While others were focused on the environment minister for being featured in Vogue, we at OSG turned our eyes towards another female Nigerian changemaker also featured in Vogue magazine – Priscilla Achakpa.
Priscilla Achakpa’s father married her off when she was only 16 years old and she began having children with her husband but he died when she was 21 years old. She was disinherited because the husband’s family drove her back to her parents and she lost everything. On getting back to her parents, her stepmother kicked her out because in the North you are not supposed to be in your father’s house from the moment you begin your menstruation. She then moved to Kaduna to live and work with her aunt and started a diploma program after which helped her get a banking job in Kaduna.
In Kaduna, Priscilla and her friend were perplexed by a large refuse dump and this prompted her to begin working with the local government to help them understand the dangers and health risks of such a dump. Priscilla began working with the community to clear the dump and stop dumping practices and also began organizing the women into a group to assert and empower themselves. She eventually resigned from her job at the bank to concentrate on working full time with the community.
In the North, a lot of food goes to waste and so she worked with a few university professors to create a solar dryer for their produce. In this way, the women can retain the nutrients of the produce in dry form, thereby preserving it and increasing their income. Priscilla works with these women for them to understand the importance of their environment to their own physical health. This way, she is increasing women’s productivity and engaging them in protecting the environment around them.
Why She’s our WCW…
- Priscilla is improving the standard of living of the local communities contributing to the alleviation of poverty among the rural women and providing employment.
- She is empowering the women economically and politically to address the issues that affect their environment.
- She has empowered semi-rural women farmers on the usage of solar dryers to dry tons of perishable crops such as tomatoes, pepper, oranges and vegetables during peak production periods.
- Priscilla is creating awareness among women to utilize clean and affordable energy services and reduce the amount of fuelwood dependent communities which further degrade the environment while promoting food security through conservation and reduction in waste.
- She has involved the women at various levels in their communities in disaster risk reduction, water and sanitation, understanding civic rights and responsibilities, and also empowered the slum dwellers for slum upgrading and housing schemes through voluntary savings for self help, conflict and peace building, and research and documentation.
- She has involved the rural women farmers through capacity building programmes in the maintenance of solar energy equipment so that usage of this equipment is sustainable. Priscilla realizing that women are most vulnerable to climate change has involved the rural women in ways that they can mitigate climate change and adapt to its impact on them and their families.
Her awards list is almost endless as she has received various awards including Bank of Industry/United Nations Development Programme (BOI/UNDP) award winner for renewable Energy in Nigeria, 2011 among others. She has also held various positions such as Member Facilitating Women’s Major Groups; UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) 16th & 17th Session 2007/2009, Member of the expert Group on Framework and guidelines on land policy in Africa-ECA, AfDB and AU, 2007-date among many others. Priscilla Achakpa is also a board Member of 15 NGOs/Association in Nigeria
For more information about Priscilla Achakpa, check out the following references…