Women champions of development in the Sahel - {INSPIRE AFRICA}

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Investing in women and girls is one of the most effective ways to increase equality and promote sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

Investments in programs for women and girls have significant developmental spillover effects, as women typically spend more of their income on health, education, and the well-being of their families and communities than men.

The Sahel Women's Empowerment and Demographic Dividend (SWEDD) project is a regional initiative that brings together 9 countries in West and Central Africa (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Mauritania, Mali, and Niger) with the objective of "accelerating the demographic transition, reducing gender inequalities, and promoting development in the Sahel through the empowerment of women and girls."

SWEDD launched the 2021 edition of the "Stronger Together" project on the theme of "Girls' Education and Women's Leadership". One of its aims is to link girls' education to development in Sahelian countries.

It focuses on keeping girls in school, access to training, employment and economic opportunities and decision-making bodies, access to sexual and reproductive health services and menstrual hygiene, the fight against gender-based violence and harmful practices.

On this episode of INSPIRE AFRICA, we showcase the "Women champions of development in the Sahel”.

Award winning host Jerry Fisayo-Bambi introduces the programme by setting the outline onthe series on Girls' Education and Women's Leadership in some of the Sahel countries.

“We hear stories of women entrepreneurs, leaders and actors who are moving the lines for **the empowerment of women.” First in Chad with Baba Sultan Brahim President of the Union of Women's Groups of Mani.** Her union benefited from the multiform support of the SWEDD project with tractor, motor pumps, seeds, spare parts, a millet mill, etc.

And in Niger, the story focuses on Hassane Haousseize Zouera, theSenior Police Commissioner and Head of the Division of Protection of Minors and Women.**Zouera was named the individual winner of the 2021 UN Population Award.** An award, which honors an individual and an institution for outstanding contributions to population, development and reproductive health. She was recognized as a leader in the fight against gender-based violence and for her contributions to making Niger a safer place for women and girls.

Also in this episode, we hear of the dream and ultimate goal for girls' education and Women leadership in Mauritania in a chat withM. Ousmane Kane, the Minister of Economic Affairs and Productive Sectors, President of the Regional Steering Committee of the SWEDD project.

And in Benin, Mrs. Evelyne QUENUM, Minister of Social Affairs and Microfinance tells us how microcredit for women is helping to change lives in the country.

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