WARDC, CSOs, highlight activities towards ending VAWG
In its bid to end Violence Against Women and Girls, through the European Union, EU, Spotlight Initiative project, coalitions, networks of women groups, and civil society partners of the Women Advocates Research & Documentation Centre (WARDC) have commended the EU.
Speaking at a town hall meeting organised by WARDC and attended by almost 200 community-based partners, founding director WARDC, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, said that through the EU/UNWOMEN Spotlight Initiative, her organisation had worked with over 700 groups and organisations including the Federation of Muslim Women; the Women’s Wing of the Christian Association of Nigeria, WOWICAN; Catholic Women Organisation; Federation of Muslim Women Association in Nigeria, FOMWAN; artisans and AREWA groups, to strengthen voices and accountability on ending sexual and gender-based violence.
“WARDC led the advocacy for a model action plan across six states and was successful at contributing to the Executive assent of the plan in Bauchi, Cross River, and Sokoto states. We currently look forward to the assent by the governments of Adamawa, Ebonyi and Lagos states.
“Our major work was to strengthen coordination among organisations and also grow grassroots movements as, hitherto, the movement appeared elitist. During the course of the project, we have moved and taken action as a group with our various partners on different issues and delivered justice. So far, I will say the project has been a success and I must say it was the first time we are having the opportunity of having the elite and the grassroots work together.”
Director of Programmes, WARDC, Emmanuella Azu, said, “We believe this marks the beginning of our work at the grassroots rather than an end because in the course of the Spotlight Initiative project, we have experienced an expanded relationship at all levels and an increased awareness/campaign.”
We saw a lot of collaborations, even with government and civil society organizations. We worked across Lagos, Adamawa, Sokoto, Ebonyi, Cross River and the Federal Capital Territory, and the Ministry of Women Affairs served as our major partner and collaborator in each state, alongside other ministries,” Azu said.
A participant representing the Women’s Wing of the Christian Association of Nigeria (WOWICAN) Elizabeth Bassey Olubanke, said that the Spotlight Initiative activities organised by WARDC over the years had helped to transform the minds of members of her organisation, community and religious leaders around her.
“So many women believed they should depend on only prayers when faced with issues of violence; but the moment I began creating awareness on violence against women and girls based on lessons learned from at the various Spotlight Initiative activities organised by WARDC, they became more knowledgeable and began to speak about their experiences.
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