in Agriculture Forum on the 31st of January 2024 in Abuja.

Our Women and Economic Development Team at the dRPC

Dr. Judith-Ann Walker is the leader of the WEE policy research and advocacy team at the dRPC.  She holds a master’s and Ph.D. in Development Studies from the International Institute of Social Studies, University of Erasmus, Rotterdam, Netherlands, where she specialized on women, education and industrial development. She is a Brooking Institute Scholar and past Brookings non-Resident Fellow for Nigeria writing on economic development and aid localization. The has 30 years of research and development project implementation coordinating donor funded interventions by USAID, the Ford, the Packard, the MacArthur and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Dr. Plangsat Bitrus Dayil is an experienced gender  analyst who leads the Gender Center of the University of Jos and supports dRPC women’s economic empowerment programs for 50% of her level of effort. She has supported the dRPC’s PAWED project as a research coordinator and capacity building lead working with WECs to strengthen their advocacy capacity.

She holds a Doctor of Philosophy from The University of Birmingham.

Hajiya Aisha Bello is a financial and business development expert. She holds an MBA from Lagos Business School, a Bachelor’s degree in accounting, and several other qualifications acquired over her professional career. She has over 27 years of professional experience in the banking industry that cuts across executive management, marketing, customer service, and product development. She has worked at the dRPC since 2011 and is the WEE Program Officer (Northern Nigeria).

Mr. Kareem Abdulrasaq holds a Master’s of Philosophy Degree in the History of Economic Development from the University of Ilorin, Nigeria, specializing in political economy and social history. Kareem is the lead Gender and Budget researcher at the dRPC where he has worked since 2021.

Mrs. Taibat Hussein holds a Master of Science Degree in Development Economics from the SOAS University of London Department of Economics. She is also a doctoral candidate in international development at the University of East Anglia’s School of Global Development, UK. Since 2021 she has worked at the dRPC as a Gender and Economic Adviser.