By advancing gender equity and social inclusion (GESI), Nigerians can build power and agency to challenge corrupt systems and access services. On Nigeria’s GESI statement and action plan outline a framework and path for doing so.
Women and girls, youth and elderly people, refugees and internally displaced persons, and people with disabilities all face considerable risks from “discriminatory corruption,” which according to Transparency International, harms individuals based on their gender and social identity. We know that corruption is sustained by unequal power dynamics and deeply embedded social norms. We also know that promoting gender equity and social inclusion (GESI) can help people challenge corrupt systems and build power and agency, and we wanted that fact to be acknowledged and explicit in our work.
Through GESI, we envision a future where women and girls, youth and elderly people, people with disabilities, and others from marginalized backgrounds will be engaged in all aspects of our work. Photo credit: Pamlens Studios
To that end, in 2020, our team formally articulated our commitment to advancing GESI in Nigeria. We needed to better understand what GESI looked like in Nigeria and in anti-corruption work, so we commissioned a literature review to better grasp the complexities in Nigeria. The literature review showed that in Nigeria, poverty, geography, insecurity, and other factors intersect to make certain people more vulnerable to corruption and limit their capacities to counter it. Furthermore, biased laws, policies, and systems; lack of resources; unequal opportunities to make decisions; rigid cultural norms and beliefs; unequal demands and responsibilities; and economic insecurity make it difficult for people from marginalized backgrounds to access services and challenge corruption.
We have worked with our technical assistance partner EnCompass to craft a GESI statement and action plan to guide our work. We are pleased to share our GESI statement.
GESI embodies our value of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. As we incorporate GESI into our work, we are living the principles of the Just Imperative, which “focused on dismantling the structures, systems, and practices that uphold racism or produce unjust outcomes.” Centering GESI is also a strategic approach by which we will effect change and a vital component of robust anti-corruption outcomes.
We and our partners are working towards a future where GESI is the default—a future where we all intentionally address inequalities in our design, decision-making, hiring, programming, and implementation. A future where we all endeavor from the beginning to engage women and girls, youth and elderly people, refugees and internally displaced persons, people with disabilities, ethnic and religious minorities, the extreme poor, and others from marginalized backgrounds in all aspects of our work.
This vision for the future is on its way. We have already begun to share tools and resources with grantee partners as they develop their proposals, and we have commissioned GESI-related research to add to the knowledge base. We previously shared our strategy for equity and inclusion and how we have integrated GESI into our work. We are now working to improve equity in allocating grants and other resources. Our grantee partners also have examples of how they integrated GESI into their work by advocating for inclusion in anti-corruption policies, reviewing their internal policies and practices, amplifying the needs and aspirations of people from marginalized backgrounds, and ensuring that laws with GESI-friendly provisions are consistently implemented.
This is, of course, just the beginning. The GESI statement sets a standard and a path we will continue with integrity. GESI impacts people in all domains of life, from the way they experience laws, policies, cultural norms, and beliefs, to their use of time, access to resources, power and decision-making, and personal safety. We will continue to prioritize GESI and maintain meaningful partnerships with the people, networks, and organizations closest to the work
As always, we welcome your feedback and comments on GESI or other aspects of our work.