Groups Collaborate to Strengthen Sensitisation on Gender-based Violence

Esther Oluku

A not-for-profit organisation, Leadership Initiative for Youth Empowerment (LIFE) with the support of the African Women Development Fund (AWDF) is implementing a 32-month project to strengthen sensitisation on effective response to Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in Lagos.

The project, which is the third in the series of projects organised by LIFE, is scheduled to run from 2023 through 2025 with a focus on the Oshodi-Isolo Local Government Area of the state.

According to LIFE Co-Founder, Mrs Abiodun Rufus Unegbu, the initiative is aimed at upscaling leadership of female survivors for effective gender-based violence response and access to justice.

Unegbu, who was represented by the Programmes Officer, LIFE, Ms Ogechi Stephen, said that the organisation also secured funding from the Amplify Change Project to improve the protection of survivors through the invocation of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law 2015.

She said: “The project’s overall goal is to improve protection from sexual and gender-based violence for young girls and women through the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law (VAPP) 2015 Law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“The project trains community advocates drawn from existing community groups and local institutions to raise awareness on the provisions of the law for protection from rape, female genital mutilation, domestic violence, and female trafficking among grassroots communities in Oshodi-Isolo Local Government Area.

“We will impact the relationship between community members, the police and key government agencies that work in the field of gender-based violence. 

“We will also work to empower beneficiaries with a specific understanding of the legal requirements and reporting procedures to guarantee that communities take a more active role in reporting incidents of sexual and gender-based violence to the police and act as change agents in their local communities.”

She shared that the project targets training 80 community champions who will return to their communities and conduct knowledge transfer sessions to reach 8000 community members in 4 months in Oshodi-Isolo LGA.

On her part, the Monitoring and Evaluation Officer for LIFE, Ms Oluwatoyin Mokwe, noted that part of the challenge encountered by the organisation is the unwillingness of victims to speak out about their challenges.

“We have a lot of unreported cases. When. If a person is being raped, for instance, people don’t concentrate on the actor or the perpetrators but attack the victims and ask questions like, “what is Didi you wear? Why did you go there? So there is a tendency for them to keep quiet rather than speak out.”

Stephen assured that through its engagement with the Ministry of Justice and the Nigeria Police, it hopes to ensure that victims get justice and the voices of female survivors are amplified to curb cases of violence against women. 

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