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WARDC sensitises CSOs to fight discrimination, end VAWG, SGBV, HP

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To further strengthen the call to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls, Sexual (VAWG) and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) and Harmful Practices (HP), Civil Society Groups (CSOs) have been sensitised on the need to demand accountability and fight discrimination among marginalised women.

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The one-day training for CSOs and marginalised groups on coordination mechanisms and social accountability was organised by Women Advocates Research and Documentation Center (WARDC) and a joint UN-EU Spotlight Initiative project, targeted at eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls by 2030.

Speaking at the training, the Founding Director, WARDC, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi said that the issue of SGBV, VAWG and HP are prevalent in Nigeria and the lack of access to Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) by women is a major issue in this clime. Research has shown that one in three women have experienced one form of SGBV or the other, hence the need to push for reforms that would eliminate all forms of discrimination against women. We are therefore focused on promoting an empowered civil society and autonomous women’s movement.

According to one of the facilitators and executive directors Vision Spring Initiative, Ngozi Nwosu-Juba among marginalised women are refugees, women living in poverty, destitute, female children, women with disabilities, women in situations of armed conflict, abducted women and girls and sex workers.

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Nwosu-Juba noted that with the discrimination on these groups, CSOs must ensure that they understand issues that constitute VAWG, SGBV, and HP. They should also priotise and know issues that require urgent attention, address and follow up on relevant agencies responsible to tackle these issues while holding them responsible and accountable to achieve results.

While stressing on the need for advocacy as an effective tool to drive change, Executive Director, International Press Centre (IPC) Lagos, Lanre Arogundade said that it is a key feature for CSOs and community-based organisations.

“Advocacy is the most effective tool to effect change in a democratic setting; the fact that youths were not happy with the development in the country and their reaction to the government resulted in violence. Advocacy enables you to identify those who are interested in an issue and with your action plan and strategy; you can identify those that are willing to effect the necessary change.”

Arogundade added that one of the problems we have is because we don’t use advocacy, our issues don’t get popular support.

“We should not always assume that because something is good, everyone will support it because there are those who have reasons to oppose our actions; hence advocacy will also target those people and win them over so they don’t constitute a risk to your efforts.”

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