Access Bank aims at ending violence against women
As a key stakeholder in implementing the SDGs in Nigeria, Access Bank is helping to ensure no woman is left behind, while recognising that the dignity of all women and girls is of fundamental importance.
Nigeria joined over 190 countries in 2015 to adopt the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The UN development agenda, comprising of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), stands as the driver for global commitment towards the fight to wipe out poverty, end inequality and tackle climate change over the next 15 years. The 2030 Agenda addresses the three dimensions of sustainable development, namely, social, economic and environmental, as well as issues relating to peace, justice and effective institutions.
As the largest economy in Africa, Nigeria is a key player in the efforts to achieve these global goals. Some of the country's activities have been geared towards data gathering to assist in identifying needs and tracking progress. This includes a comprehensive data mapping exercise, aimed at ascertaining the various sources of data for the SDG indicators to be monitored.
The Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari also supports the achievement of sustainable development. The National Bureau of Statistics, the Office of Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs, and the United Nations Development Programme are collaborating on a data-collection exercise for the administrative statistics component of the SDGs. These activities, among others, have set the tone for the advancement of sustainable development in Nigeria.
However, the efforts to implement the SDGs in Nigeria are driven by both the public and private sectors, with support from the international community. While several local organisations have made notable contributions by promoting various sustainability initiatives, Access Bank continues to play a leading role in the financial sector. Through its award-winning sustainability strategy, Access Bank has shown it is committed to leveraging its people and partnerships to fight diseases in the society, champion innovative initiatives, reduce environmental impacts and develop local communities, now and in the years ahead. Access Bank's unparalleled commitment to sustainability aims to make the Bank the Most Sustainable and Respected Bank in Africa.
Over the years, the Bank's areas of focus in community investment have ranged from education to health, gender equality, arts and sports. Many of these efforts have helped to widen the Bank's reach in terms of its market presence and indirect social, economic and policy impacts.
So far, in 2018, Access Bank has implemented a number of strategic initiatives aimed at driving development at community level. One of such efforts was the partnership with HACEY Health Initiative, a development organization focused on improving the health and productivity of vulnerable and underserved population in Africa.
The partnership with HACEY took place on the occasion of the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, which is marked annually on February 6th. The aim of the partnership was to raise awareness on the need to address FGM, whilst building capacity amongst communities to fight against harmful practice. Other stakeholders were also successfully mobilised to join the agenda to eliminate FGM in Nigeria.
The adverse effects of FGM in the lives of women is considerable. It is, therefore, important to address this violence against women through targeted interventions and increased awareness. This would be in line with Goal 5 of the SDGs, which aims to empower women and girls to reach their full potential, and which requires eliminating all forms of discrimination and violence against them, including harmful practices, such as child marriage and FGM.
According to World Health Organization (WHO), over three million girls in Africa are still subject to this harmful practice yearly, and over 130 million girls and women have undergone mutilation around the world. In Nigeria alone, over 20 million girls have been subjected to FGM. A new report by UNICEF highlights that girls who are 14 years and below are most at risk of FGM. Over 90 percent of the victims in Nigeria are cut before they get to the age of five.
Activities that were scheduled to commemorate the 2018 International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM included a public seminar, engagement of secondary school students, and oral interviews with survivors – or relatives of survivors – to collect stories on the harmful effects of FGM. There was also media engagement on the need to end FGM, including call-to-action videos on engaging the general public.
Approximately 4,700 people, mostly women, were directly reached on the subject-matter. 70 peer-educators were trained on FGM elimination practices. 40 volunteers were mobilized in the implementation of the initiative, which reached over two million people via strategic media campaigns and awareness.
Access Bank's partnership on this initiative is in line with the Bank's sustainability strategy, which involves addressing women's rights, health and social wellbeing. Some of the Bank's products and services focus on promoting financial inclusion of women, to help achieve gender-equity in access to finance and close the gender unemployment gap.
The 2030 Agenda is a bold vision that pledges to ensure no one is left behind. As a key stakeholder in implementing the SDGs in Nigeria, Access Bank is helping to ensure no woman is left behind, while recognising that the dignity of all women and girls is of fundamental importance.
Access Bank has become a leading African bank with sustainability as the cornerstone of its business philosophy. The Bank believes that by delivering social, economic and environmental values today, it can create shareholder's value tomorrow. The Bank has established a proactive approach to the sustainability agenda, by working with its employees, customers and suppliers to ensure that the sustainability agenda sits at the heart of all actions. It is also committed to building a lasting and profitable financial institution that operates in a manner that will not compromise the ability of future generations to live in a healthy environment and prosperous communities.
As one of Africa's largest banks, Access Bank is driving economic growth and prosperity within the communities in which it serves. The Bank believes the business will thrive even more, when the people in surrounding communities, as well as their livelihoods, prosper economically. As part of its strategic corporate responsibility objectives, Access Bank commits each year to channeling resources to impact people's lives positively and responsibly. Since 2015, the Bank has invested over N3.48 billion in CSR, impacted 690 communities, and reached approximately 20 million individuals.
The Bank has also invested N1.4 billion in capacity building programmes for its female employees. Its employees have volunteered a total of over 1.7 million hours in 142 strategic community initiatives across the six geo-political zones of Nigeria. Access Bank has shown unwavering commitment to strategic community investment as a means to achieving important SDGs targets.
According to World Health Organization (WHO), over three million girls in Africa are still subject to female genital mutilation yearly, and over 130 million girls and women have undergone mutilation around the world.
Image by Save The Children Canada