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IWOGRA trains grassroots women on cultural, social norms promoting VAWG

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The Initiative for Women and Girls Right Advancement (IWOGRA), a non-governmental organization with support from ‘ActionAid Nigeria and Ford Foundation’ held a Capacity Building Workshop for Women and Girls on Cultural and Social Norms that promotes VAWG. IWOGRA implemented the activity under the Strengthening the Capacities of Women’s Rights Organizations to Combat Violence Against Women and Girls (SLOC-VAWG) Project.

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According to the Executive Director of IWOGRA, Nkechi Obiagbaoso-Udegbunam, the goal of the project is to contribute to women and girls living with reduced gender-based violence and fear of it through effective women-led VAWG programming. The organization is implementing the project in three communities in Abuja; Chika, Jikwoyi, and Dutse Alhaji. To kickstart implementation of the project, IWOGRA paid courtesy visits to the traditional leaders of the selected communities and got their buy-in as regards supporting actions to end VAWG in their communities.

Subsequent to the courtesy visit to the traditional leaders, IWOGRA held workshops for the girls and women of the selected communities on Cultural and Social Norms that promotes VAWG with the aim of building the capacities of the women and girls to organise and demand protection in their communities and an end to VAWG. More so, to ensure that they understand VAWG, how it manifest, how they can challenge social norms that promotes VAWG and how they can live without fear of gender-based violence.

Also, it will equip the community-based women and girls to lead trainings, support other community members and end victim blaming.

The training of the community women and girls was conducted by Nkechi Obiagbaoso-Udegbunam, Executive Director of IWOGRA. She extensively sensitized the girls and women on what violence against women and girls mean, various types of violence women and girls experience, some cultural and social norms that permeates violence against women and girls, why those norms exist, need to identify those cultural and social norms that are peculiar to the communities and come up with strategies for addressing them and the need for women to work in solidarity and end victim blaming.

Her session was followed by a group work, where the participants came up with some common forms of violence women and girls experience in their communities, how cultural and social norms encourages those forms of violence and suggested solutions. Some of the identified violence the women identified are wife beating, economic violence, forced marriage, forced cohabitation resulting from pregnancy, discrimination against domestic workers, limited education and denial of inheritance rights.

During the interactive session, some participants shared how the training has impacted their lives and made them realise that some practices which they saw as normal are actually violence against women and girls and a gross violation of their human rights. They were however grateful to have acquired knowledge and skills to protect themselves and other girls and women of their communities and raise their voices against violence.

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