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GBV: FIDA Nigeria and Foundation Hold Annual Dialogue, Peer Learning Forum to Address Social Norms Against Women

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By Chibuike Nwabuko

Abuja (Sundiata Post) – International Federation of Women Lawyers, FIDA Nigeria in conjunction with Ford foundation on Thursday 25th August 2022 held an “Annual Dialogue & Peer Learning Forum for Community Gatekeepers aimed at addressing social norms that negatively affect the Status of women and entrench violence against women”.

Sundiata Post recalls that over the last 2 years, the duo have implemented a project tagged “Work with Gate Keepers including Women Leaders, Youths, Religious Leaders and Traditional Rulers to Address Social Norms that negatively affect the status of Women and entrench violence against women and girls” aimed at mitigating the incidence of gender-based violence across two communities/Local Government Areas across Ekiti, Lagos and Plateau states by altering the social norms, beliefs and traditional practices in the target communities through community-led change.

The purpose of the national dialogue was to upscale the previous dialogues organized at the state level to a national dialogue and peer learning forum for stakeholders drawn from the six focal communities across the three states of our intervention, provide a platform for improved learning approaches and collaboration amongst Gatekeepers in focal communities towards ending gender based violence, boost self-assessment/stocktaking through peer reviews towards ensuring the sustainability of the intervention and to reward selected community champions through award gifts who have contributed in ending GBV in their communities.

As part of our sustainability plan for this intervention, communities have developed & created action plans to prevent prevalent harmful, religious and cultural practices experienced by women and girls in the communities they are domiciled.

This has been achieved through capacity building activities on leadership and GBV issues, town hall meetings, sensitization & awareness campaigns communities on prevention of his menace, selection of community champions on SGBV amongst others.

The programme manager Mr. Fikih Obaro in his remarks, highlighted some of the project milestone, impact and successes gained in the cause of the project which include:
• A community network on Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) known as Anti SGBV Surveillance Team was established in both communities who have been individually equipped to respond to gender issues and meet periodically to access the state of SGBV in the communities while mapping out workable strategies and escalating immediate issues to FIDA or the security Agencies for necessary intervention.
• Increased awareness on women’s rights and GBV prevention and response strategies across Project States through our radio campaigns and community sensitization programs.
• Increased number of reported and documented Incidences of SGBV at our FIDA branch secretariat. These incidences upon investigation are referred to the relevant agency for prompt action. This increase in reported cases shows a gradual move away from the heavy culture of silence that was very prevalent at the inception of the project in focal communities.
• Focal communities have a better and clearer understanding of the roles women play in leadership and decision-making process as a result, there is a conscious and gradual efforts of incorporating them into community leadership positions.
• Evidentially, the community leadership are resolute in abandoning traditional and harmful practices against women and girls through continuous interaction and shared understanding among stakeholders. The Project recorded creation of community-based Bye Laws that will help protect the rights of women and girls.

It was a very engaging event as community gatekeepers shared practical experiences in the quest to ending GBV and other Social Norms that negatively affect the status of Women within their communities. Through this platform participant were inspired to do more. At the End of the event community gatekeepers were celebrated for their outstanding contributions.

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