By Emeka Nwokocha
West Africa Network for Peace building (WANEP), a nongovernmental Organisation (NGO), has expressed determination to sustain its support for rural based organisations promoting peace across the communities in Delta State.
This came into play Thursday 10, September, 2020, in Ossissa community, Ndokwa east local government area of the state, as members of the United Women Peace Builders Network thronged the Umuosumili-Ossissa multi-purpose hall, to receive palliatives donated by WANEP, with support from Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), to cushion the effect of the novel Covid-19 pandemic.
The items include rice, facemasks, hand sanitizers, anti-bacteria hand wash, and rubber buckets fitted with taps for washing of hands.
While presenting the palliatives to the women at Umuosumili-Ossissa multi-purpose hall, Mrs. Rachael Misan-Ruppee, coordinator of the support package, commended the women for sustaining the campaign to promoting unfettered peace in their communities. She praised the women for internalizing the trainings they had received in recent past and bringing the knowledge they acquired to bear in building lasting peace in their communities.
“It is a thing of joy that the United Women Peace Builders Network has shown great zeal in promoting peace in Ossissa and the neighbouring communities. In appreciation of your commitment to promoting a peaceful society, WANEP, with support from NORAD, is presenting these items to you to mitigate the impact of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic and also protect you from contracting the virus.”
Continuing, Ruppee enlightened the women on the deadly Covid-19 pandemic, urging them to regularly observe the NCDC directives in order to stay safe. “Covid-19 is real, so I urge you to adhere strictly to good hygiene by putting to good use the facemasks, hand sanitizers and anti-bacteria hand wash you will receive today to combat the spread of the virus,” she stated.
During an interactive session to enlighten the women on rising incidents of rape and gender based violence, Ruppee, expressed concern about the development, even as she charged the women not to relent in scaling up sensitization against sexual assualt and all forms of violence against women and the girl child. She explained vividly that there are different types of rape depending on the circumstances. She noted with dismay that sexual assault against girls had assumed a worrisome dimension in recent times, stating that there had been worst cases of fathers raping their biological daughters in the society. She frowned at the abominable development, even as she charged mothers to “shine” their eyes and protect their vulnerable daughters, saying, “the era of feigning ignorance in the face of heinous crimes against women and girls is over.”
She advised mothers to always listen to their daughters to be able to know when something is amiss. Also, Ruppee implored the women to stand firm and form a formidable force against rape and gender based violence, using sensitization as a veritable tool. She called on the women to support victims of rape and shun any act of stigmatization, noting that derogatory statements and reactions seriously humiliate sexual assualt victims.
The interactive session availed the women opportunities to ask questions and make suggestions. The climax of the interactive session was distribution of flyers to the women to aid their campaign. The flyers bore inscriptions such as, “No dey Rape; Because na Criminal Offence Against Women and Girls.”
Speaking at the event, the duo of Mrs. Augustina Okoh, and Mrs. Rose Chalichali, President, and Secretary of the United Women Peace Builders Network, thanked WANEP for the palliatives, describing the gesture as a morale booster. They promised to apply the training they have received to improve and advance their advocacies and promote peace in the communities.
In the same vein, Mrs. Uyabeme Agatha Ngozi, expressed joy about the support package from WANEP, describing it as a rare gesture. “The palliative gave me joy today. We have been telling people about the United Women Peace Builders
Network, but some persons had expressed doubts about our ability and capacity to resolve disputes and promote peace. I recall that on March 8, being the International Women’s Day, we danced round the town and people were excited and they were cheering us as we sensitise them on the peace building initiative. It was really a memorable event for me. I am very happy that WANEP deemed it important to recognize our contribution to peace building and also remembered us in this trying time occasioned by Covid-19 pandemic.
Mrs. Gloria Nwanibeze, who hails from Afor clan said, “I am impressed about this huge recognition WANEP has accorded us, members of the United Women Peace Builders Network, by providing us this palliative. I pray that Almighty God, in His infinite mercy blesses them abundantly. She continued, “the peace building initiative has brought huge progress in our communities. The women now take peace building campaign very serious resulting in networks of peace builders being created across the communities.