With the alarming rate of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in the country and the need to further sensitise more people especially in the grassroots, Women’s Advocates Research and Documentation Center (WARDC) have trained 40 women to serve this purpose.
The two day session which bothered on communication and public speaking skills to better engage religious and community leaders on Gender-based Violence is a joint European Union and United Nations, Spotlight Initiative Project.
According to the founding director WARDC, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, religious leaders play very important roles in our communities. They are highly respected people and are very influential in shaping attitudes and practices. Hence these women will learn how to communicate effectively with religious leaders in order to end violence against women and girls and other harmful practices.
WARDC, with Support from UN WOMEN, is implementing the joint EU-UN Spotlight Initiative Project in Lagos state, which seeks to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls. “Given their sphere of influence, religious leaders need to be co-opted as agents of social change in their communities, speaking against female genital mutilation, early marriages, widowhood practices, the denial of girls’ rights to education and all forms of violence against women and girls.
“We acknowledge that there are religious leaders whose approaches and practices reinforces gender injustice, hence the need to understand how best to educate and communicate with them for effective partnerships,” she added.
Facilitator at the training session, Dr. Princess Olufemi-Kayode, a sexual violence specialist and criminal justice psychologist noted that the training focused on strategic position faith-based organisations hold in the fight against gender-based violence and the elimination of it.
“We also see how women defenders and women movements can engage them by showing them methods, instruments they can use including advocacy, effective communication, develop their SWOT, actions plan and how to execute.”
Dr. Olufemi-Kayode noted that a key problem with GBV is the mindset. Although she said it is a general problem across the world, it affects everyone only it varies at certain degrees depending on what part of the world. However, GBV is global and for Nigeria, there are certain parameters not put in place like those in advanced worlds, which makes it look like justice is not gotten in this part of the world.
“They still have issues around GBV, but for us here it feels like when we stand up to walk, we fall back again and practice walking again, we are not really making significant progress.”
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