Two days ago, 1st of March 2021, Electher launched Agender 35, a non-partisan attempt at reshaping the political landscape in Nigeria by providing all-round support for women who wish to run for political offices. In the launch, they unveiled their $10 million fund, with 2 million already in their acquisition. These funds will be used to facilitate their three-point agender, which include:
- Financial Capacity: Raise $10 million dollars to empower women to DecideToRun, and DIRECTLY fund 35 WOMEN to run for elective offices in 2023.
- Policy Advocacy: Advocate for a 35% women’s representation quota in elective and appointive office.
- Citizen Engagement: Engage citizens to Electher ahead of 2023.
Electher is an end-to-end women’s political advancement group co-founded by Ibijoke Faborode and Abosede George-Ogan. The initiative is also aligned with The Social Change Network (TSCN) Africa and Women in Leadership Advancement Network (WILAN), founded by the two women, respectively. For Agender 35, they have partnered with Platform Capital, founded by Ponmile Osibo.
The core of Electher is to engage, encourage, equip and enable Nigerian women to actively participate in politics. Their goal is to have women’s representation in Nigerian politics up to 50% by the year 2050. They are addressing this issue through “behavioural change communications, skill development, human capital and funding mobilization.”
The unveiling of Agender 35 is a major part of the funding mobilization. Their endgame is to ensure a radical shift in the current imbalances in the 2023 elections.
While Agender 35 is their biggest venture, Electher had other things cooking in the past year. In 2020, they received a grant of $50,000 each, from both Diatom Impact and the United States National Endowment for Democracy (NED), totalling $100,000.
The funds from Diatom Impact was scheduled to run for a year, starting in July 2020, and has gone into starting up the Electher Academy. The Electher Academy is where the 1000 women will be equipped with the sociopolitical tools required to eventually campaign in an election. These tools include both physical and online training courses, as well as the Electher Future Lawmakers Programme.
Likewise, the partnership with NED runs for a year. However, with NED, Electher has been carrying out sensitization programmes through the use of art. They will be using impact storytelling to change the negative narrative about women and politics, and women in politics. The idea is that by changing their perspectives, more women would be encouraged to do run for political offices.
In light of this, they have an upcoming art exhibition titled Obirin, opening on the 7th of March. The exhibition, “an event to raise massive awareness on women’s political representation through art and pop culture,” is in celebration of International Women’s Day.
The launch of Agender 35, as well as the unveiling of the funds, is a step forward for women in Nigeria. Through this, they now have a good chance at gaining political power and legitimately making their voices heard all over.