Group sensitises women, girls on SGBV response
The Initiative for Women and Girls Right Advancement (IWOGRA), a non-governmental organization, has sensitised grassroots women from three communities in Abuja on response mechanisms to adopt when faced with sexual and gender based violence cases.
This was the thrust at a one-day capacity building workshop for her newly constituted Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) Community Response Team and implemented under the Global Resilience Fund for Girls and Young Women Project, which is a collective response to the COVID-19 crisis.
According to the Executive Director of IWOGRA, Nkechi Obiagbaoso-Udegbunam, the organisation is implementing the project in three communities in Abuja; Jikwoyi, Katampe and Galadimawa.
“At the start of the project, IWOGRA paid courtesy visits to the traditional leaders of the selected communities and got their buy-in as regards educating the grassroots women and girls on how to live free from SGBV.”
As a follow-up to the courtesy visit, IWOGRA held a workshop for the girls and young women of the selected communities on the provisions of the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act, 2015 with the aim of eradicating and preventing sexual and gender-based violence and also to provide free legal counseling to victims of sexual and gender-based violence. IWOGRA however, provided a simplified version of the Act to enable the communities’ girls and young women understand the content.
The group, however, selected some of the participants from each community to form the Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Community Response Team, which necessitated the Capacity Building Workshop for the members of the team.
The objective of the workshop is to support the Community Response Team to provide assistance to survivors of abuses, support mediation and other quick responses mechanisms and be able to channel reported cases to the appropriate authorities. The Team will also lead the demand for protection against SGBV and work with IWOGRA to fashion out guidelines and other support system that can further create safe and secured environment for girls and young women of the selected communities.
She extensively sensitised the girls and young women on what violence against women and girls mean, various types of violence women and girls experience, why violence against women and girls exist, the consequences of it, laws against SGBV, relevant agencies they can report violations to and how they can prevent SGBV within their communities.
Participants were made to understand the kind of information they should ask survivors during interventions and what they should do with the information in other to seek redress. Some participants also shared personal experiences on the forms of SGBV they experienced and are still experiencing.
They were, however, grateful to have acquired knowledge and skills to protect themselves and other girls and young women in their communities. The Community Response Team was enjoined to desist from victim blaming and also step down the knowledge gained to other members of their communities.
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