By Emeka Nwokocha
Against the backdrop of rising incidents of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) in Nigeria, a Non-Governmental Organisation, Ideal Women Advancement Initiative, IWAI, is rekindling efforts to curb the menace in the society. This was practically demonstrated at a 2-Day workshop, tagged, “Capacity Building Training on Sexual and Gender Based Violence Prevention and Response,” organised by the NGO on 2 to 3 May, 2022, at the Petroleum Training Institute Complex, Effurun, Delta State.
In her speech to flag off the training, Executive Director of IWAI, Pastor Bridget Affiah said, “the capacity building training is anchored on two salient objectives, firstly, to raise awareness and sensitize communities, schools, and line ministries on the ills of sexual and gender based violence. Secondly, to create platforms and build alliances that will track and respond timely to incidents of SGBV.”
She continued, “to be able to achieve these objectives holistically, we are building and strengthening alliances to embark on vigorous advocacies to all stakeholders to ensure this menace that is growing like a wild fire is nipped in the bud.”
Affiah, who lamented the high rate of SGBV in Delta State, noted that the training was funded by Urgent Action Fund Africa to give a boost to the fight against SGBV, saying, “IWAI is making every effort to curb this scourge in Delta State.”
Fielding questions from journalists, Affiah said, “IWAI is currently working in the three senatorial districts of the state. We are implementing a pilot programme in Oshimini North, Udu and Warri South LGAs. Going forward, we would expand the programme and the message across the 25 LGAs of the state.”
She added, “we are working with three strong line ministries comprising the Ministries of Education; Women Affairs, Community & Social Development; and Justice, including the Nigeria police to make commendable progress in the fight against SGBV in the state.”
On the possible outcomes of the training, Affiah said, “platforms will be created to activate our activity and give it a wide reach; alliances are being built to strengthen our activities and have our teams on ground in all the three senatorial districts to promptly respond when there is any form of sexual and gender based violence incidents.”
She further stated, “in addition, we are also handling the issue of discrimination against people living with disabilities. This is in line with the vision of inclusivity which IWAI tenaciously preaches and promotes.”
Affiah, however, acknowledged there would be challenges in carrying out the programmes, saying, “definitely, there are going to be challenges, that is the reason we have put strategies in place, including gatekeepers to address inherent challenges in the course of carrying out our programmes.
A participant of the training and Executive Director of Neferok Development Initiative (NEDI), Ayo Okotie, commended the training for its rich content and said, “l have learned a lot from this 2-day long training put together by IWAI. I have learned new mechanism for preventing and responding to gender and sexual based violence. The training has exposed me to new realities that beyond physical battering, there are other forms of gender based violence that have been very “silent” in the society. For me, it has been 2 days of intensive learning and l will apply the knowledge l have gained to advancing my organisation in issues of SGBV, and also partner with IWAI in forming a coalition to tackle SGBV in Delta State head on.
The resource persons, Mr. Frank Nelson, and Dr. Rachael Misan-Rupee, Executive Director of Development Initiative for Community Impact (DICI) brought their honed expertise and knowledge to bear on the lectures they delivered at the training sessions to build the capacity of the participants in issues of SGBV and the mechanisms to curb the heightening societal vice.