Calls for elimination of violence against women, girls
By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
A non-governmental and non-partisan organization, ActionAid Nigeria, AAN, Friday, commenced a three-day training programme on Network Management and Advocacy for 10 national partners.
The 10 national partners for the training include 100 Women Lobby Group; Women in Politics Forum (WIPF); International Federation of Female Lawyers (FIDA); League of Women Voters of Nigeria (NILOWV); Federation of Muslim Women of Nigeria, (FOMWAN) Bauchi; Network of Disabled Women (NDW); Christian Women for Excellence and Empowerment of Nigerian Society (CWEENS); Small Women Holders Farmers of Nigeria (SWOFON); Nigerian Feminist Forum (NFF); and NECA’s Network of Women Entrepreneurs.
According to ActionAid Nigeria’s Country Director, Ene Obi, in the first year of the project, 10 women’s rights Networks and 18 Women’s Rights organizations were engaged as national and state-level partners respectively. These were engaged in three main capacity building training on Financial Management, Report Writing, Documentation & Media Engagement, and Intersectional Feminist Programming and Policy Influencing.
However, Obi said the second year of implementation has brought on board an additional 72 women’s rights organizations at the community level bringing the number of project partners to 100.
She further stated that this huge addition will translate into more training at the national, state, and community levels starting with training on Network Management and Advocacy for the 10 national partners
The Women’s Voice and Leadership Nigeria (WVL-N) project is a 5-year project funded by Global Affairs Canada (GAC) with the aim of increasing the capacities of Local Women’s Rights Organizations and Networks) Movements in Nigeria to effectively promote and protect the rights of women and girls.
This will be achieved through the provision of tailored capacity building (training) and funding (grants). Hence, strategic capacity building is fully embedded into project design and will remain a priority throughout the project’s lifecycle.
She said: “This huge addition will translate into more training at the national, state, and community levels starting with training on Network Management and Advocacy for the 10 national partners which include 100 Women Lobby Group; Women in Politics Forum (WIPF); International Federation of Female Lawyers (FIDA); League of Women Voters of Nigeria (NILOWV); Federation of Muslim Women of Nigeria, (FOMWAN) Bauchi; Network of Disabled Women (NDW); Christian Women for Excellence and Empowerment of Nigerian Society (CWEENS); Small Women Holders Farmers of Nigeria (SWOFON); Nigerian Feminist Forum (NFF); and NECA’s Network of Women Entrepreneurs.
“A training on effective network management and advocacy tailored to suit the mandates of women’s rights networks is vital as it will improve their capacities to function as Networks and to carry out their advocacy mandates. This is especially important because Civil Society Organisations which women’s rights organisations and networks are part of play a pivotal role in contributing to policy development and holding the government accountable through advocacy. They are seen as a countervailing power to the authoritarian tendencies of the state and as a site for peoples’ participation in the development process.
“It is a reach-out programme and we are reaching out. Like we said the first year was looking at the networks but now we are going down to the community level and we are connecting, we want the Community Based Organisations, CBOs, where women are noted and activities to roll.
“We will be reaching out to them and even with the networks, we have been reaching out to women and girls that is why when we had the Uwaila Vera Omozuwa issue women mobilised immediately and wherever they hear the case of a woman that was in Benin we call the Federation of International Women Lawyers, we call our partners who are on the ground, we give them fact and figures and they run and get to the root of where these things are.
She also disclosed that “ActionAid is in 20 States of the Federation in terms of programming and what that means is that we are on the ground and we will be looking at anything that will be happening, combining different activities.
“There are so many things going on the ground in the 20 States, and then with the Women Voices In Leadership Programme is going on and it is in six states, but we are going to another three States now with the funding from Ford Foundation.
“In terms of participation we are looking at 70 CBOs in terms of the six states for Women Voices in Leadership Programme but we have movements and networks that are across that state and we hope they will galvanise as a movement because things cannot continue to go the way they are going on violence against women and girls, representation like what happened in Ogun State and we are tired of the lip service is given that is being given by the government; the Affirmative Action they signed in Beijing, the Beijing Platform in 1995, the elimination of all forms of violence against women are still not domesticated in Nigeria, and we are having almost 50-50 in population.
“This is why the networks can advocate and raise voices that you are not doing women a favour that when you give them positions the men and society will be better of.”
She also pointed out that, “Gender-responsive issues are one of the key issues, mental health we have to deal with like the women and girls that are raped and we have to need more hospitals, and COVID-19 has exposed our health care system, and we will continue to engage with government to address these issues.
“We are doing things on anti-corruption and transparency as well. So we are cutting across. The issue of violence against women and girls is top on the agenda of this particular project. So when we are looking at it we are looking at some other projects and things in that environment for higher impact.”
Speaking in the same vein was the Women’s Rights Programme Manager, ActionAid Nigeria, Nkechi-Ilochi Omekedo, stressed that it is important for CSOs on women issues to speak with one voice and be heard properly.
“Coalitions, alliances, and networks have gradually become a critical vehicle for civil society organizations to be heard in governance. To have a significant impact, they must speak in a unified voice as the cooperation of multiple stakeholders is necessary to transform social problems.
“Networks and coalitions bring with them a wide range of expertise and experience, enabling them to combine competence and resources in new ways so this training is also an avenue for them to learn from one another to scale-up the impact of their service delivery work”, Omekedo said.
Also speaking were some of the participants from the 10 women and girls based organizations for the three days training programme, which they expressed optimism that the impact after the training will be seen in their various activities as it regards women and girls’ issues in the country.
The National Programme Officer, Nigeria League of Women Voters, Joy Onabuchi, said the “This orogramme is supposed to equip us with the information we need to carry out the five-year project that ActionAid Nigeria has.
“The programme is to enhance the rights of women and girls in Nigeria because women have different problems in Nigeria in terms of being heard, politics, marginalization and others, so ActionAid is working in that direction with different women based organizations.”
Also one of the officials of Network for Disabled Women, Alabede Janet Funke said, “At the need of the training as a network we should be able to advocate for women with a disability on gender-based violence. Before now women with disabilities don’t have a voice at all, people molest them and now they are coming up and the programme came at the right time.
“At the end of the programme I will take back networking, advocacy and I will sensitise them to have a voice especially now there is incessant rape across the country. I will let them know that they can speak up instead of being shy and live in pain.”