By John Okeke
The African First Ladies Peace Mission has lauded African rural women for their hardwork in the face of COVID-19, and called for more support to the women for faster recovery of rural economies and livelihoods.
The Mission equally solicited global support to African governments in their relentless efforts to end insurgency on the continent, noting that insurgency had taken tolls on the welfare and livelihoods of the rural communities, especially women, girls, and children.
This was contained in statement by the Special Assistant to the President on African First Ladies Peace Mission, Dr. Mairo Al-Makura, Thursday, on the occasion of the 2020 International Day of Rural Women themed “Building rural women’s resilience in the wake of COVID-19.
“On the occasion of the 2020 International Day for Rural Women, the African First Ladies Peace Mission salutes the resilience of the African rural women, especially in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the fore the need for the socio-economic empowerment of the rural women, which the AFLPM has always joined the United Nations and other stakeholders to advocate.
“Despite being seriously disadvantaged in access to land, agricultural assets and credits, education, market, and despite the yawning gender pay gap, African rural women and girls have continued to showcase their resilience in the sustenance of their families and provision of care during this challenging period.
“The AFLPM believes that the continent can build back better from the rubbles of the pandemic by strengthening rural women’s sustainable livelihoods and wellbeing. Therefore, AFLPM calls on African governments to give more support to our rural women and girls to continue to contribute more to agricultural production, food security and nutrition, land and natural resource management, and building climate resilience”, the statement read.
Commenting on the challenges posed by insurgency and conflicts to rural women and livelihoods, AFLPM stressed: “In particular, we enjoin the world to rally behind Africa to overcome the challenge of insurgency, which has gravely affected the rural women and their livelihoods.
“Insurgents attack mainly the rural communities of the Lake Chad region and women and girls suffer abduction or rape or even get killed.
“The insurgency by Boko Haram and its splinter groups affects more than 17 million people in the Lake Chad region alone, according to the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Also, more than 2.2 million people have been displaced, most of them women and children.
“Insurgency leaves the farms fallow and underutilised as even those not yet displaced are scared to venture into the farmlands. So, this is a problem the world must make haste to address more aggressively”.
The African First Ladies wished the rural women a happy Rural Women Day, pledging to continue to lend their support.