By Kingsley Alumona
Some scholars and researchers from the faculties of Arts and the Social Sciences of the University of Ibadan have adopted collaborative action research into family dynamics and equity in growing democracies in some states in Nigeria.
The scholars and researchers, on Tuesday, in Ibadan, under the auspices of the project Strengthening Capacity for Research and Policy Engagement in shifting Notions of Motherhood and Fatherhood for Improved children’s wellbeing in Africa (SCaRPE-A) in collaboration with Centre for Applied Ethics and Political Communication in Africa (CAEPOCOM Africa), and the Women’s Research and Documentation Centre (WORDOC) of the Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan.
Delivering the welcome address, the Coordinator of WORDOC, Dr Sharon Omotoso, noted that SCaRPE-A is a multi-country project hosted by the Makerere University in Uganda. She further noted that the other countries involved in the project include South Africa, Rwanda, Kenya, and Nigeria – adding that their colleagues from the Non-governmental Organisation (NGO) sector were invited to the research networking meeting to contribute and suggest pathways for further collaborations.
“Studies have shown that embracing equity begins from the home front if it must be entrenched for the achievement of all Sustainable Development Goals,” she said. “It is on this note that we agree that women need to look inward and perhaps turn to the basic unit of all social institutions, the family.”
Omotoso stressed that the event which marks the 2023 International Women’s Day, under the global theme #embrace equity, aimed at making the participants understand the following: “Are the notions of motherhood and fatherhood changing, and how? What impact are the changes having on our growing democracies? And, what measures may be put in place to address the challenges or support ongoing efforts to mainstream equity in politics and the society at large?”
Part of the schedules of the event included paper presentations from doctoral students of the University of Ibadan working in related fields of the family unit.
Ujene Godspower, a doctoral student of the Department of Sociology, University of Ibadan, presented a paper titled ‘Victimisation experience and parental caregiving in the rehabilitation and reintegration of Boko Haram members’.
In the course of his presentation, Godspower discussed the changing concept of parenting, within rehabilitation programmes for reintegrating persons who had participated in terrorist activities back in the society. Here, he spotlights the roles mothers and fathers play in such programmes, among others.
Bolaji Akanni, a doctoral student of the Department of Philosophy, University of Ibadan, presented a paper titled ‘Widowhood dynamics and complications of parenting in Osun State’.
Akanni’s study − which covers widows and widowers between ages 22 – 55 years, among other things − interrogates the vacuums created by the death of a spouse, coping mechanisms, especially when their children are young, and what happens to the children trained by a widows/widowers.
Temilola Ololujulo, a doctoral student of the Gender Studies program of the Institute of African Studies, presented a paper titled ‘Identity construction of parents raising children with albinism in Southwestern Nigeria’.
Ololujulo situates albinism in the contest of disabilities to shed light into the challenges and stigmatisations surrounding albino children and their families, how such children and their families cope with these challenges, and how the society and the government could help such families.
Other prominent speakers and contributors at the event included Dr Mutiat Oladejo, Department of History, Sherifah Takat-Arafat, Iyamopo Centre for Peace, Women and Youth Development; Dr Jaiyeola Oyewole, Communications Art Programme, Bowen University; Ehindero Alaba, Executive Director, Zioncare Life and Family Impact Foundation.
Others included members of CAEPOCOM Africa, scholars from the University of Ibadan, and some corps members.
The resolutions reached at the event included, but not limited to: definitions of family is expanding with concepts such as households, blended families and so on, these feed into how equity is understood and entrenched in contrast with equality. Therefore, continued efforts in enlightening communities on family as the root of fostering equity in the society and democracies is imperative.
Also, required are sustainable interventions from NGOs and the government on social issues, adequate support and funding of research and training, setting realistic timelines for impactful engagements on these issues, embracing equity as an end in itself and not as a means to an end in the drive to meeting the targets of sustainable development goals.
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